Thursday, February 26, 2015

Why I Help - Volunteer Denisha White

Denisha White, American Red Cross of the Nashville Area, Nashville, TN
By Monique Gooch, Red Cross Volunteer Journalist

Denisha White works to help alleviate suffering. She does this as a volunteer for the American Red Cross at its chapter for the Nashville, Tennessee area. She has been a volunteer for about 10 years. In that time, White has come to realize the value of volunteering. She says that she feels humbled whenever she hears words of gratitude from others that she has helped.

White enjoys being a part of an effort that has a big impact on others’ lives. She does various tasks at her Red Cross chapter. She teaches babysitting courses, CPR, AED, and First Aid classes, especially for first responders. White is a supervisor in Disaster Services for Training, Shelter, Client Casework, and Disaster Assessment. In addition, she is the service lead to the Armed Forces for Nashville area. White also participates in Youth Volunteers’ activities, as well as Preparedness Education and International Services events.

All seven fundamental principles – humanity; impartiality; neutrality; independence; voluntary service; unity; and universality - are morals that cherish all human life and honor those in the voluntary relief movement. White is motivated to keep volunteering because of the disaster relief goals and these seven fundamental principles that the American Red Cross holds dear.

Of all the volunteer work she has participated in, the Holiday Mail for Heroes program is one of the most enjoyable, memorable volunteer experiences for White. "I get to work with other volunteers from other lines of services, and get to pass out cards to veterans and active duty military personnel and their families at the VA and [other] events," she enthused.

The Red Cross mission strives to prevent and alleviate human suffering through the dedicated acts of its staff and volunteer force. It’s a goal that White believes in one hundred percent. Disaster after disaster, the Red Cross makes sure its people are there lending the victims a helping hand. White commented, “We are there when people need us most.”

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Letter from Tennessee River Executive Director, Faye Anderson - February 2015

Mission with a heart! 

Our chapter received a call from the city of Clarksville informing us of an accident not far from the chapter building.  Our volunteer disaster team sprang into action filling up coolers, calling food merchants, and putting on that distinctive Red Cross vest.

Within an hour the ERV was set up offering food, coffee and water to about 40 EMS personnel, firefighters and police officers.  They had been on the site for five hours when we arrived.  Many of them had not had a break since the accident occurred and were so thankful to the Red Cross for serving them.   I watched the volunteers share the Red Cross mission with these men and women. The DAT team that responded that night blew me away with their knowledge and professionalism!  They were ready to respond because of all of the training they have received through the Red Cross. They stayed late into the night to make sure everyone there was taken care of.  It is that volunteer spirit that guides this organization from one day to the next. 

The Tennessee River chapter will focus on the following things to share the Red Cross mission in our communities:
  •  Increase volunteer base and volunteer satisfaction
  •  Retain a liaison at Austin Peay to set up a Red Cross Club
  •  Have the club mentor high school students toward volunteerism
  •  Build volunteer DAT teams in each of our counties
  •  Offer more choices to our volunteers for preparedness and disaster trainings
  •  Work with the communication department at Austin Peay to get ap downloads on campus
  •  Work with the board of education to send out a link to the monster ap for their students
  •   Grow our board to represent the communities that we serve
It will be a challenge in some of our counties to achieve our goals.  It will take hard work and dedication both from staff and our dedicated volunteers here at the chapter.  We are up for the challenge and have taken the first steps toward not only making our area more prepared, but toward increasing our presence. 


Letter from Mid-West Tennessee Executive Director, Debra Roberson - February 2015

March is Red Cross Month, a time to recognize the country's everyday heroes. We want to recognize Curtis Reichhold. He will begin his 30th year as a volunteer on March 1st. We are very grateful for his dedication and service to our mission. Curt often drives the emergency response vehicle (ERV) and enjoys being involved in feeding events.

We have a canister drive scheduled for March. If any of our volunteers would like to participate, please give us a call. You can participate by assisting us with placing the canisters throughout the community in various places (banks, churches, stores, etc.). We will need to pick the canisters up during the first week of April and return them to the chapter. You may have a group of people to help you with a fundraising project. 

On April 23rd we will be hosting our annual Heroes Luncheon. This event will be held at the Carl Perkins Civic Center. Our guest speaker will be Mr. Paul Andert, a WWII veteran who recalls one of the greatest U.S. military victories ever: the Battle of the Bulge. Army Sgt. Paul Andert had fought in Africa, Sicily and Normandy; the invasion that many felt would break the German war machine and signal the end of World War II. The recently released movie, “Fury”, was written about his life. Brad Pitt played the role of Sgt. Andert in this movie. I hope all of our volunteers will attend this event.  There are many opportunities to volunteer and help with this event. If anyone is interested, please contact our office.

Debra Roberson

Letter from Heart of Tennessee Executive Director, Mike Cowles - February 2015

I hope this letter finds you well; it is hard to believe it is February already.  As most of you know we are experiencing a record amount of growth in our community and our city is very congested.  I am in my office today and see construction going on outside my window.  It is noisy most days here and depending if it rains or not there can be a lot of dust or a lot of mud surrounding us.  Surprisingly through all the noise and obstacles there is a blue jay that is sitting on the ledge outside my window whistling and hollering at his friends.  I tell you this because we all live in a chaotic world and sometimes you need to slow down and look at your surroundings and think about how fortunate we are to be alive in the first place.

We are just a few weeks away from holding our third annual “Heroes Luncheon” on February 25th, 2015 at the Stones River Country Club honoring Gordon Ferguson of Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital.  Gordon is a pillar in the community and has dedicated his life to make this a better place for others.  Our guest speaker is Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn.  Director Gwyn is our state’s top law enforcement officer and you will not want to miss what he has to say.

This past fall our chapter merged with the chapter based out of McMinnville and our size has grown from 8 counties to 17 counties.  We now stretch from the Alabama/Tennessee line to the Kentucky/Tennessee line.  We need your help; if you are willing to keep a smile on your face and go out in a time of need we have a place for you.  Please give us a call or even better stop by our office and we will find a place for you to fit in among the very best volunteers on the planet.  Have a GREAT DAY!


Upcoming: March is Red Cross Month

Each year, the president of the United States proclaims March “Red Cross Month” to honor our mission. We use this month as a chance to honor the everyday heroes who help us fulfill that mission every day. The American Red Cross is recognizing the country’s everyday heroes during Red Cross Month.

The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters big and small in this country every year. It provides 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families at home and around the world; collects and distributes about 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply and trains millions of people in first aid, water safety and other life-saving skills.

The Red Cross is not a government agency and relies on donations of time, money and blood to do its work. An average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs.

Letter from East Tennessee Executive Director Michelle Hankes, February 2015

Cold weather, snow storms, and spring storms are in the forecast, leading to people in our counties needing Red Cross services. The best way to deal with a disaster is to prevent it or prepare ahead of time, and the Red Cross has many tools and resources to help you.

Red Cross apps are available in 12 areas, including First Aid, Tornado, Swimming, Shelter Finder, Earthquake, and more. Activating the locator function on your phone settings will allow you to be warned about impending dangerous storms, even if you are traveling. Share this with your loved ones. You could save a life!

Additionally, we are saving lives across our chapter with our Home Fire Campaign program, which has included installing new smoke alarms or replacing batteries in at-risk neighborhoods. Kudos to the hundreds of volunteers who have gone from house to house, apartment to apartment, serving their neighbors.

Be sure to check out the latest listing of courses being offered across the state. Things are happening! Don't be left behind!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

What to Bring to a Red Cross Shelter

Red Cross shelters provide families and individuals refuge from the freezing temperatures, a safe place to sleep, a warm meal, and a chance to power up devices such as cell phones. Here’s a list of essential items you should bring along to a Red Cross Shelter: prescription and emergency medications, foods that meet special dietary requirements, identification, important personal documents, extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies and other comfort items, supplies needed for children and infants, such as diapers, formula and toys, special items for family members who are elderly or disabled, chargers for any electronic devices, and books, games and other forms of entertainment.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Regional Executive Corner with Joel Sullivan - February 2015

Join Me for the HCA/TriStar Health Lifesaver Breakfast

One of my favorite events each year during March is Red Cross Month is our Lifesaver Breakfast.  I am asking you to please join me at the HCA/TriStar Health Lifesaver Breakfast on Thursday, March 5, at 7:30 a.m. at the Omni Hotel in downtown Nashville. Each year, the Lifesaver Breakfast hosts Nashville’s most influential business and community leaders, sharing the mission of the American Red Cross and raising the financial funding resources necessary to provide their core humanitarian services.

I’m pleased to announce Steve Forbes, Chairman & Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Media, as this year’s keynote speaker. In addition to serving as Chairman & Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Media since 1990, Forbes is a renowned author and philanthropist. We are incredibly honored to host Steve Forbes as our keynote speaker this year and believe that his experiences in philanthropy and leadership are a perfect reflection of the backbone of our organization, the wonderful people who continue to support our mission day in and day out.

Nashville-based Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) is this year’s Title Sponsor.  A leading provider of healthcare services, HCA is committed to the care and improvement of human life.

In addition to HCA’s support, Nissan will be recognized as a Legacy Sponsor for their longstanding partnership with the American Red Cross in Middle TN.
Jan and Harry Jacobson will serve as chairpersons of the HCA/TriStar Health Lifesaver Breakfast. The Jacobson’s have had tremendous impact within the community and beyond with their charitable involvement with non-profit organizations.

Last year’s event raised more than $500,000, a record-setting amount to support the vital mission of the American Red Cross.
For more information on the HCA/TriStar Health Lifesaver Breakfast, please contact Mandy Peebles at 615-290-6804 or visit to reserve tickets.  To make a donation, visit

As you know, it is not if a disaster will strike, but when.  Thanks to your support, your American Red Cross team is ready to serve at a moment’s notice to alleviate human suffering.

Red Cross Apps Can Help in an Emergency

It’s important to be prepared during weather conditions such as snow, ice, and other inclement weather. The American Red Cross has a series of apps available to give you the information you need for these situations and many more.

The Red Cross has received several national and international awards for the apps they’ve developed including the recent “Best Mobile App During Times of Disaster” award from Global Brands Magazine for the Hurricane App. The First Aid app was also mentioned recently on a well-respected news outlet.

Red Cross apps provide expert, emergency information when and where you need it. They include the following:

FIRST AID APP The First Aid App features step-by-step instructions for everyday first aid scenarios and prioritized steps to take in an emergency with a 9-1-1 call button.

BLOOD APP The newest in the Red Cross suite of mobile apps is the Blood Donor App which allows users to schedule blood donations, track their total donations, earn rewards and invite friends to join them on a lifesaving team. The new app is free and available for download now in app stores.

TEAM RED CROSS allows people to learn about Red Cross volunteer opportunities in their community, to sign up to help those in need and receive an overview on basic tasks to be able to go to work quickly helping others.

MONSTER GUARD: Prepare for Emergencies app helps children between the ages of 7 and 11 learn emergency preparedness while playing a game as monster characters. It’s a fun, interactive game to learn how to prevent emergencies, such as home fires, and what to do if severe weather or natural disasters occur.

HURRICANE APP People can download the Red Cross Hurricane App to have real time hurricane safety information at their fingertips. They can use the app to receive weather alerts and get information on Red Cross shelters. The app also features a toolkit with a flashlight, strobe light and alarm, and the one-touch “I’m Safe” button lets someone use social media outlets to tell family and friends they are okay.

FLOOD APP Download this app to have step-by-step instructions on what to do if flooding threatens, even if the cell towers and television are out. Find Red Cross shelters and know what to pack in your family emergency kit.

TORNADO APP This app includes features like a high-pitched siren and tornado warning alert that signals when a NOAA tornado warning has been issued. This feature allows users to make critical decisions and to take actions to help keep themselves and their loved ones safe even in the middle of the night. An all -alert lets users know when a tornado warning has expired or has been cancelled

EARTHQUAKE APP Be ready for an earthquake with the Red Cross Earthquake app. Receive alerts and notifications when an earthquake occurs, prepare your family and home, find help and let others know you are safe even if the power is out – a must have for anyone who lives in an earthquake-prone area or has loved ones who do.

WILDFIRE APP Wildfires often begin unnoticed and spread quickly so it’s vital that people know what to do to help protect themselves, their loved ones and their property. The Red Cross Wildfire App features preloaded content gives users instant access to information on what to do before, during and after wildfires – even without mobile connectivity.

The Red Cross also has apps that feature safety tools, tips and preparedness information you need every day. They include:

PET FIRST AID APP Dog and cat owners can also download the Red Cross Pet First Aid App and have advice for everyday pet emergencies on hand. The 99 cent app can be found in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross or going to redcross .org/mobileapps.

SWIM APP Get the most out of Red Cross swim lessons with the Swim App. Created as a companion to the newly-updated Learn-to-Swim program (including Preschool Aquatics), this app will help you keep your swimmer motivated, while providing you the latest in water safety guidance to help ensure your family stays safe in, on and around the water

SPANISH APPS The Red Cross also has apps available for download for Spanish-speaking users. These include a first aid app as well as hurricane, tornado, earthquake, wildfire and flooding apps.

All of these Red Cross apps can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.