Monday, February 12, 2018

Regional Executive Corner with Joel R. Sullivan - February 2018

Sudden Cardiac Arrest claims thousands of lives every year. National Heart Month is a perfect time to learn how to perform CPR and use an AED in order to save lives.
Many people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest die before getting to a hospital - so every second counts. For every minute without defibrillation, a sudden cardiac arrest victim’s chance of surviving drops. It is critical for as many people as possible to be trained to perform CPR and know how to use an AED until advanced help arrives.
American Red Cross training courses can give you the knowledge and skills to help in an emergency. A variety of options are available. One option is to attend in-person classes held at convenient locations with hands-on training from experienced instructors. Online and blended (combining hands-on training with online content) simulation learning offerings are also available. Several courses are OSHA compliant. Check with your employer as to what class you need if you are taking training to fulfill a job requirement.
You can also download the free Red Cross First Aid App for instant access to information on handling the most common first aid emergencies, including sudden cardiac arrest, at your fingertips.

Nashville Volunteer Spotlight, Kelly Rinehart - February 2018

The February volunteer spotlight recognizes Kelly Rinehart of Cross Plains. Kelly is originally from Southern California, and moved to Tennessee two years ago when her husband retired. She started volunteering with the Nashville Area Chapter in September 2017. She serves as a disaster action team member, does disaster assessment, and is also a Home Fire Campaign lead.

Kelly’s husband, Rick, heard on the radio that the American Red Cross needed volunteers to respond to Hurricane Harvey. The couple called the same day to sign up to volunteer. On the day of their volunteer orientation, the remnants of Hurricane Harvey moved through the Nashville area and some communities were affected with flash flooding. The next morning, Kelly and Rick helped with disaster assessment. “[Red Cross] called me the next day and I was off and running again,” Kelly said.

Kelly went on her first deployment to help with the wildfire relief efforts in California in October 2017 and is willing to deploy again when needed.

As a member of the disaster action team, Kelly is on-call to respond to disasters, like home fires and floods, to offer Red Cross assistance to meet victims’ immediate needs like shelter, food, and clothing. Kelly recalls a memorable response: Kelly and Rick responded to a mobile home fire that displaced a couple that had been married for 20 years. They gave them warm blankets and started the process for the couple to receive assistance. Kelly said, “They both gave me a hug, and thanked me for everything I had done for them. It was cold outside. They didn’t have a warm house anymore or a warm meal. All they really had was each other, their kitty, and the blankets that meant so much to them. That was a turning point for both Rick and me.”

When asked what keeps her coming back to volunteer with the Red Cross, Kelly said, “It makes me feel good to give back to others. Even when you don’t have the funds to give, you have time that’s free to give.”

Thank you, Kelly, for your dedication to the Red Cross mission! 

Friday, February 9, 2018

Northeast Tennessee Volunteer Spotlight, Steven and Kaden Cox - February 2018

Have you ever thought about volunteering with family members?  While different things motivated Steven and Kaden Cox to become Red Cross volunteers they have continued to volunteer for many of the same reasons for the past 4 years.  Steven in “real life” works for State of Franklin Health Care Associates in Washington County. In his job, he gathers data and then develops reports providing service delivery information to the medical professionals. These reports enable them to provide better care for their patients.  When asked how he first came to volunteer for the Red Cross, Steven says he just walked in the door to find out what he could do to give back to the community.  Kaden, first a student at Science Hill and now at Northeast State, got involved initially with the Red Cross because he needed community service hours for school.

Once the entire Cox family, Steven, his wife and their 5 children, volunteered together.  They helped complete the Chapter inventory – even the young children helped with counting things like tubes of toothpaste!

Primarily Steven and Kaden volunteer in Disaster Services for the Northeast TN Chapter.  Steven primarily works as a DAT (Disaster Action Team) volunteer in Washington County. He assists families who have lost their home to a fire or other disaster.  Volunteering on call primarily evenings, nights or weekends - the schedule fits well with his full time day job.  Kaden volunteers to install fire alarms in homes and educate individuals about fire safety. Kaden also assists his father providing assistance to families when needed as the second Red Cross volunteer.

Steven submitted an entry in a statewide contest to design the Tennessee regional pin for use across the state.  His design won and is now worn by Tennessee volunteers from Memphis to Mountain City!

What does Steven think is great about volunteering for the Red Cross?  First, Steven says it is a great way to meet really good people.  He says there are three additional reasons he continues with his volunteer work.  He says in the world today often there is so much emphasis on self that he feels it is very important to experience “doing for others”.  By helping others you have a sense of purpose. In addition to knowing you have helped others, you gain a personal feeling of accomplishment.  His third reason for volunteering is that many hands make light work – the more people volunteering the easier the job is for the staff and volunteers at the Red Cross.

If you are interested in personally volunteering for the Red Cross or want to discuss family volunteering contact Angela Morris by calling 423-765-4218  or email at

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

As part of the American Red Cross, we are aware of the devastation a family feels when they have a home fire. We need your help to get word on safe steps our friends and neighbors can take to reduce the likelihood of a home fire.

Since January 1, 2018, we have responded to 60 home fires in Northeast Tennessee. That is a 58% increase over the same time frame last year. We need your help to get the information below to as many people as possible.

The cold weather has settled in Northeast Tennessee and we all know that February is often our coldest time.  And who can forget those huge March and even April snowfalls?  Today, people are resorting to alternate methods to keep their homes warm, sometimes leading to disastrous results.

We have been working to reduce that number through our Home Fire Campaign, which focuses on installing free smoke alarms in neighborhoods at high risk for fires and teaching people about fire safety. Your fellow volunteers have been out installing smoke alarms every Saturday this month.
To reduce the risk of heating related fires, the Red Cross recommends these 5 steps:

1. All heaters need space. Keep children, pets and things that can burn (paper, matches, bedding, furniture, clothing, carpets, and rugs) at least three feet away from heating equipment.
2. If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs, or carpets or near bedding or drapes. Plug power cords directly into outlets - never into an extension cord.
3. Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended, and use a glass or metal fire screen to keep fire and embers in the fireplace.
4. Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
5. Turn off portable space heaters every time you leave the room or go to sleep.

There are two things everyone can do to increase their chances of surviving a fire and protecting their home.

• Create and practice a fire escape plan. Include two ways out of every room. Pick a spot to meet outside. Practice the plan at least twice a year with everyone in your household.

• Install and maintain smoke alarms. Place smoke alarms on every level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms. Test smoke alarms once a month. Change the batteries at least once a year - if your model requires it.

Remember the Apps?  We have talked about this before but it is worth repeating. The Red Cross has some amazing, free, highly rated Apps for smart phones. People can learn how to help prevent a home fire and what to do if one occurs by downloading the Red Cross Emergency App. They can use the app’s Family Safe feature to help stay in touch with loved ones. Children can earn points and incentives in a fun, gaming environment while learning how to prevent a home fire and other emergencies in the Monster Guard: Prepare for Emergencies App. The First Aid App provides expert advice including what to do for burns, broken bones, and breathing and cardiac emergencies. The apps can be downloaded for free in app stores or at

Take a minute to follow the steps above to make your home safer.  Then, please, share this information with your circle of friends, family and co-workers.  Let’s make Northeast Tennessee a safe place to live.


Letter from Southeast Tennessee Executive Director, Julia Wright - February 2018

What will be your legacy?  Good or bad, each of us will leave a legacy. Your legacy is about how you want to be remembered and what lessons you can pass onto the next generation.  

So where do I start to building my legacy?  Like most things, it starts with a plan.  The Red Cross has made it easy.  You can download a free Guide and Workbook for Will Planning and Charitable Giving at  to get you started.  It has a 4 step plan that walks you through the process and prepares you to meet with your planner. The guide will help you understand the importance of a will; gather information you need to write or update your will; discover ways to minimize taxes and liabilities for your family; and explore the benefits of making charitable gifts in your will or other gift plan.

Absolutely one of the most effective methods of gifting is a legacy plan. The most popular way is to remember the Red Cross in the giver's will. It is surprising how many people think this is only something for the wealthy. This is where our advisers do their best work.

It isn't easy to find advice for the “right thing to do” for each person and one size does not fit all, but every gift counts.  You can contact our local gift adviser, Gary Key at 1-404-556-6660 who can share with you the many options the Red Cross has available. He can assist you in meeting your individual goals in building your legacy. There is no cost for these services and just having someone qualified to answer all questions and tailor a plan to your fit budget and long term goals is invaluable in taking the stress off making such an important decision.

One of the biggest questions everyone is asking is how do the new tax laws effect charitable giving and the way in which they do it to make it count for them and for the Red Cross. The Red Cross giving advisers will also help callers understand the changes in the new tax laws to formulate the best plan for them.

This is a wonderful way to help the community we live and work in, and to possibly put them in a better position tax-wise at the end of every year. There are certainly many organizations worthy of charitable gifts but the reach and scope of American Red Cross services is so encompassing that a gift of support covers so much more than most people ever think.

Spread the word that giving to the American Red Cross is an easy and very rewarding experience.

Heart of Tennessee Volunteer Spotlight, Charlie Cranmer - February 2018

The Volunteer Spotlight is on Charlie Cranmer this month. Charlie came here from Hood River, Oregon where he was born and raised. He attended Chemeketa Community College where he studied hospitality and tourism. Looking for a fresh start, Charlie relocated to Murfreesboro in July of 2017. Charlie applied to become a Red Cross volunteer in October and officially began volunteering in November. The day he came for his interview was the day of a large apartment fire in Smyrna affecting 14 families. Before his interview, Charlie helped the disaster staff load the American Red Cross vehicles with supplies that were needed for the response to the apartment fire. That same night Charlie helped staff around the office with the monthly volunteer meeting. Charlie hit the ground running and hasn’t stopped.

Charlie mainly works with Disaster Cycle services helping in the office behind the scenes. Charlie helps where he is needed, it can be anywhere from administrative to transportation. Charlie is always willing to give a helping hand.

His favorite activity is meeting people in the office and helping whom is there. Charlie also went to culinary school. During the Thanksgiving season, he prepared a feast for those in the office. He wanted to thank everyone. When asked why he cooked the meal he said, “Thanksgiving and thanks giving.”

He imparts this wisdom for new volunteers “to engage a new volunteer, get them to do one thing - one fire call, install one alarm, one veterans event, and they’ll want more!”

Charlie marched in the Veterans’ Day Parade during his first official week. He was moved by the hooting, hollering and words of thanks from the people watching the parade as American Red Cross workers passed. As a new volunteer, Charlie accepted the thanks.  Now, he wants to earn it.

The Heart of Tennessee Chapter thanks Charlie for his enthusiasm and willingness to do whatever is needed for the American Red Cross.