Thursday, March 15, 2018

Regional Executive Corner with Joel R. Sullivan - March 2018

Hello, Nashville Area Red Cross Volunteers!

With just a couple weeks to go until our Annual Lifesaver Breakfast, it’s a busy time for our staff and volunteers who work so tirelessly to make this event a huge success each year.   The Lifesaver Breakfast is our only fundraiser event for the Nashville Area Chapter, raising the financial resources necessary to provide our humanitarian services. 

This year, Celebrity Cabinet member and multi-platinum country star Trace Adkins will present the Red Cross Crystal Cross Award to iHeartMedia’s nationally-syndicated The Bobby Bones Show for their outstanding philanthropic support. The Crystal Cross Award honors celebrities and entertainment partners who have shown exemplary support of, and service to, the lifesaving mission of the American Red Cross.

Lt. General Russel L. HonorĂ© will be the keynote speaker.  A tireless advocate for the Red Cross and the importance of preparedness, he is best known for serving as commander of Joint Task Force Katrina. From global and domestic terrorist threats to natural disasters, Lt. General Russel L. HonorĂ© will address the risks to our individual, community and economic security. In his straightforward, no-nonsense approach, Lt. General Russel L. HonorĂ© will share critical strategies for transforming individuals into resilient leaders and helping organizations and communities effectively prepare, react, rebound and unify.

Thank you to everyone working hard to make this event a success, and to all volunteers who work around the clock to ensure the dollars raised at the Breakfast benefit our neighbors during their greatest time of need.

Monday, March 12, 2018

March is Red Cross Month: Be a Hero to Someone in Need

This Red Cross Month, become a hero by becoming a volunteer or making a donation to #help1family on Giving Day – March 28. The Red Cross is powered by our volunteer heroes who give of their time, talents and compassion to fulfill our vital humanitarian mission of preventing and alleviating human suffering. They are people from your neighborhood who teach First Aid and CPR classes, who support those in need at what may be the worst time in their lives. We honor them during Red Cross Month and ask you to consider joining us and making a difference.

March was first proclaimed Red Cross Month in 1943 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to raise awareness of the organization and its humanitarian mission. President Roosevelt’s last radio talk to the nation on March 20, 1945 was in support of the Red Cross War Fund. He died 23 days later, on April 12, 1945.

This year the Red Cross salutes all the heroes who make a difference in their communities by:

  • Volunteering to help people impacted by a disaster
  • Taking a first aid or CPR class to help in an emergency
  • Donating blood or platelets
  • Providing comfort to a member of the military, a veteran or their family

Home fires are the most common disasters that the Red Cross responds to each year. Volunteers drop everything – at any time of the day or night – to help people who have lost everything. “These are the moments when I can witness strangers helping other strangers in their greatest moments of need,” said Red Cross volunteer Cindy Huge. Read more about why Huge leaves her home in the middle of the night to her others:

WHAT WE DO The Red Cross has been helping people in need for more than 130 years. And much of our work is accomplished through the work of our volunteers. The Red Cross:

  • Responds to nearly 64,000 disasters across the country providing hope and comfort to people in need.
  • Trains and provides information to nearly 5.9 million people in first aid, water safety and other skills that help save lives. 
  • Collects nearly 4.9 million units of blood from more than 2.8 million volunteer donors to meet the needs of patients at hospitals and transfusion centers across the country.
  • Provides nearly 391,000 support services to military members, veterans and their families.
  • Helps more than 181 million people outside the U.S. through disaster management and disease prevention efforts.

GIVING DAY The Red Cross is asking everyone to support people impacted by disasters and #help1family on Giving Day – Wednesday, March 28. Your donation can help provide hope and urgent relief such as food, blankets and other essentials to people who need it most. Giving Day is a 24-hour fundraising campaign supporting the work of the Red Cross, helping people across the country in need of emergency assistance. Donate now by visiting, or by texting REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10.

During March, be a hero and join the humanitarian mission of the Red Cross. More information is available on how you can help at

Prepare for Severe Spring Weather with Red Cross Tips

Spring is on the way, which means warmer weather and elevated chances for severe weather. Heavy rain, flash flooding, damaging winds and tornadoes can be part of the package. The American Red Cross offers safety steps to follow if your area is affected.

TORNADOES Tornadoes can strike without warning and destroy a community in seconds. Before a tornado warning is issued for your area, here are some things you should do:
1. Know your community’s warning system.
2. Pick a place where family members can gather if a tornado is headed your way. It could be your basement or, if there is no basement, a center hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest floor. Keep this place uncluttered.
3. If you are in a high-rise building and don’t have enough time to go to the lowest floor, pick a place in a hallway in the center of the building.
4. Remove diseased and damaged limbs from trees.
5. Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything else that can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile.
THUNDERSTORM SAFETY STEPS Thunderstorms injure an average of 300 people every year, and cause about 80 fatalities. Here are the top thunderstorm safety steps you should follow:
1. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately.
2. As the storm approaches, take shelter in a building.
3. If you are driving, pull off the roadway and park. Stay in the car with the windows closed and turn on the emergency flashers. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside of the vehicle.
4. If you are inside, unplug appliances and avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances. Avoid taking a bath or shower, or running water for any other purpose.
5. If you are caught outside and cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground, water, tall, isolated trees and metal objects such as fences or bleachers. Picnic shelters, dugouts and sheds are not safe.
FLOODING Heavy rains could fill rivers and streams, bringing flooding to the area. If your neighborhood is threatened with the possibility of flooding, here are some things you should do:
1. Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice. When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
2. Stay away from floodwaters.
3. If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
4. Keep children out of the water.
5. Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.

DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY People should download the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive emergency alerts and information about what to do in case of tornadoes, flooding and other disasters, as well as locations of shelters. The App also includes emergency first aid information and a Family Safe feature which allows people to instantly see if loved ones are okay. The free Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to

East Tennessee Volunteer Spotlight: Lloyd Pitney - March 2018

The East Tennessee Red Cross is recognizing a dedicated and impactful Lloyd Pitney for this month’s Volunteer Spotlight.  Lloyd joined the Red Cross last October and has hit the ground at an absolute sprint. He is active with Service to the Armed Forces and the Disaster Action Team for multiple counties, serves as the IT lead volunteer and the Business Operation’s volunteer counterpart. Since joining, Lloyd has racked up an impressive 230 hours in just 5 months.

In addition to his selfless service with the Red Cross, Lloyd is active with the Knoxville Pipes and Drums (a Scottish heritage bagpipe ensemble) and holds the position of Drum Major. He is also a Vietnam Veteran and is active in multiple veteran assistance and outreach groups that help military members in need.

Lloyd is a volunteer that is ALWAYS happy to help when needed and does it with a smile.  Thank you, Lloyd!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Southeast Tennessee Volunteer of the Month, Patti Ann Smith - March 2018

If  you’ve visited the Red Cross office on a Monday or Wednesday, or picked up cards to give to victims of home fires, you’ve probably been helped by the Southeast Tennessee chapter’s Volunteer of the Month: Patti Ann Smith.

Last August, Patti attended her first orientation meeting. Today, she is the chapter’s Business Operations Volunteer Partner.

“This is a truly worthwhile organization,” Patti said. “Even if it’s just answering the phone and telling people to call another number, I have found it very fulfilling to help – and I’m enjoying it immensely.”

Patti moved to Chattanooga from Augusta, Ga. last year after retiring from a career as an arts administrator. “I was in the process of trying to find some meaningful volunteer work when Harvey struck,” she explained. “I knew the Red Cross did that kind of work. So I called and said ‘How does this work? Are you taking volunteers?”

Once she joined the team, Patti’s first goal was to travel to help victims of hurricane disasters. When personal conflicts got in the way of a deployment, Volunteer Specialist Amanda Bisgaard asked Patti if she would like to “deploy” to the local Red Cross office instead. “I was game for anything at that point,” Patti said. “So I did.”

Now, Patti assists Business Operations Specialist Sandra Kilgore with a wide range of administrative duties. Besides taking over some key business duties when Kilgore is out of the office, she has also set up a filing system for the Home Fire Program. In addition, she takes on a wide variety of tasks – whatever needs to be done.

“I’m very glad to have made that phone call last August and to be so embraced by the people here and to be part of the team,” said Patti. “It’s easy to get comfortable in your life, and to forget that people are really struggling.  Being involved in something bigger than me has been reminds me of that every day.  I think if you’ve got the luxury of time and knowledge and desire, it’s just right to do it.”

Mid-West Tennessee Volunteer of the Month, Dawn Sacks-Duke - March 2018

Dawn Sacks-Duke is a woman who will “give it her all” to the American Red Cross. Dawn has always been involved in community service organizations, such as Lion’s Club, Business Professional Women and ACS, but, in 2013 she found herself searching for an organization that would allow her to directly give back to the community. In learning more about the Red Cross, Dawn saw first-hand how the donations and funds are given back to individuals within the community and she knew then she wanted to be part of it.

After becoming a volunteer in July 2013, Dawn did not volunteer as much as she truly wanted to, but when Disaster Program Manager, Heather Carbajal, came on board, she was encouraged to get more involved.

“Heather really made it her mission to come out and get to know the volunteers and get us more involved,” said Dawn. “Heather has been instrumental in providing me with numerous opportunities to be active with the Red Cross and truly give back.”

Throughout her years volunteering for Red Cross, Dawn has been the Disaster Action Team (DAT) Captain for Carroll County, a disaster responder, a Pillowcase Project presenter and a member of the Mass Care Team. In 2016, she did a deployment for the Gatlinburg Wildfires and Tornadoes in East Tennessee.

Dawn said her favorite part of serving with the American Red Cross is the opportunity to work with individuals who have the same desire as her, which is to help others. She believes the most important criteria for a volunteer is that an individual have a servant’s heart and be willing to serve other’s first.

“With the Red Cross, time does not matter,” Dawn said. “It can be 2 am or 10 pm, but if a person or family needs assistance, we are there. The volunteers put others before themselves and the volunteers look after one another. Basically, the volunteers become a big extension of your own family.”

Dawn graduated from Bethel University with a bachelor and master’s degrees in business, then completing all of her doctorate studies in business from Walden University. She works full time as a program mentor for Western Governors University and is adjunct faculty for Bethel University in the SUCCESS Program where she teaches business courses. She has been married for almost 21 years to her husband, Freddie and they have two children, Tyler (age 19) and Taylor (age 11). The family currently has five fur babies – 3 of which are rescues: Stormy, Roxie, Lucky, Bella and Hope. During the family’s spare time, they love to go camping and spend time at Land between the Lakes. They also spend a lot of time traveling back and forth to Florida visiting her parents who live near the Orlando area.