Friday, May 12, 2017

Letter from Heart of Tennessee Regional Chief Operating Officer, Greg King - May 2017

Dear Heart of Tennessee Volunteers:

As most of you are aware, Mike Cowles, our Executive Director, has left to reconnect with his passion of farming as a career and will be managing a large farming operation in Murfreesboro.  He will be missed by our staff and volunteers.  We have assembled a panel of volunteers to work with me in interviewing candidates for the executive director role.  We plan to start interviewing in late May.

I am sure many of you have noticed the construction projects going on in and around our chapter.  I promise you we are working to complete our elevator project as quickly as possible.  Parts had to be custom built for the elevator rebuild and that has slowed our progress.  Also, due to elevator rebuild, we are having to bring all fire systems up to 2017 code and that is also some delay to us wrapping the process up.  We are on the home stretch and once completed in early June, we should be good for another 25 years.

The bridge construction is progressing rather slowly and we appreciate your patience when trying to access our office.   I can say they are paving Broadmoor in front of our office and pouring sidewalks and curbs.  While there is still a long way to go on the project, we can see our portion being completed by early this summer.

I am excited to announce that we are implementing open house meetings for prospective volunteers at the chapter office the 2nd Tuesday at 6 pm and the 3rd Saturday at 9 am each month. Our first open house will be Saturday, May 20th from 9:00 am- 1:00 pm. We will have staff and volunteers available to talk with prospective volunteers.  Please check our Facebook page for more details.

Thank you for all you do to help us deliver our mission to those in need.

Greg King

Regional Chief Operating Officer

Nashville Area Volunteer Spotlight, Mike Chandler - May 2017

After spending his childhood growing up in Illinois and Florida, Mike Chandler joined the Army at 18 in order to learn how to fly.  Now retired from the military (and military consulting), he spends his time with his wife of 39 years, his two sons, and grandchildren as well as golfing and enjoying photography.

Luckily for the Red Cross, Mike also spends his time as a Disaster Action Team (DAT) Trainee: Montgomery County, Disaster Responder, and Disaster Workforce Engagement Lead: Nashville.  His interest in volunteering with the Red Cross blossomed when he met a volunteer traveling to a disaster response operation.  Mike said he knew the Red Cross through the blood services and Service to the Armed Forces, but did not know about disaster response.  After hearing the volunteer share his experiences, Mike decided he wanted to do that one day.  He admitted that volunteering began to fill a need for him, but now he knows that when clients see the red vest it means hope.  While Mike was “thrown in the deep end” his first month as a volunteer, he said he really loved deploying to a disaster response and distributing meals.  When there is no opportunity to deploy to a disaster, he also volunteers in Disaster Services as an engagement volunteer.  He is heading up a new team of volunteers to assist in the transitioning of new volunteers to trained disaster volunteers.  We are very glad to have Mike on our team!

Mid-West Tennessee Heroes Luncheon

The annual Heroes Luncheon took place Thursday, May 11 at the Carl Grant Center at Union University.  Each year, the Mid-West TN Chapter of the Red Cross recognizes local heroes for their service to the community at the luncheon.  This year’s heroes are:

Humanitarian of the Year Carl Rudd, Interim CEO The Jackson Clinic
Uniformed Hero of the Year Chaplain Chris Young Henderson Co. Fire Department
Volunteer of the Year Travis Smith Jr.
Distinguished Service Award Dennis and Mary Lee

This year’s event was especially significant in that the chapter celebrated 100 years of service at the event.  Keynote speaker, Senator Kerry Roberts, was a big hit, talking about unsung heroes.  “Often in our life you don’t know at that moment that you are at the right place at the right time to make the right decision,” Roberts said. “You never know when you are going to be the person who provides the encouragement to that person who is in the position to make the decision.”

Through the generous donations of our attendees and sponsors, the Heroes Luncheon raised funds which will allow the Mid-West TN Red Cross to continue to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters big and small in the area.

Regional Executive Corner with Joel R. Sullivan - May 2017

Greetings Nashville Area Chapter!

Our 2017 HCA/Tristar Health Lifesaver Breakfast was a huge success!  Thank you to all the volunteers, staff, Board and committee members who made this success possible.  As you know, the Lifesaver Breakfast is our ONLY fundraising event for the Nashville Area Chapter each year.  Your time and commitment to the American Red Cross and the clients we serve allowed us to present yet another successful breakfast.

This year was especially significant in that our Chapter celebrated 100 years of service at the event.  Our Centennial was commemorated by a special Centennial video and moving performance by the Mt. Zion Baptist Church choir.  Our keynote speaker, Mark Lazarus, was a big hit, talking about his experiences over the years in working with NBC Broadcasting and Sports.  And, our Tennessee Region Tiffany Circle was recognized for their 10 year anniversary and special contributions to the Red Cross.

Through the generous donations of our attendees and sponsors, the Lifesaver Breakfast raised $857,655!  The money raised will allow us to continue to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters big and small in the Nashville area.

Thank you to our 2017 Lifesaver Breakfast sponsors. View a full list of our sponsors at

Our Nashville Area Chapter has an amazing team!  Together, we ensure the community is prepared and ready to respond to disaster at a moment’s notice.

Thank You!

Tennessee River Volunteer Spotlight, James Cauthen - May 2017

James has been a volunteer with the Tennessee River Chapter since April 17th, of this year and has already logged nearly 100 hours!

James came to the Red Cross interested in logistics and has since taken leadership over facilities. When Don Bledsoe, a Tennessee River Chapter volunteer of over 10 years, asked James to join the team, James says he knew it was something he could get behind as he enjoys a good challenge and helping others.

James was born and raised in Arizona and recently moved to Clarksville, Tennessee to be with family. Together, James and his wife have eight children, four girls and four boys. While working with James you can see just how important his family is to him and how much he genuinely wants to be there for them. For forty years, James worked in the trucking industry. His roles included driving, managing freight, and seeing to the safety of over 200 other drivers. It is because of his background that he was so interested in logistics for the Red Cross.

When asked about his prior knowledge or experience with the American Red Cross, James said “I have seen them in action before, and was drawn to the Red Cross because there are no strings attached, just assistance given.”

From everyone at the Tennessee River Chapter, we want to thank James! At every available opportunity, James strives to learn more in turn helping the chapter grow. His dedication, hard work, and positive outlook is inspirational to everyone around him. James is the definition of a Red Cross Volunteer, someone who gives themselves in the face of serving others!

Letter from Tennessee River Executive Director, Katy Hagstrom - May 2017

Looking back on the month of April as National Volunteer Month, The Tennessee River Chapter had a great time celebrating volunteers. Our chapter began the tradition of recognizing a Volunteer of the Month, with Jack Hunter as the chapter’s first recipient. This month, we recognize James Cauthen. Tennessee River also held our annual volunteer appreciation picnic and enjoyed the company of one another. Several awards were given for remarkable leadership:

Clara Barton Award- Don Bledsoe
Volunteer Leadership Award- Ron Lanfear & Jan Thompson
Exceptional Service Award- Michelle Balsley
Disaster Services Award- Mary Lockett
Disaster Communication Award- Jack Hunter
Rising Star Award- Foster Montgomery

At the appreciation event, volunteers with an incredible number of hours logged were also recognized.

Ed England- 6, 834 on call hours & 401 worked hours
Shirley Connolly- 559 worked hours
Foster Montgomery- 703 worked hours
Ron Lanfear- 1,052 worked hours

In 2017, Tennessee River Volunteers worked a total of nearly 15,000 hours.

A special thank you is deserved to Tennessee River volunteers. Your dedication, hard work, and commitment is reflected by the hope you have given to so many families in the past year.


Tennessee Region Hosts First ERV Rodeo

The Tennessee Region hosted its inaugural ERV Rodeo, a full-day event centered around Emergency Response Vehicles. The April 29th event had an attendance of over 50 volunteers. New and experienced drivers alike had an opportunity to put their driving skills to the test by going through a competitive driving course. In addition, volunteers were able to learn about proper trailer pulling procedures, yard dog operations, ERV inspections, and tour the Next Generation ERV. The event was designed to engage existing drivers and recruit new ones through meaningful training and individualized coaching in a fun, team-building environment.

ERV drivers are crucial to the disaster response mission. They are usually the first ones that communities see after devastation strikes and the ERVs are recognized as beacons of hope; bringing relief supplies and/or food. We were happy to have such a successful turnout and to crown a brand new volunteer as our ERV Rodeo Winner – Anne Rowland, from the Heart of Tennessee chapter.