Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Regional Executive Corner with Joel Sullivan - May 2015

Kudos to “The Village”

The American Red Cross relies on communities across the nation for their time, talent and treasure.  As an agency that is chartered by the Federal government but not funded by the government, we rely on generous contributions from the American public. 

Volunteers, staff, partners and donors all came together May 14th for the Nashville Area Chapter’s HCA/TriStar Health Lifesaver Breakfast.  After a year of planning and coordination, the team held an extraordinary event and raised a record-setting amount of nearly $740,000. Over 800 of Nashville’s most influential business and community leaders attended the annual breakfast that shared the mission of the American Red Cross and raised the financial funding resources necessary to provide core humanitarian services in our Chapter.

The HCA/TriStar Health Lifesaver Breakfast, chaired by Dr. and Mrs. Harry Jacobson, featured Steve Forbes as the keynote speaker. Mr. Forbes is Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Media, a renowned author and philanthropist. Tennessee State Governor Bill Haslam opened the program, followed by a special performance of the National Anthem by the Willis Clan.

I am very thankful for our donors of time, talent and treasure.  Their investment in the American Red Cross will not be measured in financial ratios, but in the smiles our team puts back on the faces of victims in disaster…the hope we instill in clients that everything will be okay even though all has been lost…the pride a military member has when he or she gets called home by the Red Cross to hold his or her newborn baby or the life that was saved by CPR or a pint of blood. 

You make our community the village that it takes to provide help where it is needed most at exactly the right time and exactly the right place.  On behalf of your American Red Cross team, Thank You for helping us help others!  Thank you to all who made this year’s breakfast a huge success, and thank you to our generous sponsors listed below for their support.

“It takes a village” and I am thankful to be a part of the village that has invested in its future. 

Title Sponsor

Legacy Sponsor

Presenting Sponsors
Dollar General
Franklin American Mortgage
Jan & Harry Jacobson
Delta Dental

Supporting Sponsors
BCBS Tennessee
Community Health Systems
Informatics Corporation of America
MaryEllen & Tom Rodgers
Pinnacle Financial
Vanderbilt Bone & Joint
GE Capital Healthcare Financial Services
Aegis Sciences
Cheryl L. Read & Associates
Regina & Peter Rousos

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Red Cross Response to Nepal Earthquake

The global Red Cross network, led by the Nepal Red Cross and supported by the American Red Cross, has mounted an international response to provide emergency humanitarian assistance following the devastating 7.8 Magnitude earthquake that shook Nepal on the morning of April 25, 2015. 

The earthquake is the largest to hit Nepal since 1934 and has caused significant destruction and loss of life. Reports vary, but the earthquake has killed 7,700 people, injured more than 16,400, and damaged or destroyed more than 500,000 homes. At least 50 aftershocks, ranging from magnitude 5 to 6.7, have caused further damage to buildings and increased the risk of collapse. The earthquake has damaged schools, homes and health facilities, limited access to water and sanitation, resulted in the loss of livestock, disrupted livelihoods and left an estimated 3.5 million in need of food assistance.
The Nepal Red Cross, which has extensive experience in responding to natural disasters and plays a leading role in the government’s contingency plan, provided first aid, search and rescue, and support to first responders immediately following the disaster. More than 4,000 first aid volunteers have been deployed, and all affected districts have volunteers and staff in place. The Nepal Red Cross has also deployed its disaster response teams in twelve of the most affected districts. Some 28,400 tarpaulins, over 2,000 sets of relief supplies and over 241,800,000 water purification tablets have been distributed to date. The Nepal Red Cross is also providing ready to eat meals and rice to the affected population.  

In response to the devastation, the American Red Cross has committed $5,000,000 to recovery and relief efforts.  The American Red Cross is also providing relief supplies to support the response and is working closely with the Nepal Red Cross and the global Red Cross to coordinate additional support.

Here are three ways to help those affected by the Nepal Earthquake:
GIVE: To help those affected by the Nepal Earthquake, visit or contact your local chapter.
MAP: To help with critical mapping efforts, visit No experience is needed, just a computer and internet connection.
SHARE: Spread the word on relief efforts and ways to help online. Find and share information on social channels, including the global Red Cross Twitter account and American Red Cross Facebook and Twitter posts.

Letter from East Tennessee Executive Director Michelle Hankes, May 2015

There’s a story about a group of reporters that were touring NASA before the first lunar launch. One of them walked up to a janitor pushing a broom and asked, “What are you doing?” The janitor smiled and replied, “I’m putting a man on the moon.”

Volunteer engagement means many different things to many different people. For some, it’s how many hours a person might volunteer for his or her chosen agency. For others, it’s what KIND of volunteer activities a person does. Still for others, it’s how much they enjoyed the volunteering. I rather believe that at the very core of engagement is one important question: Do you feel like you can brag about the impact you made?

No matter what you do as a volunteer—answer phones, make disaster calls, teach a CPR class, collate a stack of papers, hand out information at a health fair—you are part of the Red Cross mission in alleviating human suffering. You are part of something bigger than just a single person. You are more than putting a man on the moon; you are saving lives.

The American Red Cross can only deliver its mission activities if it has robust, active and ENGAGED volunteers: YOU.  Every first Thursday at 6:30 p.m. will now be our All-Volunteer Meeting, which will include networking, education, and fellowship, before breaking into updates by lines of services. Please join us!

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

Warm weather is here and you know what that means…. The chance of storms becomes greater.  Are you prepared?  Does your flashlight work?  Do you have enough food and water stocked up?  Are your plans up to date in case you have to evacuate your home?  These are just a few of the steps you need to take to be ready.  For more information you can visit or stop by our office and we will be glad to share with you how to be better prepared.

When you think of the Red Cross my hope is that you know us as a neighbor who is willing to reach out and lend a hand.  When called upon, we start the process of rebuilding lives, but the only way we are able to do that is with your generosity.  If you feel led, I encourage you to volunteer some of your time with us and see first-hand what it is like to make a difference in a person’s life - there is not a more rewarding experience than helping someone.  The other way you can help is to make a financial contribution which will enable us to provide the much needed services to victims of disaster, military personnel, blood needs and training citizens in life saving skills.  Stop by today and see where you fit in at the American Red Cross.


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

The Smallest Things Mean So Much

The Red Cross is known for being on the scene to give comfort to families struck by disaster. Our dedicated volunteers arrive on the scene, assess the situation, and then provide assistance with food, clothing and shelter.  These are the things that this organization is known for.  What we don’t always hear about are the things that go beyond our mission, the things that happen on the scene that mean even more than providing the family with basic necessities.

A few weeks ago, our volunteers responded to a duplex fire in Dickson County.  The volunteers responded as they always do, but this time the scene was different.  Lives were lost, and emotions were running high.  While some of our Disaster Action Team members worked with the family, other volunteers began to canteen the fire department and other emergency responders.  They supplied food through our partner agencies as well as coffee to the emergency responders.  

One of our volunteers gave a Mickey Mouse to a little girl who lost a family member in the fire.
What happened next blew me away.  

Through my personal Facebook came a post from one of the family members that had lost her sister in the fire, along with a picture of the Mickey Mouse doll that was given to the little girl.  I want to share with you what this family posted and how this small act of kindness touched this family in a big way.  

The post read:  “The Red Cross team is at my house and they brought this toy for MarLeigh, none of these people knew my sisters’ nickname was Mickey.  They didn’t know that we called her Mickey Mouse.  I’m not a religious person, but someone up there is looking down on us.  The smallest things sometimes have the biggest meanings.”

One of our DAT volunteers went to the funeral home to show additional support.  This incident has shown us what an impact a small gesture can make on a family’s life.  Thank you to a great group of volunteers who showed up and then let their heart lead their actions.  The smallest act of kindness can make a huge difference in the hearts of others.

Letter from Northeast Tennessee Executive Director, Glenda Bobalik - May 2015

This is one of the busiest times of the year.  Everyone is hurrying to grasp the final moments of spring and move quickly into summer.  As you make plans, please take a minute to mark June 2nd in red on your calendar.  Two events are happening that day in our Red Cross world.

First, on June 2nd at 5:30 pm, we are having an All-Volunteer Meeting for the people who make up the spirit and strength of the American Red Cross of Northeast Tennessee, our volunteers.  A variety of topics will be discussed along with a town hall type session where you can ask questions and share ideas. 

We plan to have fun, share stories, and, of course, eat.  Hot dogs, hamburgers and all the trimmings are on the menu. 

This first All-Volunteer meeting will be at the Kingsport office.  Hopefully, future meetings will be in other offices so we can all become more familiar with the chapter’s service area. 

We are the Northeast Tennessee Red Cross team and the more we get to know each other the stronger we become.  Each of you does an outstanding job of delivering the services of the Red Cross.  Together, you are truly phenomenal.

Second, we are launching our first Giving Day on June 2, asking people to make a donation to the Red Cross to help ensure that help is available wherever and whenever people need it.

Life can change in one day, leaving someone with nothing – without a home, without their belongings, without hope. For so many of these people, the American Red Cross is the answer. We need the community’s support.  Support of Red Cross Giving Day is a promise of better days ahead for those in our community who have lost everything.

Red Cross Giving Day is a 24-hour national fundraising campaign supporting the work of the Red Cross in communities across the country each and every day. The theme of Giving Day is “All In One Day” because the Red Cross is “all in” every day, helping people to get back on their feet.

On June 2nd, we have 24 hours to turn compassion into action.  On this one day, please join me in asking people to donate to the Red Cross so we can be there to help people in need.

To take part in Giving Day and support the work of the American Red Cross, please visit  All in one day, working together, we can bring help and hope to people when they need it most.

So, mark June 2nd on your calendar and prepare to have some fun!