Monday, June 24, 2019

Follow these Red Cross Steps for a Safe Fourth of July Holiday

The 4th of July holiday is just around the corner and many of us will take time off to enjoy a long weekend of summer fun. The American Red Cross wants everyone to have a great holiday and offers safety steps people can follow.


The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public firework show put on by professionals. Stay at least 500 feet away from the show. Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

If you are setting fireworks off at home, follow these safety steps:

Never give fireworks to small children, and never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
Always follow the instructions on the packaging.
Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight "a dud."


Keep perishable foods in a cooler with plenty of ice or freezer gel packs. Wash your hands before preparing the food. Don’t leave food out in the hot sun. If you are going to cook on a grill, follow these steps:

Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use. Don’t add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
Never grill indoors — not in your house, camper, tent or any enclosed area.
Make sure everyone, including pets, stays away from the grill.
Keep the grill out in the open and away from the house, the deck, tree branches or anything that could catch fire. 
Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to help keep the chef safe.


Never leave children or pets in your vehicle. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees.

Stay hydrated, drink plenty of fluids. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors as they absorb the sun’s rays.
Avoid extreme temperature changes.
Slow down, stay indoors. Avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day. Postpone outdoor games and activities.
Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat. Take frequent breaks if working outdoors.
Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.


Be “water smart.” Children and adults should learn to swim so, at a minimum, they achieve the skills of water competency: be able to enter the water, get a breath, stay afloat, find an exit, swim a distance and then get out of the water safely.

Prevent unsupervised access to water. A person who is drowning has a better chance of survival if these steps are followed:

Recognize the signs of someone trouble and shout for help;
Rescue and remove the person from water without putting yourself in danger;
Call 9-1-1;
Begin rescue breathing and CPR; and
Use an AED, if available, and transfer care to advanced life support.

Here are a few more steps people can take as we approach the holiday:

Go to for water safety courses, tips and resources.
Download the free Red Cross First Aid App for instant access to information on how to treat bleeding, burns, insect bites and stings, and more.
Give blood. The number of people donating blood often drops during the summer when people are on vacation and schools are closed. Visit or download the Red Cross Blood App for more information or to schedule your donation.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Red Cross Offers 15 Summer Safety Tips for Swimming, Grilling and Attending Crowded Events

Accidents happen – learn First Aid and give blood to help those in need

The official start of summer is here, signaling the time for outdoor summer fun. The American Red Cross wants everyone to enjoy the season and offers safety tips you can follow all summer long.


Before going in, on or around the water, every family member should become “water smart.” This starts with learning to be safe, making good choices, and learning to swim to at least achieve the skills of water competency. Everyone should be able to enter the water, get a breath, stay afloat, change position, swim a distance and then get out of the water safely. A variety of water safety courses and resources are available at 

1. Prevent unsupervised access to water. Fence pools and spas with adequate barriers, keep a constant eye for any water dangers such as portable splash pools/slides, buckets, and bathtubs. 
2. Adults- actively supervise children and stay within arm’s reach of young children and new swimmers. Kids-follow the rules.
3. Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket when on a boat and if in a situation beyond someone’s skill level. 
4. Swim as a pair near a lifeguard’s chair – everyone, including experienced swimmers, should swim with a buddy in areas protected by lifeguards. Designate a ‘Water Watcher’ to keep a close eye and constant attention on children and weaker swimmers in and around the water until the next Water Watcher takes over. 
5. Download the Red Cross Swim App for kid-friendly games and activities and water safety information for parents and caregivers of young people learning how to swim. Download the app for free by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store or at


A recent Red Cross survey showed three in five adults have walked away from a grill while cooking, one of the leading causes of grilling fires which cause more than 9,000 home fires on average each year. To avoid this, the Red Cross offers these grilling safety tips:

1. Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use. Don’t add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
2. Never grill indoors – not in the house, camper, tent or any enclosed area. 
3. Make sure everyone, including pets, stays away from the grill.
4. Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.  
5. Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to help keep the chef safe.


If summer plans include places where crowds may gather, such as at an amusement park or concert, people can expect to wait in lines and possibly face extra security measures, along with getting separated from their group. The Red Cross has safety steps to follow:

1. Have a few different methods to communicate – cell phone, tablet, calling card for a landline phone. Stay with the group – don’t go off alone. All adults should have a cell phone and exchange numbers with the others in the group. Plan where to meet should someone become separated.
2. Find out what is allowed when it comes to items such as coolers, backpacks, etc. to avoid having to throw them away.
3. Dress appropriately and in layers to be ready for any change in the weather. Stay hydrated. Apply sunscreen regularly.
4. Watch the weather and seek shelter if any severe weather warnings are issued. Know where the exits and shelters are.
5. Be on the lookout for suspicious activity and don’t be afraid to report suspicious people or packages.

Accidents and Emergencies Happen
The Red Cross has several resources to help people learn how to treat bee stings, burns and heat emergencies including training courses (, a free First Aid App and a First Aid Skill for Amazon Alexa-enabled devices.

Right now, the Red Cross has a critical shortage of type O blood – the most needed blood type in the hospital. Type O negative is the universal blood type and what emergency room personal reach for in the most serious situations when there is not time to determine a patient’s blood type. Donors are encouraged to schedule a blood donation appointment today by using the Blood Donor App, by visiting, or calling 1-800-RED CROSS. Individuals can also open the Red Cross Blood skill on an Alexa-enabled device with a selection of prompts such as, “Alexa, open Red Cross Blood Skill” and ask, for example, “Alexa, find a blood drive.”

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Nashville Area Volunteer Opportunity: Volunteer Medical Screener

Want to use your medical skills and knowledge to make a difference in your community by helping save lives? Join the American Red Cross Blood Services volunteer team as a Volunteer Medical Screener! Medical experience and positive attitudes wanted to support the Red Cross mission of providing lifesaving blood to patients in need. For more information, email or call 615-788-5155.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Letter from Northeast Tennessee Executive Director, Kalen Collins - June 2019

As you know, March brought rain, rain, and more rain, but our team was ready to respond. Local volunteers sprang into action by opening five shelters and completing damage assessment in the affected areas. A team of volunteers including Naif Almutairi, Marth Farmer, Larry Nelson, Rachelle Burkert, Lynn Wright, Teresa Rhoton, Edith White deployed to Linden and Nashville, Tennessee to help our Red Cross neighbors. We operated as a cohesive unit to respond to the Tennessee Region’s flooding.

Sound the Alarm has finally wrapped up. On April 27, the Tennessee Region rallied together to install more than 2,500 alarms within the first 24-hours of the Sound the Alarm kick-off. The Northeast Tennessee team worked together to install 220 alarms and make 92 homes safer.

As the end of the fiscal year is nearing, we took time on April 30 to celebrate our amazing volunteer team. The Northeast Tennessee group gathered at Laurel Run Park to enjoy an afternoon of Chick-Fil-A and ice cream. We took a break to say thank you for all the hard work our volunteers have completed this year. You all truly keep this organization going. Thank you for carrying out the Red Cross mission daily. 

Northeast Tennessee Volunteer Corner - June 2019


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

Service to Armed Forces (SAF) Volunteers
Volunteers need to represent the Red Cross at community events, deliver birthday and holiday cards, assist with other military events as needed.

Hero Care Network Regional Caseworker/Follow Up Volunteer
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 at


Red Cross for Dummies
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 a.m.
Red Cross NETN Office | 660 Eastern Star Road, Kingsport, TN 37663
Please contact Dawn Day for more information or to RSVP at


Annual Meeting
5:30 p.m. - 7:00  p.m.
Red Cross NETN Office | 660 Eastern Star Road, Kingsport, TN 37663
Formal invitation to all volunteers will be distributed. Please note that the meeting for January has changed to noon.

 “Donut Forget”
8:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Red Cross NETN Office | 660 Eastern Star Road, Kingsport, TN 37663
This will be an opportunity for volunteers to enjoy coffee and donuts while logging volunteer hours and catching up on any training.


Free Dental Clinic
06/20/2019 and 06/21/2019
Time to be decided.
Johnson County, Tennessee
 Please email Kaarina Hill ( if you are interested in participating.

Grainger County Tomato Festival
Noon - 6 p.m.
7480 Rutledge Pike, Rutledge, TN 37816
Please email Kaarina Hill ( if you are interested in participating.

Taste of Tusculum
Tusculum University – 60 Shiloh Road, Greeneville, TN 37743
Please email Kaarina Hill ( if you are interested in participating.

Nettie Day of Service
Tusculum University – 60 Shiloh Road, Greeneville, TN 37743
Please email Kaarina Hill ( if you are interested in participating.

Animal Shelter Information Event
Johnson County, Tennessee
 Please email Kaarina Hill ( if you are interested in participating.


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

Northeast Tennessee Volunteer Spotlight: Jackie and Tony Hewitt - June 2019

Most of you have visited our local chapter off I-26 in Kingsport. What you may not know is the role two of our dedicated leadership volunteers played in our first location on Wilcox Drive, and then with our current location on Eastern Star Road! 

Meet Jackie and Tony Hewitt.

When Tony arrived in Kingsport in 1999 as director of commercial development and community relations for Holston Army Ammunition Plant, he found that he was the landlord for the Red Cross Chapter on Wilcox Drive. It was time to renegotiate the 50-year lease so Tony got to know the chapter well. He became a financial contributor and participated in what he calls, “one of the best charity golf tournaments in the Tri-Cities.” 

Due to the age of the Wilcox Drive building (built during World War II for temporary use), it became necessary for the local Red Cross chapter to move. This brought forth the second half of the Hewitt team. Jackie Hewitt became acquainted with the Red Cross through her work. For 17 years she has been a Commercial Realtor for TCI Group Jerry Petzoldt Agency LLC. The National Red Cross engaged the Pentzoldt Firm to search for a new location for our chapter. As a result, Jackie was instrumental in helping find our current location. She became a volunteer in 2013. 

Jackie says she got to know Glenda and the team and found them so welcoming and friendly she felt drawn to helping and became a Red Cross volunteer. “I was asked to be a Board Member and became involved in helping with fire alarm installations, Run for the Red, and the humanitarian breakfast,” she said. “I enjoy all the volunteer events because of the camaraderie. Some jobs are harder work than others, but I always feel I am helping make a difference in someone's life, and that is very fulfilling."

Tony says as he moved towards retirement in 2016, Jackie invited him to an all-volunteer meeting where the volunteers, recently returned from the Gatlinburg fires, shared their experiences. “I was so impressed with their stories and thought I could do that,” he added. “Soon after the meeting, I rekindled my friendship with Glenda, and ‘the rest is history’ as they say. Until that meeting in 2016, I don’t think I had any appreciation of how much the Red Cross does.”

“I had heady visions of deployment and helping disaster victims; but a cancer diagnosis in early 2017 put a stop to deploying. Though I am now healthy, 12-hour shifts and medications makes me a potential liability rather than a help. I started assisting on local fire calls and installing smoke alarms. I have also done local disaster damage assessment. In July 2018 I took responsibility for the Home Fire Safety Program (smoke alarms) and find it is a most rewarding activity. Lifting people’s spirits and making them feel safer by putting fire detection in their homes must be one of the better jobs and I love the people we meet.”

The Hewitts do have a life outside their Red Cross volunteer work. Tony is on the golf course when the weather is good, and when the weather is bad he is at home reading or doing his duties as a “house husband.” Jackie continues her work as a commercial realtor. In her spare time she takes exercise classes at the YMCA, knits, takes quilting classes and enjoys cooking. 

When asked how they feel about being Red Cross volunteers, Tony stated, “Getting involved with the Red Cross is rewarding in so many ways, from the care and kindness that is shown to others and the gratitude that comes back to us, the friendships you make with like-minded people and with every meeting there is food!” Jackie commented, “I would encourage anyone to go to the Red Cross who is looking for a rewarding volunteer opportunity. The staff and all the volunteers are so helpful and grateful for all you do, I have never been a part of a non-profit where I felt more valued.”

The local Red Cross is so pleased to have the Hewitts as a part of the Red Cross family. They played significant roles in the history of our location, but primarily for their role in the continuing work in support of the Red Cross mission. Sometimes volunteers walk in the door asking to volunteer. Other times, they walk in the door in a professional capacity and unexpectedly turn into committed volunteer leaders.   

There is always a need for additional volunteers with the local Red Cross. You can work in a variety of positions. Training is available for disaster and non-disaster positions. For more information on volunteering and training visit If you are a current volunteer, and would like additional information please contact Angela Morris by calling 423-765-4218 or emailing her at

Friday, May 31, 2019

East Tennessee Volunteer Spotlight, Marilyn Rasmussen - June 2019

Marilyn Rasmussen was recognized for excellence as a Service to Armed Forces (SAF) team leader during the American Red Cross Southeast and Caribbean Division meeting. Rasmussen and the Tennessee Region SAF team took on the North Florida Region’s casework load while the state recovered from Hurricane Michael. The storm severely impacted Tyndall Air Force Base, located near Panama City, Florida resulting in an acute need for SAF response. Because Tennessee Region volunteers accepted the challenge, SAF service delivery continued without interruption and thousands of families received much needed assistance.

Rasmussen, an Atlanta native, worked for GE as an administrator, eventually assigned to the vice president of major appliances where she created and delivered intern orientation classes. In addition to her career with GE, Rasmussen served in the office of Mayor Amato of Lexington, Kentucky, operated her own business, and worked as a medical transcriber. She relocated from Georgia to Kentucky, and Indiana for husband, Ken’s, career, before settling in Knoxville, Tennessee.

No stranger to volunteering, Rasmussen has bestowed her gift of time to several agencies including the Atlanta Police Department, church leadership, and served Cub Scout Den Leader for 8 years, before joining the Red Cross during Hurricane Katrina. In addition to SAF, she has held positions as a DAT Captain, CAS administrator, Disaster and Volunteer Connection Instructor, Ham Radio operator, Fire Safety House team, and First Aid Station Team at University of Tennessee sporting events. Rasmussen began volunteering with SAF in 2014 and advanced to Lead Caseworker and Trainer and EDGE Administrator for the Tennessee Region.

Rasmussen says that she encourages others to volunteer and investigate, like she has, different lines of service and the multiple opportunities to help others offered by the Red Cross. “I tell new volunteers the number one requirement (to be a volunteer) is heart and compassion,” Rasmussen said. “You can make a difference. Believe me when I say that volunteering with the Red Cross is a humbling, yet emotionally rewarding experience.”

Letter from East Tennessee Executive Director, Sharon Hudson - June 2019

Thank you to the volunteers and staff who made our second annual Sound the Alarm, Save a Life event a huge success. Our team of over 150 volunteers and staff worked together in the West Hills Neighborhood and the Amherst Mobile Home Park to install smoke alarms to make our community safer.

Our Honorary Chair, Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs, kicked off the event and joined our Tiffany Circle team to install smoke alarms. Homeowner Donnie Ernst was thrilled when the Mayor showed up to install smoke alarms in his home. We also received thank you notes from neighbors the following week and checks from homeowners to show their appreciation. Once again, fulfilling our mission through mobilizing the power of our volunteers and the generosity of donors. 

Thank you again for your time to make this event a success!

Please also mark your calendar for our Annual Meeting on June 6, 2019 at 4 p.m. at the East Tennessee Chapter. We will have a brief meeting to share news, our upcoming board roster, and recognize volunteers with service anniversary pins. Food and refreshments will be served. 

 Pictured from left:  Lisa Daisey, Shelby and Matt Ooten

Pictured from left:  Rob Petrone and Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs

Pictured from left: Mayor Jacobs, Rob Petrone, Christy Phillips, John Smith, Sharon Hudson, Tonya Roth, Becky Thompson, Joe Thompson, Madeline Thompson

Letter from Heart of Tennessee Executive Director, Kathy Ferrell - June 2019

Heart of Tennessee Volunteers:

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” William Shakespeare

This quote resonated with me this week. I do believe that we are incredibly fortunate to find our gifts and even more fortunate to share those gifts with others. This is what you collectively do at the American Red Cross, but also in so many other areas of your lives. You so generously share your most precious asset with us: your time.   

Our annual Sound the Alarm, Save a Life event was incredibly successful! Many of you, along with Rutherford County Health Department, First Baptist Church, LifePoint Church, and the Town of Smyrna, installed 287 smoke alarms and made 110 homes safer. What an incredible day to see so many individuals in the community serving together! 

The Battle of the Badges is complete and Law Enforcement won! 149 units were collected, impacting 447 lives. Thank you for rolling up your sleeves to donate, for taking the time to work registration and canteening, and for making sure your neighbors are aware of this event and had the opportunity to participate.

We had incredible volunteer and board engagement for our Military Kids Serve Too event. Children of military members and veterans were celebrated for their sacrifice. Major General Tommy Baker presented each child with a special event coin and thanked them for their service. The Discovery Center at Murfree Springs graciously closed the museum for our event, allowing the families full use of the facility. Tennessee Event Specialists donated a bounce house, and multiple board members donated food and drinks. The American Red Cross was born on the battlefield and we have served our military members continuously for 138 years. I’m so proud to continue that legacy of service alongside each of you.

Finally, we have much to celebrate at our Annual Meeting. Please plan to join us on Wednesday, June 19 at 11:30 a.m. at the Heart of Tennessee Chapter office. We will present a Certificate of Merit to a young woman who used her Red Cross training to save a life! In addition, we will recognize Oakland High School for leading the entire state of Tennessee in high school blood drive collections. This is a great opportunity to fellowship and celebrate what we have accomplished in fiscal year 2019, and to share areas of focus and goals for fiscal year 2020.

Thank you for helping move our mission forward. 

With gratitude,

Kathy Ferrell
Executive Director, Heart of Tennessee Chapter

Southeast Tennessee Volunteer Opportunities - Help Wanted! June 2019

Front Desk Receptionist
Organized and dependable person with excellent phone and communication skills needed to work at the local Southeast Tennessee chapter in Chattanooga. Job duties include greeting guests, providing general information to staff, volunteers, clients and the public. Answering phone, taking messages, and transferring calls. Positive attitude a must.

Duty Officer
Organized and dependable person with excellent phone and communication skills needed to work with our disaster response teams to relay critical information to ensure timely delivery of Red Cross services.   

Volunteer Services Recruitment
Outgoing, dependable person with excellent communication skills. This position would be responsible for implementing the volunteer recruitment strategy in coordination with the Volunteer Specialist. Job duties include building a recruiting team, serve as a subject matter expert on volunteer recruitment, and develop a recruitment network of internal and external partners. Enthusiastic about Red Cross mission and programs a must.

Letter from Southeast Tennessee Executive Director, Julia Wright - June 2019

One of my very favorite proverbs is “many hands make light work.” This could not be truer when talking about our great team of volunteers and staff who worked together across the state and more specifically in our local community to install a goal of 3,400 smoke alarms for Sound the Alarm, Save a Life between April 27- May 12. In Southeast Tennessee, we exceeded that goal to install 269 alarms in the Orchard Knob community in one single day- April 27.

This year was a great success and our volunteers really did the “heavy lifting” to make sure we visited every family possible in the neighborhood. One of my favorite stories of the day was when one elderly resident indicated she woke up at 7 a.m. to make sure she didn’t miss us. Ms. Green said, “I can’t believe you come out on a Saturday morning just to help me. I can’t thank you enough.” I couldn’t agree with Ms. Green more, I also cannot thank you enough!

On April 28, our military families joined together for our third Military Kids Serve Too! event at the Creative Discovery Museum in Chattanooga. Commander Joey Tanner presented challenge coins to our youngest heroes. Thanks to the Service to Armed Forces volunteers that organized and worked the event to make it a success once again. 

With Memorial Day just behind us, summer is well on its way and so is a busy schedule of events.  On June 18, we will be celebrating our chapter’s 101st year with our annual meeting and volunteer celebration luncheon. I hope you will be able to attend. Don’t forget, July is our annual summer volunteer picnic as well.

I wish everyone a fun and safe summer.

Letter from Mid-West Tennessee Executive Director, David Hicks - June 2019

Happy June to all the Mid-West Tennessee chapter volunteers! I hope this newsletter finds all of you well and you’re ready to get the summer jump started!

I want to take a moment to look back at our Sound the Alarm event which we hosted on Saturday, April 27 in Haywood County. It was a tremendous success with us installing more than 220 smoke alarms and making over 90 homes safer. The partnership we shared with the Brownsville/Haywood County Fire Department was tremendous and they couldn’t have been better in assisting us with the tools and equipment (not to mention the fire trucks). We were also given major assistance by the Haywood County Mayor, William Rawls, and the Community Outreach Director, Shalondria Shaw. 

We’re also indebted to the Brownsville radio station 95.3 for their tireless promotion of the event and allowing me to be a guest on two different shows on two different days to help rally the community and increase the awareness and response. Many thanks to each one of you in the Haywood County community. We will be joining forces again in the future for the good of your community!

On Thursday, May 16, we held our sixth annual Heroes Luncheon at the Carl Grant Events Center on the campus of Union University. The following heroes were recognized: 

Volunteer of the Year - Sarah Rice (Hardeman County) 

Distinguished Service - Valerie and Dick Bates (Henry County) 

Humanitarian of the Year - Amy Crenshaw (Madison County) 

Uniformed Hero of the Year - Zachary Pruitt (Madison County) 

If you happen to know these recipients, please take the time to acknowledge and congratulate them on their recognition and service to the American Red Cross!

Final Letter from Tennessee River Executive Director, Katy Hagstrom – June 2019

On April 27, we kicked off our second annual Sound the Alarm Campaign in Dickson and Montgomery counties. It was a successful day with over 50 volunteers installing 300 smoke alarms and making 199 homes safer. In Clarksville, we also recognized Cynthia and Joe Pitts as our 2019 Humanitarians of the Year. Cynthia and Joe have been great advocates for the American Red Cross in the Clarksville community and embody the seven fundamental principles of the American Red Cross: humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. With their most recent work with diversity and inclusion, giving every community a voice, it was a natural fit for the award. A special thanks to Cynthia and Joe for the inspirational work you continue to do in the Clarksville community. 

It is with a heavy heart and mixed emotions that May 17 will be my last day with the Tennessee River Chapter as the Executive Director. The Tennessee River and Tennessee Region community has become a family to me and stepping away is very difficult. I am going to miss the challenges we all face together and the comradery of the team to get through those challenges. I never like to say goodbye, so until next time, I wish you all nothing but the best! Thank you for teaching me the power of the Red Cross mission. It has been the greatest pleasure serving alongside you all. 

Why I Help – Feli Propes


By Sharon J. Alfred, Red Cross Volunteer, Senior Journalist

Feli Propes, American Red Cross of Nashville Area Chapter, Nashville, TN

Feli Propes resolved a problem.  She wanted to be a large volume blood donor for the American Red Cross but certain things prevented her from doing so. She wrestled with the question of how to find another way to help her community through a Red Cross activity.  So how did she solve her problem?  She decided to volunteer for the Red Cross’ Home Fire Campaign (HFC).

Propes became deeply involved in the campaign.  Now, she is a vital part of the HFC’s Disaster Action Team (DAT) with the Nashville Area Chapter.  And, she has a wonderful team of Red Cross supervisors: DAT supervisor Catherine Goodrich, Disaster Program Specialist Zachary Stokes, and Disaster Program Supervisor Kevin Watt.

At an HFC Sound the Alarm home visit, teams of three are typically formed - team leader, educator and/or documenter. Propes usually takes on the educator role. As the educator, she reviews the fire safety checklist, explains the functions of smoke alarms, and emphasizes the importance of making and practicing escape plans to the homeowners.

No doubt about it. Propes’ involvement with the Home Fire Campaign allows her to prompt others to take a preemptive strike against having a home fire.  She said, “I strongly empathize with those who suffer. I also believe resilience and survival instincts are human nature.” Propes wholeheartedly believes in the Red Cross’ mission to alleviate the suffering of disaster-stricken victims, remarking that “with firm and organized advocacy and assistance, their recovery is [greatly] assured.”

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Nashville Area Volunteer Corner - June 2019

Volunteer Hours
Please get your volunteer hours submitted by the end of the fiscal year, June 28.

Volunteer Opportunities
Disaster Action Team(DAT) Members - Looking for duty/dispatch officers and disaster responders to assist after home fires.
Blood Transportation Specialists - Drive blood to local hospitals. Two shifts per month required (four hours each).
Business Operations Team Members - Work on administrative projects and answer and route phone calls.
Volunteer Services Intake Volunteers -Talk with prospective volunteers and help them get placed in the correct line of service.

Nashville Area Red Cross Volunteer Services Contacts
Nancy Pace,
Marlene Sweda,-

Nashville Area Volunteer Spotlight: Cindy Manley - June 2019

Cindy Manley’s involvement with the American Red Cross has extended through several positions where she has dedicated so much of her time ton serving her community in times of need. Cindy moved to Nashville three years ago to be closer to family. She had a varied career providing her with knowledge, many wonderful experiences, and skills she could bring to the Red Cross mission. Cindy still works, but freely gives her time to the Red Cross. She loves being with her grandchildren, so when she’s not at work or volunteering with the Red Cross, one can be certain she is with them.

Cindy’s Red Cross volunteer career began after her move to Nashville. Her first deployment was to Hurricane Katrina where she did mostly logistics, bringing her years of expertise from vocations including law, accounting and starting up a small business. Since then Cindy has deployed but mostly stayed in the Nashville area where she continues serving the community with her talents and hard work. She typically works in volunteer engagement where she engages with new volunteers once they have been recruited and retains these volunteers to provide much needed help to people during times of disasters.

She loves to see people being connected to the work they are passionate about. “When this happens, people feel as if they are not working,” she said. “They become more engaged with their work and not only find it satisfying but meaningful.”

Cindy’s advice for a new volunteer is, “Be persistent until you find the work you will be passionate about. There are so many opportunities a position can be found for every person. Keep an open mind when looking.”

Cindy’s smiling and kind demeanor while engaging new volunteers makes each one feel welcomed, and in turn, they have a mentor and friend to help them through the onboarding process. Thanks to people like Cindy, the Red Cross can continue the mission of serving those in need.

Red Cross Honors East Tennessee Volunteer Mary Franklin

Dr. Dai and team teaching CPR/AED training in March.
Where has East Tennessee Red Cross volunteer Mary Franklin been lately? In December, she traveled to Hanoi, Vietnam, as one of five instructor trainers to train nurses and doctors in basic life support skills and instructor skills at the Bach Mai Hospital. Overcoming equipment issues (AEDs got stuck in customs), lack of AV equipment, lack of floor space, more students than originally anticipated, and various degrees of fluency in English, the team trained 35 people in the basic course and 32 people as instructors. In mid-April, these young instructors trained all internal medicine residents in the teaching hospital. The American Red Cross is working with the Vietnamese Red Cross to see how this training can be expanded to other areas of the country. This could prompt a return trip to the country for more training.

The last week of March, Mary was in Washington, D.C., for the National Awards and Recognition Dinner, where she was recognized as the Outstanding Volunteer in Training Services. She received her award from Jack McMaster, President for Training Services, and Gail McGovern, President and CEO of the American Red Cross.  When talking about Mary’s love of training others, Jack made note of her use of googly eyes to emphasize to instructor trainer candidates the need for them to use their observational skills and to have participants put their eyes on the information in their books. Mary has been a volunteer for almost 44 years and an instructor trainer for 34 of those years. She is also an advanced master instructor for volunteer Services and a chapter board member.

Awards ceremony with Gail McGovern, Mary Franklin, and Jack McMaster.

The Presidential Award for Excellence is presented to an individual or group of American Red Cross employees or volunteers who demonstrate exceptional performance or service in support of the American Red Cross delivering on its multi-faceted mission. Nominees actions must go beyond meeting organizational goals and expectations and be exemplary of the highest level of commitment to Red Cross values and the execution of superior services and performance that made an extraordinary contribution toward the successful delivery of the Red Cross mission.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Regional Executive Corner with Joel R. Sullivan - June 2019

Backyard BBQs, Beach Time, and Blood Donation 

As we enter summer 2019, it is time to relax and enjoy longer days and beautiful, warm Tennessee nights. For most, this is the time of the year to make memories and travel with family to enjoy a little rest and relaxation.

Summer is also a prime time to consider giving blood at your local Red Cross. Blood banks across the nation experience a dramatic decline in donations during summer months. Many people are traveling on vacation during this time of year, or busy with outdoor projects, and that means fewer people attending blood drives.

That’s why donating right now is so important!

Here are some facts to consider about summer blood donation:

1. It takes just one hour to make a simple donation. Plus, you can schedule your appointment through the Red Cross blood donation app.
2. One pint of blood can save three lives.
3. Every two seconds in America, someone needs blood.
4. Thirty-seven percent of Americans are eligible to give blood, but only 10 percent do.

Typically, the months of June through August are always critically low months for our blood donations. I ask you to please remember, the need for blood and platelets never takes a holiday in our community. We need you to roll up your sleeves, come in from the heat, and take some time to enjoy the cool air-conditioning in our donation center and donate blood to help save lives. The sunshine will wait, but lives cannot.

If you would like to schedule your donation by phone, please call 1-800-RED-CROSS, or visit our website at

Thursday, February 28, 2019

14 Tips for Staying Safe When Returning Home After Flooding

American Red Cross Urges Residents to Take Caution As They Re-Enter the Flood Zone

In some areas, flood waters are starting to recede and people are starting to return to their homes. The American Red Cross urges safety and encourages people in affected areas to follow the advice of local authorities. If evacuated, return only when authorities indicate it is safe to do so.

Red Cross Disaster Assessment team member Tami Wright hands Bridgett Rushing, left, and Jennifer Claxton gloves at a home damaged by flooding, Monday, Feb. 25, 2019, in Waverly, Tenn. Photo Credit: Wade Payne/American Red Cross

Here are a few important Red Cross safety steps to follow when returning home after the flood:

1. Keep children and pets away from hazardous sites and floodwater. Leave children with a relative or friend while you conduct your first inspection of your home. The site may be unsafe, and seeing the damage firsthand may upset them even more and cause long-term effects.

2. Check the outside of your home before you enter. Look for loose power lines, broken or damaged gas lines, foundation cracks, missing support beams or other damage. If power lines are down outside your home, do not step in puddles or standing water. Report them immediately to the power company.

3. Do not cut or walk past colored tape that was placed over doors or windows to mark damaged areas unless you have been told that it is safe to do so.

4. Take pictures of home damage, both of the structure and contents, for insurance purposes.

5. If power is out, use a flashlight. Do not use any open flame, including candles.

6. Sniff for gas. If you detect natural or propane gas, or hear a hissing noise, leave the property immediately and get far away from it. Call the fire department after you reach safety.

7. If you have a propane tank system, turn off all valves and contact a propane supplier to check the system before using.

8. Wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots, and be cautious when cleaning up.

9. Throw away items that absorb water and cannot be cleaned or disinfected. This includes mattresses, carpeting, and toys.

10. Throw away food, beverages and medicine exposed to flood waters and mud.

11. If any gas or electrical appliances were flooded, don’t use them until they have been checked for safety.

12. Pump out flooded basements gradually (about one-third of the water per day) to avoid structural damage. If the water is pumped out completely in a short period of time, pressure from water-saturated soil on the outside could cause basement walls to collapse.

13. Is your ceiling sagging? That means it got wet – which makes it heavy and dangerous. It will have to be replaced, so you can try to knock it down. Be careful: wear eye protection and a hard hat, use a long stick, and stand away from the damaged area. Poke holes in the ceiling starting from the outside of the bulge to let any water drain out slowly. Striking the center of the damaged area may cause the whole ceiling to collapse.

14. Is the floor sagging? It could collapse under your weight, so don’t walk there! Small sections that are sagging can be bridged by thick plywood panels or thick, strong boards that extend at least 8–12 inches on each side of the sagging area.

Additional information on flood safety can be found on

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Letter from Northeast Tennessee Executive Director, Kalen Collins - Feburary 2019

Kalen Collins, Executive Director

Chapter Happenings 

ERV Celebration of Life Party
On January 17, 2019, the Northeast Tennessee team gathered to celebrate the life of our beloved Emergency Response Vehicle #2123. Everyone took the time to share their fond memories of canteening, deploying, feeding and so much more with the ERV. Although we are sad to see 2123 go, we know that she is on to a better place.


Valentine’s Tree
With their creativity, Angela Morris and Glenna Finco joined together to create our Valentine’s Day tree! “American Red Cross Volunteers don’t have more time they just have more heart!” Don’t forget to drop by and grab your Valentine’s Day treat from the tree!

Service to Armed Forces Spreading the Love
On January 30, 2019, the Northeast TN Service to the Armed Forces Team gathered for their first kick-off meeting 2019. Updates and new activities were shared, and the team gathered to make Valentine’s for Veterans! Many exciting things are happening for this line of service. If you are wanting to learn more about SAF, please contact SAF Lead, Greg White (

Local Response
Responding to local home fires isn’t an unfamiliar area for Teresa Rhoton and Gene Egan. On January 30th, national dispatch reported a fire in the Northeast Tennessee area. After receiving the wrong address, they were finally able to locate the affected home. Once they were in the correct location, they also made certain to confirm the problem to validate that we could respond. Teresa and Gene went beyond the call of duty to ensure that our client was safe, by having lodging, clothing and food. Thank you, Teresa and Gene, for going above and beyond to serve the American Red Cross mission!

Northeast Tennessee: Volunteer and Training Opportunities - February 2019


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

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

Service to Armed Forces (SAF) Volunteers
Volunteers need to represent the Red Cross at community events, deliver birthday and holiday cards, assist with other military events as needed.

Hero Care Network Regional Caseworker/Follow Up Volunteer
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 (


Introduction to Mapping Class
DATE:  02/11/2019
TIME:  10:00 AM
LOCATION: Red Cross NETN Office | 660 Eastern Star Road, Kingsport, TN 37663
INFORMATION:  Please contact Dawn Day for more information or to RSVP (

Integrated Care & Condolence Training
DATE: 02/15/2019
TIME:  12:00 PM-4:00 PM
LOCATION:  Knoxville, TN
INFORMATION: Please contact Dawn Day for more information or to RSVP (

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

Northeast Tennessee: Upcoming Dates - February 2019


All Volunteer Meeting
DATES:  03/14/2019; 04/04/2019; 05/02/2019
TIME:  12:00 PM-1:30 PM
LOCATION:  Red Cross NETN Office | 660 Eastern Star Road, Kingsport, TN 37663
INFORMATION:  Formal invitation to all volunteers will be distributed. Please note that the meeting for January has changed to 12:00 PM.

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


Color For A Cause
DATE:  03/12/2019
TIME:  5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
LOCATION:  Fort Henry Mall – 2101 Fort Henry Drive, Kingsport, TN 37664

Sound The Alarm, Save A Life. Signature Event
DATE:  04/27/2019
TIME:  8:00 AM – 2:00 PM
LOCATION:  Washington County, TN
INFORMATION:  Volunteers needed for this event; installers and educators. Please email Kalen Collins ( if you are interested in participating.

Sound The Alarm, Save A Life. Signature Event
ATE:  05/02/2019
LOCATION:  Appointment Based Installs
INFORMATION:  Volunteers needed; installers and educators. Please email Kalen Collins ( if you are interested in participating.


02/14/2019 | 11:45 AM – 4:15 PM
University School | 68 Martha Culp Avenue, Johnson City, TN 37614
*Please sign up to donate at

Northeast Tennessee Volunteer Spotlight: Kathy Christian - February 2019

When asked what she does as a volunteer for the Red Cross, Kathy stated, “My mother always told me I was a great ‘Jack of all Trades’ – I guess that is what I do best for the Red Cross!” Kathy, who lives in Hawkins County, took disaster training around 10 years ago, when the office building was located on Wilcox. She was not able to begin volunteering right away, but several years later when there was a storm in Greene County she got her chance. She was working as an administrative assistant in the Greene County Red Cross office and was able to put her disaster training to work.

What does Kathy do as a volunteer? She indeed serves in a variety of capacities – on the Disaster Action Team responding to home fires, helping to obtain agreements for obtaining food from businesses during disasters, working in shelters, driving the Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) and volunteering in Disaster Spiritual Care.

Kathy has a husband, three children, four grandchildren, and one great grandchild. Kathy works with James Capital Management, the Kitchen of Hope, and in an administrative role with the Church Hill Medical Mission. Currently she is very busy with these positions and caring for her husband who has some temporary medical needs. Since she cannot volunteer as often as she would like, Kathy has recruited one of her daughters to respond to fire calls. Recruiting new volunteers is a vital role for current volunteers!

When Kathy was asked what advice she would give to new volunteers, she replied, “be open and willing to do anything. Be flexible, be a team player, and SMILE!" That is how Kathy qualified to be a “jack of all trades!”

There is always a need for additional volunteers with the local Red Cross. You can work in a variety of positions. Training is available for disaster and non-disaster positions. For more information on volunteering and training visit If you are a current volunteer, and would like additional information please contact Angela Morris by calling 423-765-4218 or emailing her at

East Tennessee Volunteer Spotlight: Tom Steury - February 2019

Tom Steury moved from Denver, Colorado to Knoxville, Tennessee to be close to family.  Tom jumped in head first as a volunteer and is our Volunteer Services Engagement Lead for the East Tennessee Chapter.  Tom is working on how to convey the Net Promoter Scores (NPS) and what it means to the volunteer and the chapter.  Tom and the engagement team will call volunteers around their anniversary time with the Red Cross and discuss NPS and its value.  Tom also works with IT in the Chapter and supports the front desk staff.  Tom enjoys spending time with his wife and three sons, collecting coins and stamps, and volunteering in the community. Thank you Tom!

What is your favorite word?

If you could try a profession that isn’t a current or past job, what would it be?

Other than East TN, where would you like to live and why?
Costa Rica, the weather is very nice with no hurricanes and the people are friendly.

What natural gift or talent do you wish you had?
Basketball skills: dribbling, shooting, rebounding

Who is your favorite musician?
The Beatles, Kenny G

What historical figure would you most like to meet and why?
Abraham Lincoln, I would like to understand the tribulations and how he came by his decisions with regard to the Civil War

What is your favorite color?

What do you love about volunteering at the Red Cross of East TN?
Opportunity to lead, meet new people, feel appreciated

Letter from East Tennessee Executive Director, Sharon Hudson - February 2019

Every day we rely on the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors to fulfill our mission. We recently received a mint condition donation of a Canteen Lady uniform and cap from the 1950s.

The American Red Cross Canteen has been providing service to the Armed Forces since its founding in 1917. The warm and friendly atmosphere of the canteen provisioned by the dedicated volunteer Canteen Ladies who staffed the facility, made it a home-away- from-home for the service men and women who frequented the commissary. The Canteen Ladies gave support and comfort to members of the armed forces and their families.

In December 2018, the daughter of a former Canteen Lady, Ms. Karen S. Johnson, donated the uniform and cap, including name tag and badges, worn by her mother Mrs. Evelyn “Sunny” Shaffer who served at the canteen in Scarsdale, NY from 1955-1959, to the East Tennessee chapter of the Red Cross in Knoxville, Tennessee.  In addition to helping active members of the armed forces at the canteen, Mrs. Shaffer also worked with retired service men and women, as well as actively recruited new volunteers for the Red Cross. We celebrate Mrs. Shaffer’s dedication and volunteer spirit.

Mrs. Shaffer’s uniform is currently on display at the Knoxville office along with two other uniforms that have been acquired from other volunteers. The staff of the East Tennessee chapter would like to thank Ms. Johnson for this very personal donation.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Letter from Southeast Tennessee Executive Director, Julia Wright - February 2019

January is the month of adjustment; some breathing deep time to get a grip on going forward in a new year. February starts putting it all into action. The first emphasis of this month is the heart. Hugs, kisses, flowers, things wrapped in red bows and boxes.

For the Southeast Tennessee chapter of the Red Cross, this is all translated into appreciation for engagement. As with all resolutions, there is no effective result without follow-through. Our volunteers reward us when the call goes out. They reward themselves in every effort they make for our Red Cross by being educated, informed and knowing their best place in the response team.

Our mission this month is to renew existing commitments and make new ones. I encourage our volunteers to learn something you don't know or brush up on the things you've already learned. The word UPDATE is used in almost every area of our lives in this time. This is one more very important place it applies to everything we do.

Find opportunities in online courses on EDGE, take a training class at the chapter, sign up for a disaster relief shift, learn more about other departments at Red Cross, or take a life-saving CPR course. Volunteer to serve where you previously have not.

Above all, recruit your friends, family members and co-workers to volunteer. Renew your engagement in this month of hearts.

Letter from Mid-West Tennessee Executive Director, David Hicks - February 2019

Happy February to all the Mid-West Tennessee chapter volunteers! I hope this newsletter article finds you well and you’re all having a good start to 2019. We’re especially thankful for our new volunteers who joined us back in January during our chapter recruiting push! I’ve enjoyed getting to know many of you. It’s been a pleasure to hear your background stories and what events led to you becoming members of the American Red Cross through our local chapter. You each bring numerous skills and resources to our chapter that we’ll be able to utilize in the months and years to come. I can’t wait to see what chapter accomplishments await us in the coming months that are a direct result of our newest volunteer recruits.

Speaking of new volunteers, we have been so fortunate to have three women serve as the front desk coverage for our chapter over the last several months. Pam Shumate has been a fixture for us for almost two years now and then were blessed to have Murla Williams join us for a few months. A new part-time job came calling for her and, although we grieved to see Murla leave, we knew the part-time opportunity was too good for her to pass up. And, how could we have ever known that another quality volunteer, Deborah Taylor, was waiting in the wings to join our team and help relieve our loss of Murla?

If you haven’t already had the chance to do so, please take a moment to drop by the office and welcome Deborah to our office team! She covers the front desk for us on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of each week and Pam still serves the chapter in that role every Thursday and Friday. They’re not only willing to be the voice and hostesses of our chapter office but they help make sure the chapter birthday and anniversary cards are distributed each month, assist me and Heather with various assignments, and even clean up the chapter building on occasion to make sure it’s presentable to the community and fellow volunteers during visits! To say we’re lucky to have them doesn’t event do it justice.

Letter from Heart of Tennessee Executive Director, Kathy Ferrell - February 2019

Heart of Tennessee Volunteers:

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”  William Shakespeare

This quote resonated with me this week. I do believe that we are incredibly fortunate to find our gifts and even more fortunate to share those gifts with others. This is what you collectively do with the American Red Cross, but also in so many other areas of your lives. You so generously share your most precious asset with us: your time. You roll up your sleeves and donate blood, giving the gift of life to our neighbors. You share your time to respond to serve our neighbors impacted by a disaster. You staff our front desk, making every person that enters our building feel engaged and comfortable. You help maintain our fleet. You assist us with events and record keeping. You walk in the front door and ask what you can do today to help the staff. I hope you know that we could not move our mission forward without each of you and the time you invest in this chapter.

With gratitude,
Kathy Ferrell

Executive Director, Heart of Tennessee Chapter

Letter from Tennessee River Executive Director, Katy Hagstrom - February 2019

Tennessee River volunteers,

I want to thank you for your incredible show of dedication and support thus far in 2019. It has been a busy start to the year and it is because of your selfless dedication that we have been able to continue to support our communities in times of need.

In terms of disaster response, our chapter opened 34 cases in January and as of February 6, 11 cases have already been opened in the month of February. That is a total of 45 cases in 37 days. From those cases, there have been several astounding stories in which clients expressed that without being alerted by their smoke alarm, they wouldn’t have made it out of their home. For that reason, I would like to encourage all of you as Red Cross representatives to talk with your family and friends about the importance of fire safety; having alarms, creating a fire escape route, having a meeting location, and practicing fire safety habits in their home.

Although it has been a busy season, we have many opportunities for training this month:

Disaster Action Team (DAT) workshop February 12
Basic instructors course February 16
Disaster Assessment (DA) fundamentals February 19
Casework fundamentals February 26

In addition, the month of February is American Heart Month. If you are not already trained or need to renew your CPR, First Aid, and AED certification, please call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit to sign up for a class through Training Services. There is no better feeling that knowing how to react when an emergency happens in front of you, being able to help someone, and putting your training into action.

As a volunteer, if you would like to be more engaged in our operations or learn about new opportunities, please contact:

John Price
Disaster Workforce Engagement

Red Cross Volunteer Saved by CPR and Use of AED; Encourages Others to Get Trained

February is National Heart Month and is a perfect time to learn how to perform CPR and use an AED in order to save lives. In an emergency, every second counts. This past December during the Nashville Christmas Parade, trained bystanders rushed to the aid of Wade Payne, a freelance photographer and Red Cross volunteer, as he experienced a heart attack.

Get to know Wade and his rescuers a bit better, and hear it from him!

How did you come to get involved with the Red Cross?
“A friend talked with me about it, who also does photography. I came to a meeting, liked everyone and they were nice!’

Which areas do you help in with the Red Cross?
“I was looking for a way to give back with the blessings I received. It was just a natural progression. I learned there is so much to do with the Red Cross.” Wade does photography for the Red Cross. It’s his main interest and feels he can help most when using the ability God gave him. Which Wade said is to “help promote through the visual aspect in showing what the Red Cross does. Many don’t know about things like Sound the Alarm and just how much they help people in disasters. If I can help save a life, then I’ll tell my story. It’s not about me. It’s about helping others.”

You have an incredible story of complete strangers saving your life! Can we hear it?
“When at a Christmas parade I went down, and a lady rushed in to help. She was about to go in the house, but for some reason decided to stay a bit longer. Then, an off-duty firefighter saw and took over for the woman to call 9-1-1. A minister quickly retrieved an AED and administered it.” As if that is not crazy enough with three complete strangers jumping in without hesitation, a doctor stepped right in and worked on him in the ambulance!

What advice or recommendation(s) would you give to a new volunteer?
“There are so many facets. There are things you can do beyond what you may go there for in the first place. It’s a real eye-opener. Definitely get trained in CPR. You may be the catalyst for getting people involved in an emergency situation.”

After all this, Wade believes there is a reason he is here and feels very blessed!

He said: “It’s moving to know that there’s good people who care about you and is praying for you, who don’t even know you.”

Wade was very grateful to meet the lady who took the first action, and broke what the Red Cross calls barriers to action. He is looking forward to soon meeting the off-duty firefighter too and hopes to meet his other heroes.

It is difficult to tell when one might use life-saving skills, but they sure come in handy. Sometimes being the first one to take action in an emergency can be scary, but being trained helps to alleviate some of that tension. If you would like to take life-saving classes such as CPR or AED, call your 1-800-RED CROSS or visit

By Kelsie Angeletti, Red Cross volunteer

Regional Executive Corner with Joel R. Sullivan - February 2019

Share The Love!

I always consider February the month of love.  Valentine’s Day sits right in the middle of February and represents love in a large way by bringing people together.

While pondering Valentine’s Day this year, I could not help but reflect on the love and affection our volunteers show for the American Red Cross and the mission we serve.  Each and every day, your American Red Cross serves on multiple fronts.  Daily, you can find the Red Cross serving in all five lines of service.

- Multiple volunteers responding to home fires most every day of the year.
- Volunteers working to ensure families torn apart by war, famine and civil unrest are reconnected with their loved ones.
- Volunteers train classes on lifesaving skills such as CPR, AED and Babysitting.
- Our Service to the Armed Forces team of volunteers are consistently helping our service members with emergency communications that are critical to the family such as a death in the family or conversely, a birth of a new family member.
- Our blood services volunteers are hard at work assisting in the collection facilities serving snacks, helping put supplies together for blood drives and driving blood to hospitals with patients in need.

I love the fact that all of these services are provided to those who are in need by volunteers who have a passion for helping someone who is having a really bad day.

We have many other volunteers not mentioned above.  Those volunteers are the ones who donate the necessary funds and blood that keep these vital services alive and well.

Your American Red Cross is a home where people with the passion for helping others can join many others to get the job done.  These volunteers and donors are the ones who prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.

I love supporting those who love to support our mission.  For those who already do, THANK YOU!  For those who are looking for a meaningful way to serve your community, I invite you to join us in this wonderful mission.  There are many ways to participate.  Everyone has an opportunity to serve at the American Red Cross.

Joel Sullivan

Nashville Area Volunteer Spotlight: David Donoho – February 2019

“How can I help somebody today?” That is the question David Donoho asks himself when he wakes up every morning. He has been a Red Cross volunteer for almost a year and also volunteers for The Little Pantry that Could. He is passionate about helping others, so volunteering was a good fit after he retired from his state government job where he worked for 45 years. His favorite part about being a volunteer is “just knowing that you’re out there helping folks, directly or indirectly.”

David volunteers for Red Cross disaster services in several areas including damage assessment, logistics, smoke alarm installations and the disaster action team. He plans to get his emergency response vehicle driver and supervisor certifications soon. He deployed to South Carolina and southwest Georgia last fall for a total of over three weeks to help with hurricane relief efforts through damage assessment.

In addition to volunteering with disaster services, he also recognizes the importance of donating blood and platelets. He started donating regularly in December. He encourages anyone who is eligible to donate to make an appointment to give blood. (You can make an appointment at

One of the most rewarding volunteer experiences for David is installing free smoke alarms and teaching families fire safety. He said, “The good thing about smoke alarm installations and giving blood is you’re being proactive. You don’t know how you’ll eventually affect that person’s life. You may potentially save someone’s life.”

As a part of the disaster action team, David volunteers for on-call shifts in case of a disaster, like a home fire. David and a volunteer partner will respond, often in early morning hours, to offer the affected family hope and immediate assistance.

When asked what advice he would give a new volunteer, David said, “Try a variety of things. People think of big things. Think of the small things.” Spend a few hours of your time installing smoke alarms, roll up your sleeve and give blood, or check out all the opportunities available online at

Thank you, David, for making a difference in your community and helping others!