Wednesday, December 23, 2009

FIRES MAR HOLIDAY SEASON FOR LOCAL FAMILIES

Red Cross seeking Financial Support from the Community

Since December 1st, the American Red Cross of Central Texas has provided assistance to 18 families after their home was damaged or destroyed by a fire. A total of 39 children have seen their holidays spoiled by these events. In each instance the Red Cross has responded with emergency help in the form of shelter, food, clothing, toys, emergency medications and guidance on disaster recovery.

“Traditionally this is a very busy time of the year for the Red Cross. The holidays are fire season and we expect an increase in the need for our services. This year it has been especially worrisome. Our budget has taken something of a hit from the economy and the number of people who need assistance is on the rise. We are not a government agency and rely solely on the generosity of our neighbors. We are counting on them to come through as they always have,” said Elaine Acker, CEO of the Central Texas Red Cross.

Most Red Cross aid comes in the form of debit cards that can be used to purchase new items that are in appropriate sizes and conform to dietary restrictions of the individuals involved. This allows families to take charge of their own recovery and feel a much needed sense of empowerment during a period of trauma. For this and other reasons the Red Cross does not accept donations of items such as clothing and food.

95% of the work of the Red Cross is performed by volunteers. Training to become a Red Cross disaster volunteer is another way members of the community can help. To donate to the fund that helps the victims of all local disasters or to get information about becoming a Red Cross volunteer people can call 512.928.4271 or visit www.centex.redcross.org.



About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

HOLIDAY MAIL FOR HEROES

Check out Fox's coverage!
Serving members of the military and their families was the first mission of the American Red Cross more than 125 years ago. And as we remember those who serve on Veteran’s Day, it remains a core part of the Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) mission today. Just one of the essential military services provided by the American Red Cross is the Holiday Mail for Heroes program.

For the second year in a row, the Red Cross is partnering with Pitney Bowes to collect one million holiday cards for American service members, veterans and their families in the United States and around the world. 

Those who would like to send holiday greetings to military members serving around the world, veterans and their families are asked to mail cards to: 


Holiday Mail for Heroes 

P.O. Box 5456 
Capital Heights, MD 20791-5456

Red Cross volunteers will be on hand to sort and mail the holiday cards and to ensure that every effort is made to send warm wishes and support to military members serving around the world as well as their families who will be without their loved ones during the holidays.
Providing support to military members is a daily task for the American Red Cross of Central Texas (ARCCT). 


The ARCCT provides communication services to military members in times of crisis and important events by contacting family members living in the Central Texas area. These communications are delivered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year through the work of volunteers. The ARCCT also provides counseling and referrals to military families at an average of three families per day, all free of charge. All services are made possible by the generous support of Central Texas citizens through their dollars and volunteer time.

Holiday Mail for the Heroes kicks off future Service to the Armed Forces programs from the American Red Cross of Central Texas. Stay tuned for more information.

RED CROSS RESPONDS TO TRAGIC FIRE IN EAST AUSTIN

From Marty McKellips, Chief Marketing Officer

It was pouring rain when I arrived at the fire scene on Knight’s Circle in East Austin Friday Morning.  Steve Hailey, our Emergency Services Director, and one volunteer were already there.  Steve briefed me on the tragic news that although six people were safe, one young man did not make it out alive.  He was 28.  His friends were gathered under the carport of the house next door where a number of them live.  I learned they were mostly young musicians in a band called Bankrupt and the Borrowers.  They lived and worked together, as a very close family would, and this was certainly a very difficult time for them.  


Just a few minutes later, our Disaster Action Team Captain Carole Leandra arrived and began talking to the clients about their immediate needs. Most of the residents had escaped the fire in only what they wore to bed the night before and the cold front combined with the rain was making everyone shiver.  Luckily, Jose Dominguez arrived quickly with blankets from the chapter.  I looked at those young faces and could not imagine how they were feeling.  The trauma of a fire is bad enough, but losing a dear friend is unimaginable.

We were all very relieved to see our fabulous mental health volunteer Pat Grajkowsky. Steve briefed her and she went into the house to talk to those grieving. 

Fire trucks came and went in shifts as the firefighters put out hot spots and began the investigation into the cause.  They were asking the survivors where any important and valuable items might be located.  Some instruments and amplifiers were retrieved but their cases were charred and I have no idea if they would still work.  The band had a sold out show scheduled for that evening and I wondered about the mood in the club when the news spread about this tragedy.

The news media were lined up across the street and I begin filling them in on what the Red Cross was providing.  My main message was that these services were being delivered by volunteers and we need more people to step up and help us help our neighbors. 

One young man stepped up to me and said, “I want to thank the Red Cross for everything.  I worked for the Red Cross during Katrina so I already knew how great you guys are.”  All I could say was how sorry we were for their loss.

Although this is a sad way to begin a Friday morning, I am glad I could be there.  It reminds me again of just how important the Red Cross is and why I am so lucky to be part of something that helps people everyday.

For more information about the fire and a memorial for Jon Pettis, please click here.
Marty

BEHIND THE SCENES AT RED CROSS

From Kevin and Sandy McCoy, Volunteers

In these journals I have written about how we work on fires, hurricanes, and other events. But I thought I would take some time and give a peek behind the scenes on getting ready. and making sure that the Red Cross is ready to respond in disasters. That takes a lot of education and preparation.


This week we helped in two ways. First, we took a course at the Austin EOC to get certified and badged so that we can work at the EOC when an event occurs. Second we helped to Inventory the National Assets stored to help out in disasters across the country.


National Inventory
Sandy and I worked on a team of volunteers that came in from all over the country to help out in doing and inventory at one of the few National Warehouses. This one happens to be in our home town of Austin, and is located close to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.


warehouse

The Warehouse is called the Disaster Services Maintenance Center. Here are a couple of Red Cross Workers (Randall Rieffel & Gary Thompson) in process of inventorying radios.


workers

This entire deployable inventory is stored in Pelican Cases. These are water tight cases that can survive flood and other severe conditions. That protects the assets that are sent in harms way, and make sure it is usable for the next disaster.

inventory

We had a production line to inventory more than 2000 cell phone.  Here is Sandy managing the numbers: Gary Thompson, Randall Reiffel, and Kevin’s coffee mug on the "assembly line."

inventory2


Mobile Satellite dishes for voice and data communication are in these kits.  Gary is opening a Satellite Disk container.  This was tiring and meticulous work.  Even with fork lifts and pallet jacks, there was a lot of lifting to do.  So it was tiring and time consuming.

What Sandy and I wanted to get out of this to understand the range of national assets that could be drawn out for a disaster.  Counting these items may have been the hard way to do this, but it worked and we have a good idea of what is there (and how much!)

EOC Class
We took a break from the inventory assignment to get oriented to work in the EOC. That requires getting another background check, more fingerprints and a new ID.


class

All the resources – Red Cross, Salvation Army, FEMA, Law enforcement, Fire, all have seats at the table.

To use this system we have phones, Web based tool for facilitating Emergency Operations Center Communications – (Web EOC). In previous disasters we have worked out of the center to manage shelter operations, and coordinate with other groups.

That is all the news that is fit to click.
Kevin & Sandy

Thursday, November 19, 2009

RED CROSS SELLS PIECES OF HISTORY TO CUT DEFICIT

Yesterday in Washington, the Red Cross offered up the first round of assorted historical treasures for auction. These items, ranging from a rare four-faced Cartier clock lamp to World War I nurse uniforms to the famous Rose Percy, a 23-inch Red Cross wax doll, had been ammassed over the decades and were sold to help alleviate a substantial operating deficit.

The Red Cross formerly housed these and 135,000 other special objects, images, books and reels of film in a warehouse located in Lorton, Va., right outside of Washington. The warehouse will be closed next year to save $3 million annually and, in turn, allow the Red Cross to assist more of those in need.

To find out more about these Red Cross auctions and how you might be able to claim a piece of history for yourself, please enjoy the following article: Red Cross Auctions

Thursday, November 5, 2009

RED CROSS ON STANDBY TO RESPOND TO SHOOTINGS AT FT.HOOD

Central Texas Red Cross staff, volunteers and mental health professionals on standby

A mass shooting has occurred at the Soldier Processing Center at Ft. Hood today in Killeen, Texas. Fort Hood is part of our neighboring Red Cross region, the Heart of Texas Chapter of the American Red Cross in Waco. American Red Cross of Central Texas’ staff is in contact with the Waco Chapter of the American Red Cross, which is in direct contact with the Ft. Hood Station Manager.

The Waco Chapter is in the process of establishing Safe & Well and getting communications established as there have been numerous inquiries from around the country regarding the safely of individual personnel at Ft. Hood. The Safe & Well program allows those involved in an emergency to register online at www.safeandwell.org so their loved ones can find them and check on their safety.

The Waco chapter has mental health workers on standby and is ready to deploy upon Station request. The American Red Cross of Central Texas currently has staff, volunteers and mental health professionals on standby as well should the Waco Chapter need assistance.

Locally, the American Red Cross provides services to Central Texas military families up to six times a day, 365 days a year, and is a vital resource for military personnel and their families.

HOLIDAY MAIL FOR HEROES TO DELIVER GREETINGS TO U.S. MILITARY MEMBERS AND VETERANS

In this season of hope and giving, the American Red Cross and Pitney Bowes Inc. have joined forces again to invite the public to "send a touch of home" to United States service members and veterans across the country and abroad through the Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign.

Now in its third year, the Holiday Mail for Heroes program provides Americans with the opportunity to extend holiday greetings and thanks to service members and veterans. Last year the program received more than 1.4 million cards for military men and women, their families and veterans. Our chapter processed 50,000 of the cards for this program.

The public can participate in the campaign by sending holiday cards with personal messages to a special post office box from Monday, November 2 through Monday, December 7. The Red Cross and Pitney Bowes will then screen cards for hazardous materials, sort and package the cards, and deliver them to military bases and hospitals, veteran`s hospitals and other locations in the U.S. and abroad during the holidays. Pitney Bowes is providing all screening, packaging and shipping at no charge, as well as providing thousands of volunteer hours around the country. The Red Cross will utilize volunteers at over 300 participating chapters nationwide to sort and deliver greetings to military and veteran`s hospitals and military bases in November and December.

"The United States currently has 1.4 million active duty members, reservists and guards serving within our borders and abroad. Additionally more than 24 million veterans have faithfully served our country in the past," notes Sherri Brown, Sr. Vice President of Service to the Armed Forces at the American Red Cross. "With increased chapter participation this year we hope to reach many more service members and veterans who may be spending this holiday season away from home or without loved ones," says Brown.

"The men and women who serve our country in uniform deserve our thanks every single day, and sending just one card is all it takes to make a difference in the life of one of our nation`s heroes," said Jon Love, President of Pitney Bowes Government Solutions. "We are honored to participate in this important initiative again with the American Red Cross and look forward to helping the public say happy holidays and thank you."

Holiday cards should be addressed and sent to:


Holiday Mail for Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

Please be sure to affix adequate postage. Cards must be received no later than December 7. Cards received after this date will be returned to senders. For reasons of processing and safety, participants are asked to refrain from sending "care packages," monetary gifts, using glitter or including any inserts with the cards.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

FUND RED





















Fun Ways to Help the Red Cross
• Hold an eBay sale and use the Mission Fish option
• Dedicate your holiday gatherings to the Red Cross - charge a “cover” or pass the hat.
• Have a garage or bake sale.
• Make and sell homemade holiday crafts.
• Have a bowl-a-thon, walk-a-thon or skate-a-thon.
• Children can do holiday chores like cleaning, decorating or addressing holiday cards.
• Wrap gifts for a fee.
• Hold a penny drive at church or school.
• Call us with your creative idea! 512.928.4271

Thursday, October 29, 2009

2009 IBM UPTOWN CLASSIC IS A SUCCESS

For the second year running, IBM chose the American Red Cross of Central Texas to be the beneficiary of the proceeds from the 2009 IBM Uptown Classic which hit Austin streets on Sunday, October 18, 2009.


More than 1,500 runners, including two wheelchair participants, crowded the IBM campus in the early morning and stretched while the sun rose. Many teams participated, including Tough Cookies and I Am I Can. The race benefited from perfect weather conditions as well.









The event raised over $30,000 to support the American Red Cross of Central Texas' ongoing mission of teaching lifesaving skills, responding to disasters, disaster preparedness training and service to military families. IBM highlighted the ARCCT's commitment to Central Texas in the opening ceremonies, and ARCCT staff thanked IBM for being such a terrific partner and for being chosen as the beneficiary.


 








Special thanks to over 250 IBM and American Red Cross volunteers, DJ Presley for providing great entertainment, the Austin Toros, and all of our generous sponsors and in-kind donors: 


Eurest

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

AMERICAN RED CROSS OF CENTRAL TEXAS TO EXPAND MILITARY SERVICES


The American Red Cross of Central Texas has received a federal grant of $79,000 for the purpose of expanding Red Cross services for military families and veterans. This funding allows the Chapter to provide more community support for military members and their families before, during and after deployment.

The Red Cross will offer regular Military Family Networking Groups, these are gatherings where the family members can hear guest speakers, participate in family activities, record family video and then send the video to their deployed family member, receive other agency referrals, receive child ID kits, register for scholarships to attend CPR and First Aid classes or Babysitting Bootcamps and receive school supplies.

All services are provided free of charge to any current, retired or veteran military personnel and their families. The United States Congress actually mandates that the American Red Cross provide services to the military, however they do not allocate funding for this service.
In addition, the American Red Cross of Central Texas will be hiring a Service to Armed Forces Program Manager to facilitate the expanded services.

The Chapter currently assists 5 to 6 military families a day in Central Texas.   With the additional funding the Red Cross expects to see an increase in the number of families serviced.

BASTROP PUBLIC HEALTH EXERCISE & VACCINATIONS

From Kevin and Sandy McCoy, Volunteers

This week the Mass Care Action Team (MCAT) received the call to support a Public Health effort in Bastrop County. The call came from Mike Fischer the Emergency Management Coordinator for Bastrop County.

Our mission was to provide coffee, water and snacks to Texas Department of State Health Services workers and other emergency staff & volunteers as they offered flu vaccinations in Bastrop County. The event was hosted by Bastrop school districts, the Texas State Health Department, and Bastrop Emergency Management.

We started before Dawn to gather the supplies we needed. HEB donated doughnuts and a cake to the effort.
stockingup 
We were set up by 7:30AM and we were visited very quickly by state health workers who were getting set up to begin seeing the public.

publichealth 
 
(Yolanda Holmes of Texas Dept. of State Health Services gets a cup of coffee)
I was very interested in the number of young CERT volunteers in Bastrop. It turns out that they have put together a program with ROTC and HOSA (Health Occupation Students of America) members to give them CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) training. This volunteer effort was their first deployment. AND they were very hungry and thirsty as all young adults are.

vaccinations 
 
Thank you for the team that responded on such short notice: Curtis Childers, Susan McGinnis, Hilde Sanders. Thanks also to Red Crossers Steve Hailey who came by to support us, and Ron Hilliard who was wearing his hat as Volunteer Coordinator for the effort!

Thanks also to Steve and Elaine Thompson who were working Nature Fest that day, but gave their time and effort to get us set up and to the right location! Also last but not least Wray Hooper helped out the day before getting this event and our Chapter stores restocked.

CEO UPDATE FROM ELAINE ACKER


President of Humanitarian Services for the National American Red Cross visits Austin
Jerry DeFrancisco, President of Humanitarian Services for NHQ will be in Austin and will visit our Chapter next Wednesday, November 4. He REALLY wants to meet our staff and board members and we are looking forward to spending time with him during his visit!

Good News in Development!
We’ve had some good news on the Development front lately. We received a $5,000 grant from Temple Inland and a $79,000 grant from NHQ in support of Services to Armed Forces. Also, the IBM Race was October 19, and we received a $30,000 grant from the proceeds of the race. Thanks again to Sally Aiello and Wal-Mart for their additional $10,000 sponsorship!

Schlotzky’s and the Red Cross
Also, the Schlotzky’s promotion is still ongoing, so if anyone goes out for fast food, try to stop by Schlotzky’s and mention Red Cross so we’ll get a portion of the proceeds! Here’s a link with all the dates and locations.

Education & Training
The Education & Training team has been busy working on new marketing strategies for products, as well as our CPR, First Aid, and other courses. The latest accomplishment is a new online clothing store. If you want to check out a great selection of shirts, hats, fleece, and other items, click here!

Emergency Services
On the Emergency Services side, we’ve been busy as well. I’m dropping in the latest statistics below, but the statistics don’t really tell the story of the wonderful volunteers who are in the office or on the scene of emergencies almost every day. Sadly, a young musician died in one of the recent house fires, which you may have seen on the news. In addition to our Disaster Response Team, the Public information support was critical on this scene, because the other band members, who were also in the house at the time, desperately needed a buffer from the intense media attention. We were able to protect them and offer them the support they needed on what was undoubtedly one of the most difficult days of their young lives.

By the Numbers:

September Stats:
Single Family – 15
Multi Family – 3
59 people were displaced
Approx. $8311 client financial assistance
2 incidents in Bastrop County
8 incidents in Travis County
2 incidents in Burnett County
1 incident in Caldwell County
2 incidents in Milam County
2 incidents in Hays County


October Stats:
Single Family – 3
Multi Family – 3
25 people were displaced

Approx. $5019.55 client financial assistance
1 incident in Bastrop County
3 incidents in Travis County
1 incident in Burnett County

So that’s the latest! As always, send me anything you’d like to share and I’ll pass the word! - Elaine Acker, CEO

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

THANK YOU TEMPLE-INLAND FOUNDATION!

From Debbie Immel, Chief Development Officer
 

The American Red Cross of Central Texas has been awarded a $5,000 grant from the Temple-Inland Foundation. The funding will assist the American Red Cross of Central Texas when providing immediate support to victims of disasters or emergencies in our 9 county service area. That vital support can consist of shelter, clothing, shoes, food, medication and mental health counseling. The American Red Cross of Central Texas is grateful for Temple-Inland’s support and very appreciative of their wonderful partnership. Thank you Temple-Inland for helping us help the people of Central Texas!

templeinland 
Pictured in the check presentation (from left): Diane Ventresca, Director of Volunteer Services, Debbie Immel, Chief Development Officer, and Carolyn Elmore – Director of Corporate Communication – Temple-Inland

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

CEO UPDATE - AUGUST 25, 2009

Happy Tuesday (evening) to all!

Record Turnout at Volunteer Recognition Event at the Dell Diamond
I’m still smiling after Sunday’s Volunteer Recognition event at the Dell Diamond. We had a GREAT crowd there – about 171 people. It sounds like everyone really enjoyed the food and the camaraderie! We conducted our Annual Meeting, handed out pins for years of service (including a 30-year pin to staff member Denise Blok and a 65-year pin to volunteer Betty Hendrix!). We also had a chance to say thank you to several of our volunteers and staff for their incredible service during the past fiscal year, and I’m including the list of volunteer award winners below. I’ll include the staff winners next week. And,  I’m sure we’ll have a photo or two up on the Web this week.

Volunteer Awards
Volunteer of the Year: Bill Dorman
Clara Barton Honor Award: Elaine Thompson
Virginia Horton True Blue Volunteer: Homer Johnson
Walter Shuler Disaster Services Award: Carol Leandra
Education & Training Award: Julia Lennous
Social Services Volunteer of the Year: Wray Hooper
Firecracker Award: Jay Clements
Mental Health Professional of the Year: Pat Grajkowski
Tex Kassen Health and Safety Award: Craig Henderson
Youth Leadership Award: Day Son
Martha Townsley Leadership Award: Kevin McCoy

Introducing Instructor Lis Wise
I’m not sure I’ve introduced you to our newest staff instructor, Lis Wise. Lis was an on-call instructor before joining our team full time.  She did a stint in the Peace Corps, is fluent in Swahili, and is also a licensed massage therapist.  As it turns out, much to Denise’s delight, she also is great at assisting with small facility projects!


Congrats to Board Member Joyce Batcheller
We’re just now catching up on some of our reading and noticed that Joyce Batcheller was mentioned in the August 6 Austin Business Journal, which featured Profiles in Power winners. Congrats again, Joyce!

New Funding from Applied Materials  
Another Debbie success story: we received a $10,000 check today from a grant proposal to Applied Materials. Go Debbie! We have been receiving only $5,000 from Applied Materials over the past two years, so this is a 100% increase. Fabulous!

We Need Your Red Cross Stories!
We have GOT to make some headway in pulling together a “library” of sorts showcasing some of our best Red Cross stories. PLEASE send me one or two (or more!) of your favorite stories. (“I remember the time when…” )  You can send me an email, or give me a call and I’ll type while you talk. I want to capture stories from staff, board members, volunteers, and clients that will help our donors understand what a tremendous difference we make in this community and why their gifts matter.

As always, I know you know of more good things going on with our Chapter, so please send me a note and I’ll include them next week! And, please feel free to forward this email to the volunteers who work with your department!
Have a great week!

View our new chapter video by clicking on the image!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

BACK-TO-SCHOOL HEALTH FAIRS

Red Cross Back-To-School Health Fairs
Friday-Saturday, August 21-22, 2009
Thank you to everyone who participated, volunteered or stopped by to check out our great exhibitors! View the entire event details.

Austin Chiropractic Health ClinicAnytime FitnessEndeavor Rehab Center
Austin AztexAustin Adventure Boot CampTexas Outdoor Family Programs
Komen Austin Race for the CureAustin Toros and Austin AztexAustin Toros
Neighborhood Sportsoverhead shot
Yoga with ZelindaIs Your Child Safe

Schlotzsky'sSeton Baby TalkSun Dragon Martial Arts

THANK YOU TO BOY SCOUT TROOP 2008 & 316!

This wonderful Boy Scout Troop (pictured below) volunteered with the American Red Cross of Central Texas to label water bottles for distribution throughout the area to promote the IBM Uptown Classic and our Red Cross classes and services. Thank you to members of Troop 2008 and 316: Bobby Spilman, Virgil Villarreal, John Ellis Bonner, Eric Villarreal, Allison Villarreal, Lucy Villarreal, and Issac Auld, Jr.


Boy Scout TroopBoy Scout Troop

Monday, August 10, 2009

CEO UPDATE - AUGUST 10, 2009

From Elaine Acker, CEO

Recent Emergency Responses

Last Friday, August 7, the power went off at the Travis Park Apartments – not a good thing when the temperatures are well above 100 degrees. Marcia and Fred Marks responded with the ERV (our Emergency Response Vehicle) along with Tim Garland, with coolers of ice, and water, as well as stuffed animals for the kiddoes. The City of Austin also sent an air-conditioned Cap Metro bus to the scene. There were a number of elderly among the 200+ residents, and this situation was especially dangerous for them. Power was restored by late afternoon but our volunteers were superb in stepping in to help keep people safe.

On August 3, Dave and Laurie Crittenden responded to a house fire in Lockhart. The home was a total loss.

On August 1, when a three-alarm brush fire threatened residential areas in Travis Country, our volunteers responded to assist Travis County fire fighters with snacks and water. The multi-talented team of Fred and Marcia Marks were again on point for this very appreciative group of first responders.

Shelly McAdams and Bill Dorman were rock steady as always in helping coordinate the responses. Thanks to ALL for a job well done! 

Board Retreat II was a Huge Success
Friday’s second board retreat was time well-spent, and I want to thank everyone who attended! We discovered special niches for everyone. LB Brady may have a future as a babysitting instructor (big brownie points for that!), Carmen Tawil has agreed to take on the role of Chair of Volunteers after Felicia transitions off the committee following the Recognition event on the 23rd  (you DO have the 23rd on your calendar, right?), Joyce Batcheller has an idea and a resource for practically everything, and Calvin Turner was so energized he was in the hall making phone calls to prospective donors before he even left the building. The next step is to capture each person’s leads on our spreadsheet and then start setting up appointments or training. All board members will hear from me, Marty McKellips, or Diane Ventresca very shortly!

Welcome New Staff Member Jose Dominguez
Today is Jose Dominguez’s first day with the Chapter as the Preparedness Specialist. While he will devote the majority of his time to collaborating with Disaster Volunteers, he will also work closely with Diane Ventresca and Amber Cooney to ensure that our volunteer program is top notch. He comes to us with prior Red Cross experience and everyone who’s worked with him desperately wants him back. But they can’t have him, and that’s great news for Central Texas!



Office Upgrades
The reception area in building A got its first makeover in eons this past week. We received grant money following the spring storms in 2008 to help us repair damage and upgrade a portion of the interior. There is now carpet in all offices where once there was bare floor. The reception area has been painted and a new desk has been installed. While some of the d├ęcor is still in progress, it’s looking fantastic, and I want to thank Denise Blok for all her hard work pulling this together. We don’t have to look fancy (although it looks really nice), but clean and professional is a wonderful thing.

As always, I’m sure there are cool things happening that I have missed, or wonderful volunteers or staff I forgot to mention, so please let me know and I’ll share them next week!
Have a great week!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

THANK YOU FIRST AMERICAN FLOOD DATA SERVICES!

Thank you, First American Flood Data Services!
First American Flood Data Services recently held the “First American Worm Burn 2009” Golf Tournament to benefit the American Red Cross of Central Texas on May 30 at the Shadow Glen Golf Course. Because of First American’s outstanding efforts and their matching donation program, $5142.64 was raised and donated to our chapter! First American Flood Data Services has been a generous disaster relief donor to American Red Cross of Central Texas in the past. Thank you!

First American
Pictured: Danny Sebastian – Worm Burn Coordinator, Vicki Chenault – President First American Flood Data Services, Diane Ventresca – Director, Development and Communications, Red Cross

CEO UPDATE - JULY 30TH

From Elaine Acker, CEO

Happy Thursday to all,

Youth Leadership Development Retreat
Today we’re still basking in the glow of a wonderful Youth Leadership Development Retreat. I was only there for few hours Saturday afternoon, but I was thoroughly impressed with the participants as well as the wonderful job Amber Cooney and her dedicated volunteers did to put it all together. It was hosted at Texas State in San Marcos, and there were nearly 30 participants, ages 16-19, who enthusiastically learned more about the Red Cross and about how to build their leadership skills for future success. We had a great volunteer photographer there, and we’ll have pictures posted on the Web soon!

LDRLDR

ldrLDRLDR
LDRLDR

First Video Segments Complete
Videographer Bill Smith (W. E. Smith Media Services) dropped by this afternoon and delivered the first two segments of the video we’re creating for our Red Cross Road Show (which is basically any opportunity we can get to tell our story). There may still be a couple of edits on the final cut, but this is mostly complete. We’ll be shooting a segment on volunteers during the Volunteer Recognition event on August 23. Here’s the link to what we have so far: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXOFnl303h4

Board Retreat
It looks like we’ll have good attendance at our make up board retreat scheduled for August 7, 1:30 – 5:30. We’re looking forward to spending quality time with the rest of you! If you have any questions about that, you can contact Melissa Gray.
Adios for now! --Elaine