Monday, November 19, 2018

Nashville Area Volunteer Spotlight: Cathy and Jim Goodrich - November 2018

Cathy and Jim Goodrich are a power team couple. We caught up with Cathy while she was on deployment for Hurricane Michael, while Jim remained in Nashville to supervise the Disaster Action Team (DAT). The duo are co-leads for the Disaster Services Director. They also serve in the Disaster Services Technology setting up radio communications, and volunteering, for the Safe & Well program thanks to their extensive amateur radio experience, gaining them invaluable skills to help in times of disaster. The pair works like a well-oiled machine. When teaching the amateur radio certification classes for the Red Cross, Jim is the technical guy, and Cathy covers regulations. Thanks to Jim and Cathy three more people have recently been certified in amateur radio, giving three more pairs of hands in times of disaster.

Jim and Cathy are uniquely positioned in the Red Cross to work behind the scenes with Disaster Services Technology, and in front with Disaster Action Team. The radio team required some DAT training, which is how they came to be involved with this branch. After a year of service and dedication, both continue on with the Red Cross. For Jim it is the ability to help someone. For victims of a fire, it is possibly the lowest point of their life, many times losing everything. Jim says for someone who is the survivor of a fire they are in many cases at the lowest point of their life, and just to be able to give them a hand up is a good feeling. It means a lot to Jim to see the expression on their faces, the hug, and the thank you. For Cathy it is also the ability to help, coupled with the ability to learn.

Throughout their experiences they have advice to share with new volunteers. Don’t be afraid to try new things. If after being in a position you discover something different is preferred, it’s ok and the Team Leaders will guide their people to a position they thrive in. Make time in your life for helping our fellow man-kind. The Red Cross understands volunteers have a life, so they work with busy schedules. At some point everyone will need assistance in one way or another, so when possible, get involved in the community and help.

Jim and Cathy plan to stay with the Red Cross, responding to disasters, supporting the Safe & Well program, training people, and building the relationship between the Red Cross and the Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES). Thank you for you dedication and service to the Red Cross, Jim and Cathy!

Get to Know Jim and Cathy:
* Are you a coffee or tea person?
Jim: “Coffee – black & strong”
Cathy: “Coffee person. Black straight up.”

* Where is your favorite place to be?
Jim: “Quiet & quality time with family, and on a cruise.”
Cathy: “Nashville. If I have to narrow it down”

* Which music do you like?
Jim and Cathy: “Country without a doubt”

* Which books do you enjoy reading?
Jim: “Don’t read – busy enough!”
Cathy: “Mystery”

* What would surprise others about you?
Jim: “The level that we do emergency communications with the Red Cross would surprise people around them.”
Cathy: “I went on a horseback ride on a mountain. It was so scary. I thought I might fall off, and I’m afraid of heights!’

East Tennessee Volunteer Spotlight, Bushra Malaibari - October 2018

Originally from southeastern Michigan, Bushra Malaibari moved to Knoxville in August 2010 to pursue her PhD in Rhetoric at the University of Tennessee.  Since that achievement, she has been education director for the Boys and Girls Club of TN Valley. An active volunteer since 2016, Bushra is ready and willing to lend a hand. She worked the Red Cross tent during the eclipse, joined the first aid team for the 2017-18 UT football season, saved lives with the home fire campaign and helped repaint the East TN Chapter building. Currently, she’s training in fiscal review.  East TN is grateful for her positive ‘can do’ attitude and generosity of spirit. We wanted to share a little bit more about Bushra outside her volunteer role:

What is your favorite word?  Feels that the most important word in any language is "Thank You"

What sound do you love/hate?  Loves the sound of rain falling, dislikes the sound of babies crying

What profession would you like to have if not in your present position?  Would like to be an artist, free to create and be in your own world

Where would you like to live, other than east TN, and why?  Would love to live where she can use the other 3 languages she knows (besides English) - Arabic, French, and Portuguese; Brazil, France, or Switzerland

What natural gift or talent do you wish you had?  Cooking

Who is your favorite musician?  Presently listening to Tchaikovsky, Led Zeppelin, and Aretha Franklin

What historical figure would you like to meet, and why?  Would like to meet Aristotle and get his thoughts on today's social media and interactions via internet

What are you reading currently?  books on Data Management

What is your favorite color?  blue and black

What do you love about being a volunteer at the Red Cross?  Being surrounded by people with big hearts, who want to look out for others and help their fellow man.

East Tennessee Volunteer Spotlight, Dustin Newton - November 2018

This month, we welcome one of our newest volunteers, Dustin Newton, to the East Tennessee chapter.  Dustin was born in Knoxville, but took a curve to a North Georgia farm during his high school years.  He then preceded to graduate from Georgia Tech with a major in Computer Engineering and a minor in Math.  He attended Silicon Valley Technology in computer networking and later found himself in Oak Ridge selling real estate.

Dustin became a Red Cross volunteer in September 2017 and is currently the DAT Coordinator, works with RC View, and is on the administrative staff for FAST Team, as well as the Regional Information and Planning person for East Tennessee. 

Dustin has become an important peg in our cog of operations, and we are very pleased to have him around!  Below are a few questions we asked him, so that we could all get to know him a little better.

What is your favorite word?  Enthusiasm
What sound do you love? Birds Singing
What profession would you like to have, that you have not had?  A Doctor
Where would you like to live, other than East Tennessee?  Colorado, the mountains are wonderful!
What natural gift do you wish you had?  Art, the ability to create
Who is your favorite musician?  Dave Grisman, he plays Bluegrass with a mandolin
What historical figure would you most like to meet?  Leonardo di Vinci
What is your favorite color? Purple
What book is on your night table? “Success Through Positive Mental Attitudes” by Napoleon Hill

What do you love about volunteering with the Red Cross? Helping people in many ways, those who need it the most. 

Hurricane Michael: Red Cross Helps Thousands

Photo by Daniel Cima/American Red Cross

On October 10, Hurricane Michael made a Category 4 landfall as the third-strongest hurricane in U.S. history. It was also the strongest hurricane to hit the U.S. in 50 years. In total, the Red Cross and other organizations have provided more than 44,000 overnight stays in emergency shelters—the Red Cross has provided about 88 percent of these stays. More than 3,200 Red Cross disaster workers—nearly 90 percent volunteers—are on the ground and continue to support relief efforts across three states. Working with partners, the Red Cross has served more than 1.93 million meals and snacks. Volunteer mental health and health services professionals have provided some 34,700 contacts to provide support and care to evacuees. Disaster spiritual care responders provided more than 3,400 services to people impacted by Hurricane Michael in Florida and Georgia. We’ve distributed more than 270,200 relief items like clean up kits, shovels, bleach, garbage bags and much more to help more than 16,000 families with the massive clean-up effort.

Friday, November 16, 2018

‘Give Something That Means Something’ with American Red Cross on Giving Tuesday

During the holidays, bring comfort and hope to people in need

In a year when disasters upended the lives of thousands of people, the American Red Cross is asking everyone to Give Something that Means Something for families in need through its 2018 Holiday Giving Campaign.

“Every day, home fires and other everyday crises turn people’s lives upside down,” said Joel Sullivan, regional executive for the American Red Cross of Tennessee. “Families are counting on your support to remember them during this special time of year. On Giving Tuesday, please consider making a financial donation or a blood donation, or volunteering your time.”

GIVING TUESDAY Beginning on Giving Tuesday—November 27—please #GiveWithMeaning at to support people in need with a symbolic gift, which you can make in honor of the special people in your life:

Help disaster victims. Your gift of $250 can deliver hot meals for 25 people who need nourishment after a disaster. A donation of $100 can provide a family of two with a full day’s worth of emergency shelter with meals, snacks, blankets, a cot and hygiene supplies. Help provide warmth with a gift of $50, which can provide blankets for 10 people.
Help our veterans. A donation of $125 can help veterans transition back to civilian life by connecting them and their families to critical services such as food, housing, counseling and rehabilitation.
Help internationally. Your gift of $100 can help provide lifesaving vaccinations for 100 children who face an increased risk of measles and rubella around the world.

In addition, you can also:

Give the gift of life. Visit to make an appointment to donate blood or platelets.
Volunteer to help others. To learn more about becoming a Red Cross volunteer, visit

GIVING HOPE EVERY DAY Every 8 minutes, someone affected by disaster is helped by donations to the Red Cross. The generosity of Red Cross donors helps provide people with necessities like shelter, food, relief supplies, emotional support, recovery planning and other assistance.

The need is constant—and this year was no different. In the Tennessee Region, the Red Cross responded to 2,156 disasters. Home fires—the nation’s most frequent disaster—account for the vast majority of our responses.

In addition to helping families recover from these events, we also help save lives by installing free smoke alarms and helping residents create escape plans through our Home Fire Campaign, which has reached more than 4,000 households people in the Tennessee Region since it began in 2014.

Because of generous support, in 2018, the Red Cross in the Tennessee Region also:

Provided 14,505 services to military members, veterans and families.
Collected more than 81,245 units of blood.
Enrolled 53,498 people in lifesaving courses like first aid, CPR and AED.

California Wildfires – Red Cross Provides Help, Support to Evacuees

*Stats included in this article are as of November 16, 2018.

The American Red Cross is on the ground throughout the State of California, providing shelter, food and comfort for thousands of people forced to leave their homes due to the deadly wildfires burning in both the northern and southern parts of the state.

More than 780 Red Cross volunteers are providing help and support at evacuation centers to offer safe refuge for people impacted by these devastating fires. Overnight, more than 840 people sought refuge from the wildfires in 10 Red Cross and community evacuation centers across the state. People are welcome to come to shelters for help even if they don’t stay overnight.

Watch this video about the devastation in Paradise, California.

Working with partners, the Red Cross has served more than 40,200 meals and snacks. Volunteer mental health, health and spiritual care professionals have provided more than 9,500 contacts to provide support and care to evacuees. We’ve also distributed more than 14,400 relief items for people forced from their homes.

HOW YOU CAN HELP Entire communities and families have been left reeling from these deadly wildfires. Help people affected by the California wildfires by visiting, calling 1- 800-RED CROSS or texting the word CAWILDFIRES to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from these disasters.

Northeast Tennessee Upcoming Events - November 2018


§  All Volunteer Meetings
o   DATES:  12/04/2018; 01/03/2019; 02/05/2019; 03/07/2019; 04/02/2019; 05/02/2019
o   TIME:  5:30 PM – 7:00 PM
o   LOCATION:  Red Corss NETN Office | 660 Eastern Star Road, Kingsport, TN 37663
o   INFORMATION:  Formal invitation to all volunteers will be distributed.

§  “Donut Forget”
o   DATES:  12/14/2018; 03/08/2019; 06/14/2019
o   TIME:  8:30 AM – 11:00 AM
o   LOCATION:  Red Corss NETN Office | 660 Eastern Star Road, Kingsport, TN 37663
o   INFORMATION:  This will be an opportunity for volunteers to enjoy coffee and donuts while logging volunteer hours and catching up on any trainings.


§  Bloomingdale Christmas Parade
o   DATE: 12/08/2018
o   TIME:  9:00 AM – 11:00 AM
o   LOCATION:  Kingsport, TN
o   INFORMATION:  Volunteers needed for this event. Please email Kalen Collins ( if you are interested in volunteering.

§  Sound The Alarm, Save A Life (STASAL) Signature Event
o   DATE:  04/06/2019
o   TIME:  8:00 AM – 2:00 PM
o   LOCATION:  Washington County, TN

o   INFORMATION:  Volunteers needed for this event; installers and educators. Please email Kalen Collins ( if you are interested in volunteering.

§  12/06/2018 | 12:00 PM – 4:30 PM
o    Red Cross NETN Office | 660 Eastern Star Road, Kingsport, TN 37663

*Please sign up to donate by visiting 

Northeast Tennessee Volunteer Opportunities - November 2018

Disaster Action Team (DAT) Volunteers
o Volunteers needed to respond to single-family fires.

Clerical Volunteers
o Volunteers needed to assist with administrative tasks; including staffing the front desk, answering phone calls, and assisting with other day to day tasks.

Hero Care Network Regional Caseworker/Follow Up Volunteer
o Volunteers needed to ensure military families’ needs are met when faced with an emergency.

*If you or someone you know is interested in any of these opportunities, please contact Kalen Collins for more information (

Don’t forget to download and log your volunteer hours through the “Volunteer Connection” mobile application. This app is both Android and iOS compatible.

Northeast Tennessee Volunteer Spotlight: Jo Willems - November 2018

A Texas loss was an East Tennessee gain 14 years ago when Jo Willems moved to Johnson City from El Paso, TX.  Jo, who worked for the University of Texas in El Paso, retired and moved to Johnson City to be near her daughter and grandchildren. In that 14 years, she has certainly made East Tennessee her home!  

Jo did not stay retired long. She found part-time work at ETSU in the Media and Communication Department. She maintains student records and interviews students to ensure they meet the requirements to graduate. Jo enjoys people and helping others. She says volunteering is for her a way of life – a hobby that allows her to help others.

The Red Cross is lucky that Jo was recruited to join their volunteer ranks in 2014.  She participated in an Emergency Preparedness Fair representing the Washington County SALT Council (Seniors And Law Enforcement Together) along with numerous other groups. One of the groups she learned about was the Red Cross, and due to the recruitment efforts of Larry Nelson and Angie Minor she was “hooked.” After training Jo became a Disaster Action Team (DAT) member responding to single family fire incidents. In this role, she provides immediate response and casework for a family after a disaster incident. She also recalls conducting damage assessment and distribution of clean up supplies after a tornado in Sullivan County. She says it is wonderful to be able to provide support to victims of disasters. Jo has also been involved with the Sound the Alarm Save a Life smoke alarm installation events.
Another aspect of volunteering that Jo participates in is canteening. Her first outing was a brush fire in Carter County delivering drinks and snacks to the volunteer fire fighters.  Early one Sunday morning several years ago, a fire broke out at a lawn and garden center on Roan Mountain. She accompanied Larry Nelson and Ken Sheppard to Roan Mountain to deliver food, coffee and water to the volunteer responders. The garden center was left devastated, and unfortunately, a gentleman residing in an apartment above the business lost his life.

Jo also enjoys representing the Red Cross at events for Veterans such as birthday parties and Memorial Day Activities at the VA. She says until she became a Red Cross volunteer she did not know about the emergency communication services Red Cross provides for the Military and their families. Jo says she enjoys representing the Red Cross at community events and sharing the good done by the organization. After only a short phone conversation with Jo, it is obvious she is a great ambassador for the Red Cross!

As is often the case with involved Red Cross volunteers - they volunteer with numerous other organizations. Jo participates in fundraising activities for the American Cancer Society and Alzheimer’s Tennessee. She is on the Johnson City Senior Center Advisory Council and the Advisory Council for the First Tennessee Agency on Aging and Disability. She is also a member of the Washington County Medical Reserve Corps.

When asked what she enjoys most about volunteering, Jo responded, “I love helping people. There is a great deal of joy and satisfaction in helping people during a time of crisis.” Jo also enjoys the friendships she has made working as a Red Cross volunteer. She says if you don’t enjoy the first volunteer position you try, there is always something else you can do within the Red Cross.

Letter from Northeast Tennessee Executive Director, Kalen Collins - November 2018

Northeast TN Volunteers Step up for 2018 Hurricane Responses

The American Red Cross Northeast Tennessee Chapter opened an evacuee shelter on September 13th for families fleeing from their homes as Hurricane Florence made landfall. Volunteers and staff assisted 28 evacuees and four dogs during this time. Along with opening an evacuee shelter, the Northeast Tennessee Chapter deployed a total of eleven volunteers and staff to respond to the disaster relief efforts in the Carolinas.

On October 10th, Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle. Michael was extremely destructive, ripping apart thousands of homes and businesses in his path. The Northeast Tennessee team quickly stepped up to assist with response. Twenty-four volunteers and staff deployed to Georgia, Florida and Alabama to provide assistance with sheltering, reunification, feeding, elected and government officials, transportation, disaster assessment, health services, and much more.

Letter from Tennessee River Executive Director, Katy Hagstrom - November 2018

The 2018 Hurricane Season brought many opportunities for deployments to the Tennessee Region and the Tennessee River Chapter of the American Red Cross. On September 14, Hurricane Florence made landfall on the East Coast bringing significant flooding to several areas across the Carolina’s. On October 10, Hurricane Michael made landfall with 155 mph wind speeds on the Florida Panhandle and continued, causing substantial damage throughout Florida, Alabama, and Georgia.

The Tennessee River Chapter is proud to have deployed volunteers in many capacities of Preparedness, Response, and Recovery for both Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael. Our volunteers have served as Emergency Response Vehicle drivers, sheltering, feeding, Health Services, Casework, Distribution of Emergency Supplies, External Relations, Reunification, Disaster Services Technology, Disaster Assessment, Life Safety Asset Protection, and Transportation.

This Hurricane Season, the Tennessee River Chapter had 32 deployments and some volunteers who deployed multiple times. During their deployment, volunteers committed two or more weeks serving the mission of the American Red Cross and supporting communities devastated by Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael. We would like to personally thank each of these volunteers for their dedicated time, service, and hard work while away.

From the bottom of our hearts thank you to the following volunteers who deployed this Hurricane season:

Angela McLaughlin: ERV Driver, NC
Joey Monroe: ERV Driver, NC, LSAP, FL
Amber Hillis: Shelter worker, NC, GA
Garry Hillis: Shelter worker, NC
Don Zimmer: Shelter worker, NC
Rose Caltrider: Shelter worker, NC
Tracy Yerkey: Shelter worker, NC
Joyce Work: Shelter worker, NC
Charles Thomas: Feeding Supervisor, NC, Feeding Lead, GA
Pam Turner: Health Professionals Direct Deployment Coach
Phil Barletto: Casework Supervisor, NC
John Price: Distribution of Emergency Supplies, NC
Lisa Lohrman: Distribution of Emergency Supplies, NC, FL, ERV Driver, FL
Marvin Williams: Distribution of Emergency Supplies Supervisor, NC, FL, Transportation, FL
Jim Shaw: Health Services, NC, FL
Ed England: ERV Driver, GA
Mark Turner: ERV Driver, GA
Tami Wright: Reunification, FL
Montalilita Ruffin: Shelter worker, FL
Lee Loggins: DST, TX
Jeannie Decker: Disaster Assessment, GA
Vincent Hernandez: Disaster Assessment, FL
Alisha Perkins: Shelter worker, FL

If you would like to volunteer with the American Red Cross, please visit or call our office at 931-645-6401

Letter from Southeast Tennessee Executive Director, Julia Wright - November 2018

If you attended the 2018 Heroes Luncheon, it will come as no surprise to you the success of this year’s event.  On Tuesday, November 13th business and community leaders came together to honor local heroes at the CHI Memorial Heroes Luncheon.

Mr. James Gagliano, FBI (Ret.) Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) and CNN Law Enforcement Analyst, spoke to the crowd about his experiences including his interaction with the Red Cross though-out his career.

Each year, the American Red Cross of Southeast Tennessee honors individuals and groups for acts of great bravery, dedication and service to the community at the Heroes Luncheon, sharing the mission of the American Red Cross and raising the financial funding resources necessary to provide their core humanitarian services.  This year was no different, we honored six individuals in five categories for their service to the community:  Bill Farmer, Volunteer Hero; Brittany Harris and Colleen Ryan, Community Outreach Heroes; Chad Davis, First Responder Hero, Daniel Tomanelli, Youth Hero; Rev. Willie Kitchens, Good Samaritan Hero; and Carolyn Guerry, Humanitarian of the Year.

Thank you to everyone who made this year’s Heroes Luncheon such a success!

Letter from Mid-West Tennessee Executive Director, David Hicks - November 2018

Greetings Mid-West TN Chapter volunteers!

Last week we celebrated Veterans Day, so I want to take this opportunity to express our chapter’s sincere appreciation for all that our military veteran volunteers have done to help maintain freedom in our country. We have a deep sense of gratitude for the sacrifices each of you have made in regard to your families, friends, careers, personal goals, etc. for the sake of service to our country and the betterment of us as citizens. Please know that the American Red Cross will always feel indebted to you for allowing us the freedom to serve our communities when they are in greatest need!

I also want to take the opportunity in this article to express even more appreciation to our volunteers who deployed in response to both Hurricanes these past couple of months (Florence and Michael)! You were all strong representatives of our chapter. Our efforts proved invaluable to the assignments we were given and the communities we impacted for healing and restoration. Our participation helped assist our Tennessee Region in breaking the “200 barrier” for overall number of volunteers to respond in September and October! Heather and I couldn’t be more proud, and we know that our chapter will be even stronger in the future due to the invaluable experience we all gained in our service to communities in our neighbor states of the Carolinas, Alabama, Georgia and Florida. Go Mid-West TN chapter!!

Letter from Heart of Tennessee Executive Director, Kathy Ferrell - November 2018

Heart of Tennessee Volunteers:

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.”  John Quincy Adams

Thank you for your service and your leadership!

We have been incredibly busy in every line of service during the past month.  You continue to respond to serve our neighbors impacted by a fire; direct client assistance totaled over $18,000 during the month of October.  We welcomed special guest Lisa Marchesoni to our all-volunteer meeting and had record attendance.  Our Diversity and Inclusion Committee, BioMed Committee, and Community Outreach Committee are faithfully meeting and working to grow our base of support and make sure we are serving everyone in our communities.  Our Service to the Armed Forces volunteers continue to provide briefings, tables at events, and to prepare for a busy Holiday Mail for Heroes season.  Cynthia Tate and her team continue to meet and exceed the whole blood daily collection goal in our blood donation center.  The annual MTSU Bleeds Blue Blood Battle vs WKU was a phenomenal success, setting records and impacting the lives of over 1,800 individuals with the collection from MTSU alone.  The Heart of Tennessee Team is truly moving the Mission forward!

During this season of thankfulness, I’m truly thankful for each of you, for the gifts and talents that you so willingly share as we move our Mission forward.  Wishing you peace and time with those you love this Thanksgiving Season.

With gratitude,
Kathy Ferrell
Executive Director, Heart of Tennessee Chapter

Letter from East Tennessee Executive Director, Sharon Hudson - November 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

To our many volunteers and donors who come to us from a wide variety of backgrounds, life experiences, education, skills and personalities - Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!

Fulfilling the mission of the American Red Cross to prevent and alleviate human suffering would not be possible without your dedication and commitment.  As we prepare to celebrate the busy holiday season, we can reflect over the year’s events and the many challenges we’ve faced and offer a word of thanks and appreciation for overcoming them.

During this holiday season of giving and sharing, Red Cross volunteers, donors, and staff show their compassion by bringing hope and comfort into the lives of those who need it most.  November 27th is GIVING TUESDAY, a day that kicks off the charitable season when many focus on their holiday and end of year giving.  You can give a unique and meaningful gift to help the people we meet every 8 minutes, who have been devastated by disaster.  Your gift this holiday season can bring hope to those in need.  This year give something that means something.  #GiveWithMeaning

The American Red Cross depends on financial support to provide relief to victims of hurricanes, floods, fires and other natural disasters.  You can donate by visiting our website by calling 1-800-REDCROSS, or by texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a donation.

Thank you for your continued support and Happy Thanksgiving!