Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Tennessee River Volunteer Spotlight, Jack Hunter - April 2017

Jack Hunter has been a volunteer with the Tennessee River Chapter since 2013. He came to the Red Cross interested in Disaster Services Technology (DST) and over the past year has lead the way for DAT dispatch. He joined the Red Cross when John Freed a fellow Amateur Radio member encouraged him to be a part of DST.

Jack says, “John found me at the right place and the right time as I was looking for something to do to give back to the community.”

Jack is originally from Texas, although he says he’s lived everywhere except there. His military career in the Army took him around the world to a new location every eighteen months. While in the Army, he worked in both communications and counter intelligence until he retired after twenty years of service. In addition to his military career, Jack has a background in computers, radio, telephone, and technical support. After retiring, Jack went on as a contractor with the State Department and then to work with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF).

When asked about his experience with the American Red Cross throughout his military career, Jack states “I was fortunate enough to not need the services, but came across those that did, and the Red Cross did a fantastic job at issuing emergency calls for those people.”

Here at the Tennessee River Chapter, we have been so grateful for Jack’s expertise in DST! When our chapter was introduced to the DAT dispatch program, Jack didn’t hesitate when asked to lead the way. For over a year, Jack’s work provided vital feedback in progression of the dispatch system.
Jack has been deployed one time for the Texas floods. On his deployment he was tasked with network support and maintaining the ERV radios. Jack says the scope of the disaster was truly an eye opener as it covered such a large area. He was on a team with 22 other DST volunteers at a one of three disaster operation centers comprised of 200 people.

Unfortunately for our chapter, Jack will be moving to Pennsylvania to live with his daughter in the near future. Luckily for the American Red Cross, Jack says he plans to continue volunteering with the local chapter in Pennsylvania because it’s a way to support something he believes in and that he feels he has a service he can provide to the American Red Cross.

Regional Executive Corner with Joel R. Sullivan - April 2017

April is National Volunteer Month, and we are honoring our amazing volunteers who give their time to help people in need.

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

Here in the Nashville Area Chapter, volunteers have served in all of these capacities, while also deploying to national disaster relief operations on numerous occasions. From Gatlinburg to Louisiana and beyond, our volunteers always show up with their sleeves up and hearts open. Our volunteers also help raise the funds necessary to fulfill our mission and provide leadership and feedback to our teams through committees and board involvement.

Please save the date for our Volunteer Recognition celebration Saturday, April 29 from 5:00 – 7:15 p.m.  This is your time to leave the vest at home and be honored for your time commitment to the Red Cross.  We have a great evening planned, so be on the lookout for more information about this exciting event.

Thanks for continuing to provide comfort and hope to our neighbors in need!


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Red Cross Honors Military Children during Month of the Military Child

This April, the American Red Cross is proud to celebrate the “Month of the Military Child”.  This month is set aside to recognize the special contribution that military children make as their parent or parents serve our nation.

The Mid-South, Nashville Area, Southeast TN and East TN Chapters of the Tennessee Red Cross will be hosting a special event called “Military Kids Serve Too” to recognize the strength and sacrifice of Tennessee’s military and veteran children.  Each child will be honored with a customized challenge coin commemorating their special designation as our nation’s youngest patriots.

“We looked forward to celebrating our military children each year during Month of the Military Child,” said Joel Sullivan, Regional CEO. “Military children are faced with unique demands of military life, and we look forward to hosting them as we recognize their strength and sacrifice each day.”

Month of the Military Child was designated by the Secretary of Defense in 1986.

Southeast Tennessee Volunteer of the Month, Joe Brzezowski - April 2017

The Southeast Tennessee Volunteer of the Month is Joe Brzezowski! A fellow volunteer nominator said, “Joseph continues to excel in his volunteering experiences with the American Red Cross of Southeast Tennessee. His willingness to respond day and night as well as teaching other DAT responders on what DAT responders do when out in the field responding to local house fires is of great importance to our Chapter. Even when the recent tornado swept through our southern counties in McMinn and Polk, Joseph was not only there for Sheltering in McMinn County,  he also served very closely with the McMinn County EMA Director making sure the requested needs were met for McMinn County from the American Red Cross. Joseph deserves and should be recognized for his willingness to represent our Chapter and the community families that needs our services when disasters occur.”

When talking to Joe he said that he is incredibly thankful for the McMinn volunteers.  “It’s not me, it’s all of us. We are a team, we work really well together. It is an amazing group.”

The group of McMinn volunteers continue to amaze the staff and volunteers of Southeast TN. They are a tight-knit group of people who love to give back and are always ready to respond in time of need with Joe.

During a recent fire call Joe responded to, he was able to give a little girl a stuffed bunny rabbit. The whole family was having a hard time with the fire, especially the little girl. He went to his car and brought the bunny back and told her that when anything goes wrong to give the bunny a hug and everything would get better. That was a very emotional and rewarding moment for Joe and is just one of the reasons that he loves what he does as a disaster responder.

When asked why he wanted to become a volunteer he said that he saw the ad in the paper and it just seemed like something that he wanted to do. “I am glad I did, it’s very rewarding. I wish I did it years ago.”

Southeast TN is so appreciative of you and the rest of the McMinn team, Joe!  Thank you for all your hard work and for representing the American Red Cross so well!

ERV Road-E-O

Saturday, April 29, 2017
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (CST)

Metro Fire Training Academy
2601 Buena Vista Pike, Nashville, TN 37218

New and experienced drivers alike will have an opportunity to put their emergency response vehicle (ERV) driving skills to the test!

Join us for a fun-filled day of:
Competitive Course Driving
ERV Inspections
Trailer Pulling
Yard Dog Simulation
Next Generation ERV Driving
ERV: Ready, Set, Roll (for new volunteers)

Will you be crowned our ERV Road-E-O winner? 

Registration is required. Registration will close on 4/21/17 at 5 p.m.

To register, visit

For more information, email

Letter from East Tennessee RCOO, Greg King - April 2017

Dear East Tennessee Chapter Volunteers,

One of my favorite times of the Red Cross year is quickly approaching.  On June 1, we will be gathering to celebrate the service of our volunteers.  This year we are going to try something different and a little more laid back than previous years, and hopefully a lot of fun!

After surveying volunteers on how they’d like to be recognized, the consensus was to keep it simple.  So this year, we are going to cook out and spend time playing what I believe could be considered our true national pastime - Corn Hole.  That, along with some other fun activities will be how we enjoy a beautiful June evening.

The main purpose of gathering will be to take time to recognize our incredible volunteers who give so much of themselves to help friends, neighbors and strangers in times of need.  We have a lot to celebrate this year.  This chapter performed magnificently during the wildfires in the fall and delivered HOPE to so many who had lost everything.

We, the American Red Cross, are our volunteers.  Without you, we could not function and deliver comfort to those in their time of need.  Mark your calendar for June 1st and look for more details in your inbox soon.

See you then!

Greg King
Regional Chief Operations Officer

American Red Cross Honors Volunteers during National Volunteer Month

April is National Volunteer Month and the American Red Cross Tennessee Region is honoring its volunteers who give their time to help people in need.

Nearly 314,000 volunteers serve the organization, helping staff blood drives, volunteering at veterans’ hospitals, teaching people lifesaving skills such as First Aid and CPR, responding to home fires in the middle of the night and so much more. Here in the Tennessee Region, more than 4,600 volunteers help the community.

“We want to take this time during Volunteer Week to thank our volunteers for their service,” said Joel Sullivan, Tennessee Region CEO. “They help us fulfill our lifesaving mission every day, and we are overwhelmed with gratitude for their service.”

Last year, Tennessee Region Red Cross volunteers provided food, shelter, comfort and hope to 2,785 local families who faced emergency situations. They trained 71,851 people in lifesaving skills and provided 13,523 services to military members, veterans and their families.

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.