Monday, April 16, 2018

Regional Executive Corner with Joel R. Sullivan - April 2018

Hello, Nashville Area Volunteers!

Many of you have taken part in the American Red Cross Home Fire Campaign, installing smoke alarms in homes around Nashville and educating people on the importance of having an escape plan in case of a home fire. On April 21st, we are taking our efforts to the next level as we Sound the Alarm and install 1,000 smoke alarms in East Nashville homes – in just one day!

We need YOU to help Sound the Alarm and Save Lives on April 21st.  The event will take place from 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM beginning at the Nashville Area Chapter at 2201 Charlotte Avenue.  Please register to volunteer by visiting You are encouraged to also register friends, family and coworkers to volunteer for this exciting event.

Across the country, the Campaign is making a difference. As of March 1st, the Red Cross and our partners across the country have saved at least 381 lives, reached 1,042,964 youth through youth preparedness programs, and installed over 1.1 million free smoke alarms since the Campaign began in 2014. Here in Tennessee, the Red Cross has installed over 25,000 free smoke alarms in homes and saved 11 documented lives since July 1st, 2014.

I look forward to seeing you on April 21st as we Sound the Alarm in Nashville.  If you are unable to volunteer for this event, please consider making a financial contribution by visiting

I look forward to joining you in saving lives on April 21st!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Nashville Area Volunteer Spotlight: Diane Dubinski - April 2018

Our volunteer spotlight this month features Diane Dubinski, Mass Care Coordinator for the Nashville Area Chapter.  Diane is responsible for coordinating all the shelters in our nine-county area. With our annual tornado season now upon us, Diane’s job takes on added importance.

Diane has been in her present volunteer position since January of this year, but she’s been a Red Cross volunteer off and on since 2002, taking her first disaster class right after 9/11.  She also works internationally with another NGO, Project Helping Hands, teaching disaster management skills in other countries.  She is a Registered Nurse with a BSN and a Master’s Degree in Emergency Management and hopes eventually to work in emergency management professionally.

Diane said she likes working with the great people in our area and seeing how volunteering brings out the best in everybody. “I couldn’t do what I do if I didn’t have a great set of volunteers, and I like mentoring people. It seems everyone has something unique to bring to the table and their talents can always be utilized.”

Diane said she spends 20-30 hours a week on her Red Cross work. “I want to make sure that we can handle whatever comes our way in Nashville and all the surrounding counties.”

A Wisconsin native, Diane has been living in Nashville off and on for the last seven years. She’s married and has four grown children and one grandchild.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Letter from Northeast Tennessee Executive Director, Glenda Bobalik - April 2018


It is a beautiful April morning and thoughts are turning to outdoor activities like picnics, gardens, and all that water to play in as we enter warmer months.

Since our beautiful area includes lakes, rivers, and streams, we need to pay attention to safe actions when engaging in water activities.   Follow these guidelines for fun in the water:

·         Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
·         Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone. Even at a public pool or a lifeguarded beach, use the buddy system!
·         Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well. Enroll in age-appropriate Red Cross water orientation and Learn-to-Swim courses.
·         Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
·         Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
·         Establish rules for your family and enforce them without fail. For example, set limits based on each person’s ability, do not let anyone play around drains and suction fittings, and do not allow swimmers to hyperventilate before swimming under water or have breath-holding contests.
·         Even if you do not plan on swimming, be cautious around natural bodies of water including ocean shoreline, rivers and lakes. Cold temperatures, currents and underwater hazards can make a fall into these bodies of water dangerous.
·         If you go boating, wear a life jacket! Most boating fatalities occur from drowning.
·         Avoid alcohol use. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination; affects swimming and diving skills; and reduces the body’s ability to stay warm.

Mountains and hills invite us to hike and enjoy the abundance of National Forests that make Northeast Tennessee so beautiful.  Do you have the Red Cross Emergency App downloaded on your phone?  If not, go to your app store and get the free app that gives you information you need to have a safe adventure.

·         The Emergency App: 
This all-inclusive app lets you monitor more than 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts, to help keep you and your loved ones safe.

·         The First Aid App:
Get instant access to information on handling the most common first aid emergencies.

Cooking on the grill?  Be safe and follow these tips from the U.S. Fire Administration to make your evening memorable in a positive way.

  • ·         Only use grills outdoors, away from siding and deck railing.
  • ·         Clean grills often and remove grease or fat build-up.
  • ·         Make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting.
  • ·         Have a 3-foot safe-zone around grills and campfires.  Keep kids and pets away from the area.
  • ·         Dispose of coals after they have cooled in a metal can.
  • ·         Never leave grills, fire pits, and patio torches unattended.

Now let’s head outside and enjoy this beautiful part of the world.  Enjoy the hike, the swim, and the food - but always keeping safety in mind.  And don’t keep your tips a secret.  Share them with family, friends, and co-workers.  Make today the day we prevent an emergency!


Northeast Tennessee Volunteer Spotlight, Deb Reynolds - April 2018

Deb Reynolds first began training as a Red Cross volunteer during her years as an Eastman employee, and completed her training as a disaster volunteer about 2 years ago when she retired.  Deb travels out west often to visit family, but when she’s in town, she works at least 4 hours a week in the Red Cross office.

In her volunteer role with the Red Cross, Deb serves as a receptionist and does back office jobs enabling staff members to complete other tasks.  She often does computer entry, makes phone calls or completes other tasks needed that day.  The staff count on Deb and say her presence allows them to complete more in their work day.

Deb has also completed training to serve in several disaster roles.  She can do damage assessment, drive the Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV), and provide casework for individuals affected by disaster. She recently served as one of two Red Cross volunteers on assignment providing support to first responders responding to a fire call at a local business.  While on deployment responding to large-scale disasters, she has driven the ERV and conducted Damage Assessment. 

Deb says she has had enough training to discover what she does not want to do as well as what she enjoys.  Logistics is too much like her job in the past, so she chooses others.  One job she really enjoys and that is critical to the 24 hour a day disaster response is serving as the dispatch worker when the office is closed.  She answers the phone and is able to dispatch volunteers to the disaster.  When she began this work she worked one week a month.  Since more volunteers have accepted this role, she now works one week out of 6 weeks. 

When asked what she would tell someone who was considering volunteering with the Red Cross, Deb had two comments.  First, she enjoys helping people when they have an immediate verified need for help…we provide them with basic needs and get the folks started on the road to recovery.  We know the need is there.   Secondly, Deb would encourage people to volunteer with the Red Cross because of the variety of positions.  There are so many positions that almost anyone can find something that fits their skills and interests. 

Join Deb and many other Red Cross volunteers across the counties in Northeast TN.  For more information contact Angela Morris at 423-765-4218 or email at

Northeast Tennessee Preparedness Tip of the Month - April 2018

Are You Ready? 
Preparedness Tip of the Month

According to a new survey by the American Red Cross, many people overestimate their ability to react to a home fire and miss critical steps to keep their loved ones safe.

In fact, 40 percent of people believe they are more likely to win the lottery or get struck by lightning than experience a home fire. Yet, home fires are the most common disaster people face in this country – the majority of the nearly 64,000 disasters the Red Cross.

The Red Cross survey found that many Americans have a false sense of security about their family’s ability to escape a home fire. More than three-fourths (80 percent) of people surveyed believe everyone in their household knows what to do when a smoke alarm goes off. But less than half of those surveyed have a home fire escape plan in place. And only half of the families that do have a plan have actually practiced it.

Home fire experts say that people have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home. However, the survey showed nearly 60 percent of people mistakenly believe they have much more time than is realistic.

Gather your family.  Make a plan to escape in case of fire.  Practice your plan.  Don’t Wait.  Do It Now!

Red Cross Honors Volunteers during National Volunteer Week

April 15 - 21 is National Volunteer Week – a time for the American Red Cross to celebrate the hundreds of thousands of volunteers who help the organization assist people in need.

Approximately 300,000 volunteers serve the organization, volunteering at veterans’ hospitals, teaching people lifesaving skills such as First Aid and CPR, helping staff blood drives, responding to home fires in the middle of the night and so much more.

Volunteers enable the Red Cross to respond to an average of nearly 64,000 disasters every year. They help train more than 5.9 million people in Red Cross lifesaving skills; help provide more than 369,000 services to military members, veterans and their families; and to reconnect more than 5,000 families separated by war or disaster around the world. In addition, as many as 2.8 million volunteer donors give blood every year.

A discount code to the Red Cross store will be available during the month of April. Volunteers can use the code VOLUNTEER18 for a 10% discount from April 1 – April 30.

The Red Cross invites the public to be a part of the lifesaving work it does and to sign up to volunteer. People can go to to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application.

Southeast Tennessee Volunteer of the Month, Carolyn Homerding - April 2018

Carolyn Homerding, Southeast Tennessee’s Health Service Coordinator, returned from her first Houston, Texas deployment last summer with an unexpected prize. “It was the most humbling, rewarding experience of my life,” Homerding says. “I’ve never been so hot, but never felt so rewarded.”

A retired Licensed Professional Nurse from Chattanooga, Homerding is the chapter’s Volunteer of the Month.

After joining the Red Cross in early 2017, Homerding assisted with Health Services and joined a Disaster Assistance Team. She helped set up and run a shelter for Florida victims in East Brainerd, then deployed to Houston, Texas to provide disaster relief to victims of Hurricane Harvey.

“It’s hard work when you’re deployed,” Homerding recalls. “But there’s no dollar amount that could be put on what you do. It’s about helping people, about being caring and compassionate.”

For 14 days, 12 hours a day, Homerding delivered food, water and supplies to afflicted people in the community. On one 100-degree day, she recalls, they discovered an elderly woman living in a tent because her house had been flooded. “And we had stuff she could use, and water to drink,” Homerding says. “You can’t imagine how that touches your heart.”

Though her nursing skills were in demand, her duties covered a wide range. One day, for example, she helped drive an Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) from Beaumont to Houston. “Just be ready for anything,” Homerding advises. “That’s the attitude you have to have.”

Earlier this year, Homerding took on the Health Service Coordinator’s role. “I was scared, but I felt honored; so I tried it, and now I love it!” Homerding helps fire victims replace such lost items as medications, glasses, wheelchairs, walkers and medical devices. Health services, she adds, needs many more volunteers. “We need nurses desperately,” she said.

She encourages volunteers of all interests, backgrounds and abilities to join in. Nothing, she says, feels more rewarding to her, than helping disaster victims in times of despair. “It’s going to be hot, and you’re going to be tired and you’re going to say ‘why do I want to do this,’ said Homerding. “But when desperate people say ‘Thank You,’ it just blesses you.”