Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Welcome Steve J. Hailey! In Mr. Hailey's role as Director of Emergency Services, he is responsible for carrying out the mission of the Red Cross to provide relief to victims of disaster and to help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. Mr. Hailey has over 20+ years of progressive experience in the public safety and disaster recovery arena. 

After beginning his career as a flight medic and eventually becoming a firefighter he most recently consulted for multiple federal, state, and local public safety agencies and organizations. His prior experience includes working for Avaya, Inc. as the Director of Emergency Preparedness and Response. Prior to joining Avaya, Mr. Hailey held information technology and disaster technology management positions with the American Red Cross national headquarters. 

Mr. Hailey has been on-site on over 50 domestic disasters to include Hurricane Andrew, 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and multiple airplane crashes. In addition, he has a few international assignments to his credit to include Hurricane Mitch in Nicaragua and Typhoon Reming in the Philippines as part of the IFRC (International Federation Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies) Emergency Response Unit. 

He is published in 911 Magazine, Mission Critical Communications, and served as a subject matter expert for the “Business Continuity for Dummies” guidebook. Please help us in welcoming Mr. Hailey and his family to Austin, Texas.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Outgoing CEO Derrick Chubbs Selected as Division Vice President for American Red Cross, West Gulf Region

Elaine Acker

The Board of Directors of the American Red Cross of Central Texas has voted unanimously to name Elaine Acker as the organization’s CEO to replace Derrick Chubbs, who has been appointed Division Vice President for the American National Red Cross. Ms. Acker is a familiar face in the community, having served as the Chapter’s primary spokesperson for the past year in her role as Director of Development and Communications. She also founded Pets America in 2005 and successfully collaborated with nonprofit organizations, state and local agencies, and emergency management officials to promote pet-friendly sheltering options in disasters.

In his new position, Derrick Chubbs will be responsible for management of operations in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Mississippi. As a member of the American National Red Cross executive team, he will provide strategic vision, planning and direction to Regional Executives.

“Central Texas has raised the bar for the American Red Cross, demonstrating outstanding creativity and innovation, and forging strong partnerships,” said Jerry DeFrancisco, American Red Cross President of Humanitarian Services. “Given the achievements that have been accomplished in Central Texas, we’re thrilled to have Derrick working on our national team.”

For the past two and a half years, Chubbs has also served as the Texas State Relations Representative for the 25 Red Cross chapters throughout the state on legislative and government relations issues. Prior to joining the Red Cross, Chubbs had a successful 20-year career in the corporate technology sector, including roles as Area Manager for Dell International Services; Director of Worldwide Client Services for Pervasive Software; and senior leadership positions with IBM including Senior Manager for IBM Global Services.

While Chubbs’ Red Cross territory has expanded, he will continue to reside in Austin, Texas, and maintain an office at the Central Texas Chapter.

“Elaine and I have both seen the tremendous difference the American Red Cross makes in the lives of the military personnel, students, and disaster clients we serve,” said Chubbs. “The American Red Cross is making important changes nationwide and we are both honored to have the opportunity to serve in these new roles.”

Friday, May 15, 2009


Red Cross is delighted to participate for the past several years in this event, a unique approach to career awareness for students as they prepare to go to school with purpose. COW Day is part Achieve Texas, an initiative to provide career awareness to 2000 students at the elementary level. Staff member Amber Cooney partnered with volunteer Jim Dixon to education the kids about the Red Cross. Photos by Courtney Dudley.

  COW Day

Thursday, May 14, 2009


We'll miss our longtime employee, Lyndsay Jolley, as she heads to Paraguay for a Peace Corps assignment. Plus, we'll miss Precious, our unofficial office mascot!
Lyndsay Jolley

Friday, May 8, 2009


Thank you to our friends at the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity for supporting the Red Cross!

UT Fraternity

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Thomas Turner and Aaron Behrens of Ghostland Observatory Sign Red Cross benefit guitar.  Swoon!

Thank you, Ghostland Observatory!

Thomas Turner of Ghostland Observatory
Ghostland Observatory

Monday, May 4, 2009


From Volunteer Tom Davis

The fire today was a real catastrophe - the entire middle building of the complex was lost. The left half of the building (viewed from the street) was a total loss; we were told the people wouldn't even be able to get into their apartments to retrieve their belongings. The right half wasn't badly damaged, but the decision was made that it was also uninhabitable; those people will at least be able to go in and retrieve their things, though.

The Fire Department estimated that about 300 people were displaced. Of those, about 100 registered at the reunion center we set up in the cafeteria of Reagan High School, a couple of blocks east of the apartment complex.  Two city buses took people from the apartments to Reagan, and then to the shelter that was set up at Gus Garcia Recreation Center on East Rundberg.

Nearly all the people displaced were Hispanic, and only about half of them spoke English. We had a few Spanish interpreters, but not near what we needed."

City Manager Marc Ott is pictured below with shelter volunteers.

To become a bilingual American Red Cross of Central Texas volunteer, contact Volunteer Services at (512) 929-1225 or volunteerservices@centex.redcross.org.
Marc Ott with Volunteers

Friday, May 1, 2009


The American Red cross, along with the Advisory Council for First Aid, Aquatics, Safety and Preparedness (ACFASP), an independent panel of health and safety experts that advise the Red Cross, has updated the recommendation on tornado safety as follows:

If you are caught outdoors, seek shelter in a basement, tornado shelter or sturdy building. If you cannot get to shelter, a recent study* suggests doing the following:
  • Get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt, and try to drive at right angles to the storm movement and out of the path of the tornado.
  • If strong winds and flying debris occur while you are driving, pull over and park, keeping seat belts on and the engine running. Crouch down below the windows, covering your head with your hands and a blanket if possible.
If you are unable to get to a building or vehicle, as a last resort, lie in a ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands.
* Schmidlin T., et al, 2002: Unsafe at any (wind) speed? American Meteorological Society, 1821-30.

This change is consistent with the findings of numerous scientific inquiries and is reflected in the new tornado preparedness check list.