Monday, September 26, 2016

TN Red Cross Now Helping with IA Floods, Still Helping with LA Floods

Over the weekend, Red Cross volunteers (including one from Tennessee) have been responding to flooding in Iowa. Volunteers from our state are continuing to deploy and serve flood victims in Louisiana as well. The American Red Cross will continue to monitor weather conditions across the country.
With the change of season comes a change in weather. Download our free Emergency app and set up alerts to prepare for any severe weather this fall:

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Southeast Tennessee Heroes Luncheon 2016 - Keynote Speaker, Randy Boyd

The ninth annual Heroes Luncheon is Wednesday, October 19 at The Chattanoogan Hotel. This annual event recognizes every day ordinary people who make extraordinary contributions by putting their needs aside to help others in our community.

Randy Boyd is this year’s keynote speaker. Mr. Boyd was sworn in on January 17, 2015 by Governor Bill Haslam to serve as the Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. The department is responsible for recruiting business and industry to the state as well as Tennessee’s overall economic growth.

Prior to joining TNECD, Mr. Boyd founded Radio Systems Corporation from which he is currently taking a leave of absence. Radio Systems is headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee and has over 700 associates worldwide with offices in seven countries. The company produces over 4,600 pet products under brand names such as Invisible Fence, PetSafe, and SportDOG. It is a privately held corporation with sales over $370 million. He is also owner of Boyd Sports LLC, owner of the Tennessee Smokies Baseball team, the AA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs and the Johnson City Cardinals, a rookie league affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.

He is also on the Board of many non-profit organizations. Of particular note, he is the Chairman of tnAchieves, a mentor-assisted scholarship program that has sent over 10,000 first generation community college students across the state of Tennessee all through private donations and in 2015 is providing operational support for students participating in the Tennessee Promise in 85 counties.
In 2013, he took a year leave of absence from his company to serve Governor Bill Haslam in a volunteer role as his Special Advisor on Higher Education assisting in the development of the Drive to 55 initiatives and the Tennessee Promise. The Tennessee Promise will provide free tuition and fees to community college to approximately 15,000 Tennesseans per year, all matched with a trained, volunteer mentor.

In addition to serving as Commissioner of ECD, he is also Chairman of the Governor’s Workforce Sub-Cabinet, Co-Chairman of the Rural Taskforce and Chairman of Launch Tennessee that supports entrepreneurship across the state, and Chairman of the Aviation Task force which is tasked with maintaining our nation leading airport infrastructure.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Nashville Area Volunteer of the Month, Debbie Ament de Nunez - August 2016

Disaster Action Team (DAT) member, Debbie Ament de Nunez is the August Volunteer of the Month. Debbie became a Red Cross volunteer in 2014, and since hasn't looked back.

Debbie first joined the Red Cross because she was interested in helping people affected by disaster with therapy dogs, but soon found that she could take her talents to a new level by joining DAT.  Debbie recalls her first DAT call as one of her favorite memories.

"I was just very impressed by how this organization operates and helps people, so that’s when I knew I wanted to be a part of it," said Debbie.

As part of her DAT responsibilities, Debbie spends a lot of time actively recruiting volunteers in Sumner County.  She holds monthly meetings to get volunteers there more acquainted with local government officials and first responders, so that everyone is prepared in case of a disaster.

Debbie has spent the last several months planning a special disaster training to take place this Saturday, September 17 at Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville.

"The goal of the training is to educate and train people on how to run a shelter and to provide an overview of Disaster Cycle Services.  We will event have computers there so that interested people can begin the volunteer process."

Thank you, Debbie, for your hard work and dedication to the American Red Cross!

Local Red Cross Volunteers Provide Support to Thousands of People Following Louisiana Floods

One month ago, devastating floodwaters covered parts of Louisiana, affecting an estimated 120,000 homes, leaving thousands of people with little or nothing. The American Red Cross responded immediately to provide shelter and comfort – and we are still there, making sure people have what they need and helping them plan their next steps.

More than 4,000 American Red Cross workers—over 150 from Tennessee— have worked tirelessly to help people in Louisiana following devastating floods there in August. So far, the Red Cross and community partners have:

Supported 72 Shelters with more than 73,000 overnight stays
Served more than 1,050,000 meals and snacks
Distributed more than 682,000 relief items
Provided more than 35,000 health services and emotional support contacts

In addition to still providing shelter, food and relief supplies, the Red Cross is also helping residents get on the path to recovery by connecting them to the critical services and resources they need through casework, as well as providing financial assistance for those who qualify.

Thank you to the dozens of Tennessee volunteers who have supported the relief efforts and continue to serve Louisiana!  You have truly made a difference!

Regional Executive Corner with Joel R. Sullivan - September 2016

September is National Preparedness Month, and the American Red Cross is participating by encouraging everyone to make a home fire escape plan.  Having a home fire escape plan is critical so everyone in the household knows what to do if a fire occurs.

Large-scale disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes and floods always make the news, but the most common disaster threat people face across the country is a fire in their home.  We urge residents to develop a home fire escape plan and practice it with everyone in their household.

Here are a few steps to include when creating your fire escape plan:

Walk through the home and look at all exits and possible escape routes, including windows;
List two ways to get out of every room in case fire blocks one of the paths;
Pick a place to meet outside, a safe distance away from the home;
Conduct drills. Practice until every member of the household, including children, can escape the home in less than two minutes;
Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1; and
Teach everyone to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.

People should also install smoke alarms on every level of their home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Test the alarms monthly.  Install new batteries at least once a year or according to the alarm manufacturer’s instructions.  Replace alarms every ten years.

In addition to making your fire escape plan, you can make a difference in our community by volunteering for the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign.  Please email David Kitchen at to sign up for a smoke alarm canvassing/install event and find out others ways to become involved.

Thanks for your support,


TN Red Cross Volunteers Still Deployed to LA, FL

Nearly 60 Tennessee Red Cross volunteers are still helping folks in Louisiana after devastating floods hit the state a month ago. Additionally, we have a couple of volunteers deployed to Florida to help those affected by Hermine.
Our volunteers play a vital role in helping the Red Cross respond to weather-related disasters in Tennessee and across the country. Red Cross volunteers are the topic of this week's Weather Red Report.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Southeast Tennessee Volunteer of the Month, Rod Davis - August 2016

Congratulations to our longtime volunteer, Rod Davis, on being the August Volunteer of the Month. Rod has been working with Disaster Cycle Services and Preparedness Health and Safety for 20 years. He has been on multiple deployments, taught CPR to community members and his two sons, and responded to countless house fires. Rod believes there are many community members in need and it is his responsibility to be a part of an organization that helps others. During his time with the Red Cross he has made countless friends and has several memorable stories.

One of his most notable American Red Cross stories happened earlier this month. Rod, who works for a construction company, was working on a house with his sons, Marcus and Nicholas, and joking around with Mr. Farris, the homeowner. Rod stepped outside to cut a piece of wood when Marcus ran outside to say that Mr. Farris was showing signs of having a heart attack. Rod, Marcus, and Nicholas immediately sprang into action and began performing CPR on Mr. Farris after calling 911. Rod did CPR for about 15 minutes stopping twice because Mr. Farris came into consciousness until emergency personnel arrived and delivered AED shocks. This brought his heart back to a normal rhythm and he was immediately taken to a hospital.

A doctor said that it was a miracle that Mr. Farris was alive and although the chances of survival even with CPR were only 20 percent, it likely saved his life. Rod has continued to stay in contact with Mr. Farris and he checks on him every other day. Rod is thankful that he and his kids were taught lifesaving American Red Cross skills, and that the three of them were able to be there for Mr. Farris in his time of need. Mr. and Mrs. Farris are extremely thankful to Rod for what he was able to do for them and have even asked him to teach CPR to them so they will know what to do if they are ever in a situation again where they need to.

This is just one story that Rod has from his time with American Red Cross. When asked why he volunteers he states “No money in the world could keep me from helping people in the Red Cross. The same people we assist, we may need their help one day, you never know. During our community tragedies, some of the people I had met on deployments were there. I felt like all those years I volunteered came around full circle.”

Thank you for all you do Rod, we appreciate you and thank you for using your American Red Cross skills to save Mr. Farris’s life!

Letter from Northeast Tennessee Executive Director, Glenda Bobalik - September 2016

This month, the American Red Cross joins in celebrating National Preparedness Month 2016. The national theme for this year’s National Preparedness Month is “Don’t Wait, Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.” Across the country, people are being asked to make their disaster plan now.

So, I have a question for you:  Have you made your Emergency Plan?  This is especially important for those of us who have accepted the responsibility of asking others to be prepared.  Sometimes in our busy lives, we forget to take time to “practice what we preach.”  Please join me in making the commitment that by the end of September, we will have an emergency plan incorporating our personal communications plan.  Those of you who respond to disasters know how critical it is that people have a way to reach friends and family to let them know they are safe.

Once we have our plans in place, we need to spread the word.  Statistics show that those who have a plan prior to a disaster recover much more quickly than those who are unprepared.  To make our friends, co-workers, and neighbors safer is the goal.  Think of the power of each of us motivating just five families to make an Emergency Plan.

As you develop your plan, remember that home fires are the most common disaster threat people face in our community.  Making a fire escape plan is an integral part of a good Emergency Plan.  List two ways to get out of every room in case fire blocks one of the paths and, of course, select a place to meet once outside.  Another critical safety preparation is to install smoke alarms on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.

While creating your plan, there are many resources available to help. is a primary source for information. The Red Cross Emergency App is another way to have information at your fingertips.  Encourage anyone with a smart phone to download the app today.

Now we have a plan!  First we each create or update our own Emergency Plan by the end of September.  Then we each reach out to five others and help them find the resources to create or update their Emergency Plan.  When we reach our goal we will have a safer community!

Stay safe and enjoy the final days of summer!


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Mid-West Tennessee Volunteer Shares Experience from Louisiana Deployment

This month, Mid-West TN Volunteer, Travis Smith, writes about his experiences while being deployed to Louisiana.

Travis Smith
My name is Travis Smith.  I’m a Red Cross volunteer and serve as the Disaster Assessment Lead for the Mid-West Tennessee Chapter. I was recently deployed to Baton Rouge, LA and served there in a disaster assessment position. I spent most of my time assessing the flood damage that had occurred with a team of volunteers from across the nation.

It was my first time serving the American Red Cross as a DA in a disaster relief response. Our team was the first to try out a new system called, "Survey 123." Instead of writing all our assessments on street sheets, we entered the data into mobile phones and sent it directly to the disaster headquarters in real time. This allowed information to get to other departments quicker so that they could respond to the harder hit areas as soon as possible. We learned a lot and did many assessments in a short time. One hundred percent of the DA process was completed in just two weeks thanks to our hard working volunteers and this new technology.

Due to the wide spread damage and limited lodging options, we spent our nights in one of several staff shelters. Shelter life was easier than some may think. We were all there for the same reason, we had someone to talk to at the end of a long day and it was quiet at lights out- except for a few snores here and there.

Even though my days were long and sometimes rough, I am glad I was able to deploy to serve the people affected by the Louisiana floods, and plan to deploy again when the need arises.

Letter from Tennessee River Executive Director, Faye Anderson - September 2016

At a moment’s notice, I was asked to join the recent flood response efforts in Louisiana.  I drove eleven hours and ended up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.   This is a place where the hopes and dreams of thousands of people were swept away with the water that had invaded their homes and their lives.

They watched as the flood waters began to rise up and destroy everything that they had spent years working for.  Many of them escaped with only the shirts on their back, but they were helped to safety by the hands of gentle strangers.

When I arrived at the Red Cross headquarters in Baton Rouge, there were Red Cross volunteers all over the place.  The office was buzzing with red vests, smiling faces, and a real zeal for going out and helping those who had been affected.  It was an incredible scene, as every inch of the building was set up and running like a well-oiled machine.  Partnerships began to form and communication from each area was consistent and precise.  I watched in awe as I saw the training of the volunteers come to life and be put into action.  My heart filled with pride for an organization run with thousands of big hearted people who only want the best for the people of Louisiana.

The eight days were filled with different events that touched my heart. I met an elderly lady in a shelter that told she had been in her trailer home and watched the water as it flowed into her living room.  She was rescued by a boat and was taken to the Red Cross shelter.  I sat there and listened to her while she talked about her daughter who she hadn't been able to communicate with and the sadness that losing everything had brought her.  That lady is the reason that our mission exists and continues.  I put my arms around her as tears rolled down her face and told her everything was going to be ok.  From that moment on, the work I did there meant so much more.  I was in the right place at the right time offering hope to a lady who felt abandoned ….what a moment!

I left Baton Rouge with a greater love for what I do and an even greater commitment to this organization that shows up and has arms wide and hearts open!

Letter from East Tennessee Executive Director, Michelle Hankes - September 2016

September is National Preparedness Month. Yes, every month has some kind of title these days and every day is some kind of holiday (I'm partial to National Donut Day), but let's take this preparedness thing seriously.

Depending upon the study you read, being prepared for an emergency, disaster or other crisis will save you anywhere from $7 to $150 per dollar spent. For example, if you are prepared with a first aid kit and the knowledge of how to use it, what would it save you in medical bills? If you had a good disaster kit that allowed you to shelter in place instead of needing to find alternative shelter, how much would you save on extra expenses?

Some costs can't be figured. If you have a working smoke alarm, how much would you save if everyone got out safely? That kind of economics is priceless.

There are many ways for you to "celebrate" Preparedness Month: take a class, make a kit, download an app, tell someone about any of these things. No matter which you choose to do, being prepared can make a huge difference when you least expect it!

Michelle Hankes

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

National Preparedness Month: Get Ready for Emergencies

September is National Preparedness Month and the American Red Cross urges people to create a disaster plan for their household this month so everyone knows what to do if an emergency occurs.
There are three steps people should take to prepare - build a disaster kit, come up with an emergency plan and be informed about learn how local authorities will notify you during a disaster.
An emergency kit should contain water, non-perishable food, a flashlight and extra batteries, a first aid kit, medications and copies of important documents. Talk with members of your household and create an evacuation plan. Learn about how your community responds to hurricanes and plan routes to local shelters. Remember family members with special medical needs and plan how you will care for your pets. Full details are available in the preparedness section of
HOME FIRE CAMPAIGN The Red Cross and its partners have saved more than 100 lives as part of its nationwide Home Fire Campaign launched to reduce the number of people who die or are injured during a fire in their home. Started in October of 2014, the campaign is a multi-year effort to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent. Working with fire departments and community groups across the country, the Red Cross is installing smoke alarms in homes in neighborhoods at high risk for fires and teaching residents about fire prevention and preparedness.
HOME FIRES – WHAT TO DO The Red Cross is calling on everyone to take two simple steps that can save lives: create and practice their home fire escape plan and check their smoke alarms. National Preparedness Month is a good time to develop that fire escape plan and practice it with everyone in the household. Take a walk through the home and look at all exits and possible escape routes, including windows. List two ways to get out of every room in case fire blocks one of the paths. Pick a place to meet outside, a safe distance away and – no matter the circumstances – stay out of the home until fire officials say it is okay to go back inside. All households should practice their plan at least twice a year.
People should also install smoke alarms on every level of their home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. They should test the alarms monthly, replace the batteries at least once a year and replace them every ten years.
DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY APP People should download the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive emergency alerts and information about what to do in case of disasters as well as locations of shelters. Household members can use the app to plan what to do and where to go if a disaster occurs. The app also includes emergency first aid information and a Family Safe feature which allows people to instantly see if loved ones are okay. The free Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to

Monday, September 5, 2016

70+ TN Red Crossers in LA This Labor Day; Tonight's Telethon Info

On this Labor Day, more than 70 Tennessee Red Crossers are still deployed to Louisiana. Since the flooding began in Louisiana, many volunteers and staff from our state have deployed to and returned from the Bayou State, and we'd like to thank everyone who's deployed there to help folks affected by this devastating disaster.
As we've mentioned, there's a telethon tonight to support Red Cross flood relief efforts in Louisiana. Beginning at 8 Eastern Time/7 Central Time, Louisiana Rising: A Benefit Concert for Flood Relief will be available to watch online for free by visiting here#SupportLouisiana