Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Know the Difference: Tornado Watch Vs. Tornado Warning

Know the Difference!

Tornado Watch - Tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. Review and discuss your emergency plans, and check supplies and your safe room. Be ready to act quickly if a warning is issued or you suspect a tornado is approaching. Acting early helps to save lives!

Tornado Warning - A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Tornado warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. Go immediately underground to a basement, storm cellar or an interior room (closet, hallway or bathroom).

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Regional Executive Corner with Joel R. Sullivan - March 2017

Hello, Nashville Area Red Crossers!

Our team of dedicated staff and volunteers is gearing up for our annual HCA/Tristar Health Lifesaver Breakfast. The breakfast is an event which brings together our greatest supporters to recognize the work of the Red Cross in our community and to raise the financial resources necessary to carry out our mission. The event will take place on Friday, March 31, at 7:30 a.m. at the Omni Hotel in downtown Nashville.

Mark Lazarus, Chairman of NBC Broadcasting and Sports will be the keynote speaker for the breakfast this year. As Chairman and CEO of NBC Broadcasting and sports, Lazarus is the primary relationship between NBC and the NFL, NHL, EPL and NASCAR. He is responsible for all of NBC’ sports programming and that of their 29 owned stations, as well as all business operations for the PGA and the Olympic Committee. He has overseen production of 3 Olympics and untold football, hockey, golf and NASCAR telecasts.

The 2017 event is especially monumental for the Red Cross in that it will mark 100 years of service in Tennessee.

If you or someone you know would like to learn about sponsorship opportunities, please contact Whitney Lee at or 615-250-4262 or visit


Monday, March 20, 2017

American Red Cross of East Tennessee Announces Pedal for the Red Bike Event

The American Red Cross of East Tennessee announced last week Pedal for the Red, a fun, friendly, bicycle ride to support the lifesaving work of the American Red Cross.  In partnership with Visit Knoxville and USA Cycling, Pedal for the Red will kick off a major cycling weekend in Knoxville, as the 2017 USA Cycling Pro Road and Time Trial Championships take place on June 24-25.

Pedal for the Red, presented by Phillips & Jordan, will provide amateur bicycle riders the unique opportunity to ride the same closed time trial course that will be used by the top professional cyclists in the USA Pro National Time Trials. The 4.8 mile course will start in the Old City and includes a stretch down Neyland Drive.  Following the ride, participants will be in position to watch the start of the National Time Trials, where the best cyclists in the country compete for the national championship.

Riders can participate in this exciting weekend and support the humanitarian relief work of American Red Cross at the same time.  It’s a feel good ride, for a great humanitarian cause.

Riders and spectators of Pedal for the Red can make a valuable contribution to the American Red Cross through Pedal for the Red, Peer-to-Peer Fundraising.  One hundred percent of the funds raised through peer-to-peer will go directly to the American Red Cross of East Tennessee.

 “We know how deeply committed the Red Cross and its volunteers are to serving our region whenever we need them,” says Christy Phillips, Chair of Pedal for the Red.  “This is an exciting opportunity to come together as a community, have fun with family and friends and support the work of the American Red Cross in East Tennessee.”

This first Pedal for the Red marks the centennial (1917 – 2017) of the American Red Cross in Tennessee.

For information visit: and or contact Melissa Sykes at

Friday, March 17, 2017

Southeast Tennessee Volunteer of the Month, March 2017: Tom Mainor

Congratulations to Tom Mainor, our March Volunteer of the Month this month!

Tom is a very dedicated volunteer that covers not only response in his community, but often neighboring communities.  Tom is extremely humble and kind to everyone.  He works with new volunteers to help them learn the ropes and is willing to help however he is needed.

After Tom retired as a forester, he wanted something worthwhile to do and started dedicating some time to the Red Cross. He has now been a volunteer for about 5 years! Tom is the Disaster Action Team (DAT) captain for Ray County. On the DAT team, he tag-teams with other volunteers, including his wife, responding to home fires. His responsibilities include delegating resources to help disaster victims buy food and clothing, assist in arranging a place to stay if needed, writing referrals to charitable groups for additional supplies, and giving comfort items. He has participated in local community service events such as smoke alarm installation in the county, the home show in Chattanooga, and keeping shelters established in his county.

Tom has also been on several deployments: three hurricane deployments (Isaac, Sandy, Matthew), Gatlinburg wildfires, and the Athens tornadoes. Tom’s his willingness to assist those in need at all hours is so appreciated! His kindness in heartbreaking situations helps everyone. Thank you, Tom!

Letter from Mid-West Tennessee Executive Director, David Hicks - March 2017

Hello Mid- West TN. Volunteers! I hope that each of you had a good start to the first quarter of 2017. I know that it’s been a busy 3 months for all of us in the chapter- and it doesn’t seem to show any signs of slowing down!

As many of you are already aware, March is National Red Cross month. Many of you have been requested to speak in your local communities on behalf of our organization (churches, schools, civic clubs, etc.). We appreciate each of you for your willingness to use these platforms to advance the cause and raise awareness in our communities of our ongoing need for additional volunteers! If our staff can be of any help with your various programs/ presentations please let us know.

I want to take the opportunity to give special recognition to our Disaster Action Team (DAT) members and the amazing services they provide on behalf of our chapter. They serve under the excellent leadership of our Disaster Program Manager- Heather Carbajal. The past month has been an especially difficult stretch for our DAT team members. They’ve responded to fires that have included fatalities, long travel distances, less than ideal circumstances, etc. We are so proud of each and every member and the way in which they represent the organization well during the most trying and tiring times. If you’re an active member of the DAT team (or a former member as well), we salute you and are indebted to your sacrifice!

Lastly, please make note that we will be hosting our annual “Heroes Luncheon” on Thursday, May 11th from 11:30am- 1pm in the Carl Grant Community Center on the Union University campus in Jackson. Our keynote speaker will be Senator Mark Green. Many of you are hearing his name mentioned in the national news due to the fact he is one of the leading candidates to be appointed Secretary of the Army by the President. We look forward to hearing him share some of his military accomplishments with us (as well as catching us up on the exciting current governmental affairs he is involved in).   WE hope you’ll mark this date on your calendar and join us for this special annual event.

With thanks,

Monday, March 13, 2017

Letter from East Tennessee Interim Executive Director, Greg King - March 2017

Dear East Tennessee Volunteers,

With Michelle’s departure, I’m serving as the interim executive director and I have enjoyed getting to know many of the volunteers in the East Tennessee Chapter already.  In my normal day to day duties, I deal with items like the budget, bill payment, fleet and facility operations, as well as work with our executive team, so I don’t always see our mission in action on a regular basis.   I recently had an experience though that caused me to pause and reflect on how important our working with the military and their families can be.

I have an almost 21 year-old son named Alex who is majoring in engineering at Tennessee Tech. The summer before last, he decided to join the Tennessee National Guard as part of the ROTC program at Tech.   He successfully completed basic training and advanced infantry training at Ft. Benning two summers ago (one of the proudest moments of my life).   He has settled into a regular routine with school, monthly drill and all is normal.  A couple of weeks ago, he was in town after a night drill at the Smyrna base where they were doing physicals, updating paperwork and completely other mandatory duties.

If you’ve been around the Red Cross for a while, you have probably heard people talk about their Red Cross story.  Even though I have worked for the Red Cross for 10 years, I have never been in a position to truly understand how valuable our emergency communications and other services for military families can be.

My approached me following drill in Smyrna and said “Dad, we had to update our paperwork this weekend and you are my sole beneficiary if I get killed while serving or deployed.  I wanted to make sure you won’t have to pay for my burial if something happens.”

Not exactly the type of thing you expect to hear or think about on a Sunday afternoon.  To say the least, his words impacted me heavily and caused me to reflect on how many military families in our community and around the country have that conversation on a regular basis.  I truly did not fully grasp the sacrifice our military families make until I heard the words come out of my son’s mouth.  Later that evening as I reflected on our conversation, I gave a great deal of thought to the incredible work our Service to the Armed Forces volunteers and staff do with pre and post deployment briefings and the many other services the Red Cross provides.  It is great to know the Red Cross is there for those families, to bring their service members home during life events, to do workshops such as Coping with Deployment for families and to facilitate emergency loans  just to mention a few.  
Even though my son is 90 miles away in college, it dawned on me that I am a military family and the organization I work for is here to support my son and my family.   What a great feeling to know you’re not alone.  I want to thank those selfless volunteers and staff who give their time to serve military families like mine.  You will have my family’s gratitude forever.  Thank you for what you do.   You make a difference.


Greg King
Regional Chief Operating Officer

Letter from Tennessee River Chapter: Greg King, Regional COO - March 2017

I have had the privilege to serve in the not for profit world for more than two decades.  One common theme throughout my career that has never ceased to amaze me, is the power of volunteers.  As we all know, we went without a  Disaster Program Manager and Executive Director in the Tennessee River Chapter for several months.  In most chapters, this would paralyze the local operation.  Not true in the Tennessee River Chapter.

I have witnessed and had the pleasure of working with an extraordinary group of volunteers.   The volunteer leadership team of the Tennessee River Chapter is an amazing group.  They exemplify the volunteer spirit this state is famous for.  See it, own it, do it, is their mantra.  Our volunteer base has fully run the chapter and accepted complete ownership and responsibility.  What an amazing thing to see!  The chapter has not missed a beat due to the dedication and power of our volunteers.

There are two volunteers in particular I want to recognize.  Ron Lanfear and Jan Thompson.  Ron and Jan have gone above and beyond the call of duty for volunteer.  Both have taken on huge amounts of responsibility and performed magnificently in running our chapter.  Thanks Ron and Jan for your leadership!

A motivated group of volunteers is one of the most powerful forces on the planet.  One of the strongest groups, is based in the Tennessee River Chapter.   I am humbled to work alongside each of you.

With Appreciation,

Greg King
Regional COO

Letter from Southeast Tennessee Executive Director, Julia Wright - March 2017

In 1986, U.S. Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger designated each April as month of the Military Child, recognizing the contribution the child makes as a parent or parents serve our nation. This recognition has continued as Governor Bill Haslam has declared April as month of the Military Child in Tennessee. The American Red Cross is proud to recognize military children and the special contribution they make as their parent or guardian is called to serve.

Sunday, May, 7th the American Red Cross of Southeast TN is hosting its 3th honorary event, Military Kids Serve Too. This year's location is the Creative Discovery Museum. This very special occasion is meant to recognize the strength and sacrifice displayed by the children of Tennessee’s military and veteran community.

At Military Kids Serve Too, each child will be honored with a customized challenge coin commemorating their special designation as our nation’s youngest patriots. Commander Tim White will be presenting challenge coins to the children of local military members and veterans.

The 2016 success and participation among several partners, leaders, and members of the community was a promising indication of the growth and interest in this unique celebration. This year, we are expecting an even greater response and the opportunity to promote more awareness for the military children’s distinguished role in our community.”

Children who have parents or guardians currently serving in the US Armed Forces, Active Reserve and Guard as well as military veterans, are invited to attend Military Kids Serve Too.

Military Kids Serve Too is made possible through the generous contribution of partners like the Creative Discovery Museum and the TN National Guard Child and Youth Program.  To register, visit:

Letter from Northeast Tennessee Executive Director, Glenda Bobalik - March 2017

What a wonderful time of year!  As we move through March and into April, we are watching the renewal of the world around us.  The sunshine feels warm, the flowers bring a smile, and challenges seem to become manageable.  At the Red Cross, we add the enjoyment of celebration brought by March as Red Cross Month and the Volunteer Appreciation events of April.

I often feel that the celebration of both Red Cross Month and Volunteer Appreciation Month perfectly align. Without the wonderful volunteers who give their time so selflessly, we would not have a Red Cross to celebrate.

Thanking a group of volunteers for their service a few days ago, I felt once again that my words seem so inadequate.  How can I express the amazement I feel as I look at the generous people who give so much to help other people? I have decided that there are no words more impactful than the simple “thank you” that I offer now.

Thank you for making our organization one that cares.

Thank you for giving your time to serve others.

Thank you for getting up when you are tired and cold to go help someone in need.

Thank you for listening to a veteran tell their story of service.

Thank you for teaching a 10-year-old the magic of a Pillowcase Project.

Thank you for giving your Saturday morning to install smoke alarms and build a safer community.

Thank you for answering the phone and helping someone find the assistance they need.

Thank you for presenting preparedness tips to a civic club.

Thank you for maintaining our equipment so that we are ready to respond.

Thank you for building relationships in the community so that we can work cooperatively with others.

Thank you for delivering thank you cards to veterans in nursing homes.

Thank you for teaching CPR/First Aid skills to our community.

Thank you for all that you do to deliver the services of the American Red Cross to the residents of Northeast Tennessee.


March is Red Cross Month

March is Red Cross Month, a time when the American Red Cross honors our nation’s heroes who help people in need in their community, across the country and around the world. 

During Red Cross Month, become a hero too. Join the Red Cross.
1. Become a Red Cross volunteer. You can help in your local community.
2. Give blood and help a patient on their road to recovery.
3. Take a class; be able to help during an emergency.
4. Make a plan. Develop a preparedness plan with members of your household.
5. Make a financial donation. Your support will allow us to help those in need.

A LITTLE HISTORY For more than 135 years, American Red Cross workers have been an essential part of our nation’s response to war, natural disaster and other human suffering.Read about the Red Cross in American history here.
Since 1906, the office of president has been part of the structure of the American Red Cross. United States President Woodrow Wilson agreed to serve in this position in 1913, establishing a tradition followed by all subsequent presidents to become Honorary President of the American Red Cross. That title was changed to Honorary Chairman in 1947.
In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt designated March as Red Cross Month. Since that time, all of our U.S. presidents have designated March as Red Cross Month to recognize how our organization helps people across the country and around the world. Read the Presidential Proclamation for American Red Cross Month.
The Red Cross provides help and support in many ways to people in this country and around the world by:
  • Responding to as many as 64,000 disasters big and small in this country every year.
  • Providing 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families at home and around the world.
  • Collecting and distributing about 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply.
  • Training millions of people in first aid, water safety and other life-saving skills.
  • Helping millions of people around the world through disaster management and disease prevention activities.
During Red Cross Month, become an everyday hero, become a part of the Red Cross. More information is available on how you can help through your local Red Cross chapter or by visiting the Red Cross “Ways to Help” information.

Friday, March 3, 2017

After a Disaster: What Happens Next?

If your neighborhood or home was damaged by a tornado or severe storm, Red Cross has some tips to help start your recovery.

Immediately after the disaster, continue listening to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio for updated information and instructions. If you are away from home, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so. As you approach damaged structures, wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes. This will not only help shield you from any lingering weather, but also help to protect you from hazardous debris.

Specific things to do or look for as you approach damaged areas include:

  • Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines and report them to the utility company immediately. Do NOT approach or touch them.
  • If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and get everyone out of the building quickly and call the gas company or fire department.
  • Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance claims.
  • Clean up spilled medications, bleaches, gasoline or other flammable liquids that could become a fire hazard.
  • Taking care of yourself.

Even if your home wasn’t directly affected, a looming tornado can wreak havoc on even the steeliest of nerves. This leads to one disaster response aspect that often gets overlooked: emotional recovery.

Disasters can be upsetting and stressful, and reactions like frustration or anger are common. If you’ve experienced a disaster, there are a few things you can do to recover mentally and emotionally knowing that this process (like many things!) will take some time.

To start, focus on the basics. Make your top priorities a well-balanced diet, plenty of water and sufficient rest. Try to limit exposure to the sights and sounds of the disaster in the media, and just focus on your family’s needs. Maintain a support network of family and friends, and be patient with yourself and others through the recovery process.

Find more advice on recovering emotionally on, and know that we’re always available if you need some extra help. To reach out for free 24/7 counseling or support, contact the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs’ to 66746.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Severe Weather Preparedness – Use Red Cross Safety Tips

The American Red Cross has safety tips to help prepare you for severe weather.
You can download the free Red Cross Emergency App to have safety information at your fingertips. It features emergency weather alerts so people can head to a safe place if needed, and provides information about what to do in case of various disasters. Red Cross apps are available in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to
TORNADO SAFETY A tornado watch means tornadoes are possible in the area. Prepare to act quickly if a warning is issued or someone suspects a tornado is approaching. A tornado warning means a tornado has been sighted or indicated on radar. Go underground to a basement, storm cellar or interior room of the house.
Some signs of a tornado include dark, often greenish clouds, a wall of clouds or cloud of debris, large hail, a funnel cloud or roaring noise. Steps to remember if a tornado warning is issued include:
  • Go to an underground shelter, basement or safe room if available. A hallway on the lowest level of a sturdy building is also a safe alternative.
  • Mobile homes are not safe during tornadoes. Do not seek shelter in a hallway or bathroom of a mobile home. If you have access to a sturdy shelter or vehicle, get out of the mobile home immediately and go to either.
  • If you are caught outdoors, seek shelter in a basement, shelter or sturdy building.
  • If you can’t walk to a shelter quickly, immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter.
  • If debris is flying while you are driving, pull over and park. You can stay in the car with the seat belt on, putting your head down below the windows, covering your head with your hands and a blanket if possible.
  • THUNDERSTORMS If you can hear thunder, you are close enough for lightning to be a threat. If thunder roars, go indoors and stay inside for at least 30 minutes after the thunder stops.
  • Listen to local news or NOAA Weather Radio for emergency updates. Watch for signs of a storm, like darkening skies, lightning flashes or increasing wind.
  • Postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are likely to occur. Many people struck by lightning are not in the area where rain is falling.
  • If a severe thunderstorm warning is issued, take shelter in a substantial building or in a vehicle with the windows closed. Get out of mobile homes that can blow over in high winds.
  • Avoid using electrical equipment and telephones. Use battery-powered TVs and radios instead.
  • Shutter windows and close outside doors securely. Keep away from windows.
  • Do not take a bath, shower or use running water.
  • If driving, try to safely exit the roadway and park. Stay in the vehicle and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rain ends. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside the vehicle.
  • If outside and unable to reach a safe building, avoid high ground; water; tall, isolated trees; and metal objects such as fences or bleachers. Picnic shelters, dugouts and sheds are NOT safe.
  • More information on what to do before, during and after all types of emergencies is available in the Preparedness section of