Monday, June 29, 2009


From Elaine Acker, CEO

Happy Monday to all,
I hope you all have a short holiday week ahead. Here’s what’s going on here at the Chapter:

Bastrop Fire Response this past weekend
On a sad note, there was house fire this past weekend in Bastrop. Some family members made it out safely, but two elderly people died. Volunteer Elaine Thompson continues to be our rock in Bastrop County, and along with her team, she will be coordinating with the family and emergency services to provide any needed assistance.

Volunteer Recognition and Annual Meeting Set for August 23
Save the Date! We’re confirmed for our Red Cross chapter annual meeting and Volunteer Recognition event. It’s Sunday, August 23 at the Dell Diamond. We’ll conduct a little business, celebrate the amazing volunteers without whom we would not be able to deliver services to this community, and enjoy an All-American outing. This event will be big fun for the whole family, so I hope everyone – staff, board, and volunteers - can join us. We’ll be sending a “Save the Date” note to volunteers this week.

New Employee Announced in Emergency Services
Lane Pearson, who has been working in Emergency Services as a contractor, is now a permanent employee. Lane has accepted the Emergency Services Response role effective immediately, and we value his tremendous dedication to the Red Cross mission, and the broad knowledge he brings to the role. Please join me in welcoming Lane (permanently!) to the team.

America’s Charities Workplace Giving Campaigns
I’d like to thank our board members who came out to the America’s Charities reception on Tuesday evening: Michael, Calvin, Felicia, Stacy Armijo, and Judge Shepperd came and spent time with Marty and me learning more about opportunities with workplace giving. Several staff members attended the America’s Charities annual meeting and speaker’s training the following day and I think we’re all looking forward to the fall campaigns.

Watch FOX News on Wednesday, July 1
Marty McKellips is scheduled to do a morning interview on FOX on Wednesday to talk about Fourth of July safety. There’s BBQ involved. Sounds good – even at 7 a.m.

Luling Watermelon Thump
Volunteer Dave Crittenden braved the heat to represent the Chapter at the annual Luling Watermelon Thump (pictured below). Dave has worked hard to raise visibility and volunteers for the Red Cross in Caldwell County, and we appreciate everything he does for this Chapter. We have plans to increase outreach through community events in other counties, so if you have suggestions about especially high-profile events, please let us know.

The Chapter will celebrate the Fourth of July by closing the offices on Friday, July 3.
I wish everyone a SAFE and fun weekend!

One World Camp Slideshow
Click on the image to view the slideshow.

One World Camp

Luing Watermelon Thump

Monday, June 22, 2009


From Elaine Acker, CEO

We have a cast of new “stars” here at the Chapter. Although I missed it because of channel surfing, I hear that Sara Kennedy, from our Education and Training Department did a fabulous job talking about water safety on KVUE this weekend. And then this morning, Melissa and Sara teamed with Kim Landry and Denise Blok’s kids, Kori and Riley, to promote the Babysitting Bootcamp on News 8. They did “live shots” all morning, followed by a taped segment. We’re getting calls from new participants, so they did a great job! Here’s the link to one of the babysitting segments.

America’s Charities
We’re also looking forward to the America’s Charities reception at Santa Rita Cantina tomorrow evening. I really appreciate everyone who’s decided to attend. I think this will be a great opportunity to meet some of our workplace giving partners and plan a strategy to open new doors this fall.
So.. that’s the latest. If you have anything you’d like to be sure we share among our staff and board, please send me a note.

Elaine Acker, CEO

Friday, June 19, 2009


Enjoy this video from late 2008, featuring student council president Ross McDonald and vice president Julian Oliveras presenting a donation to former CEO Derrick Chubbs.

Monday, June 15, 2009


From Elaine Acker, CEO

A World Apart, a Moment Together
Saturday was one of the most amazing experiences of my professional life. After months of working with our partners at One World Theater and LifeSize Communications, Saturday was the big day. Because of our Chapter, 12 military children were able to participate in One World’s summer theater camp. Because of LifeSize, most of those children were able to share their experience with their deployed family members. Can you say “goosebumps?”

The technology was incredible – the deployed parents watched the performance live. We could see them on the screen as part of the audience, looking proudly at their kids. There are no words to describe how rewarding this was. I walked in, saw the military parents’ faces on the screen, and felt the tears bubbling up. It worked. It really worked. I have to say an extra special THANK YOU to Michael Chaison without whom it would never have come together. Check out just a few of the photos below. Stay tuned for a slide show…

In the meantime, here’s the link to one of the News mentions:

The Education and Training Team reports that they have just inventoried all the products currently in stock, and it sounds like there’s a big SALE in the works! Keep an eye out for that announcement and you’ll have a chance to stock up on Red Cross goodies.

Also, the new course schedules are now posted online. Take a look and stay current on your training. And with Hurricane season officially here, be sure to take a look at any disaster classes that could help you learn even more about preparedness and response.

Outreach Efforts
Marty is off and running in her new role as Development & Communications Manager, Williamson County, and she and Melissa G. had a great visit with Sun City residents last Thursday. They talked about preparedness for the entire Sun City community, and the presentation was broadcast on Sun City’s community television network.
Volunteer Jim Dixon took the ERV to one of the Wal-Mart locations in Williamson County and had a chance to visit with area residents and help tell the community more about how to prepare for disasters. This kind of visibility will make a huge difference!

Debbie, Marty, and I have all done recent presentations to the City of Austin’s Public Works Department. By the time we’re done with the eight scheduled presentations, we will have reached more than 500 Public Works employees, reminding them about preparedness (especially since so many of them have a disaster response role as well), and also reminding them about the upcoming workplace giving campaigns in the fall.

Annual Meeting
Don’t forget to save the date, AUGUST 1, for our annual meeting and volunteer recognition celebration! We don’t have all the details yet, but it will be late afternoon – early evening. More info to come.
Questions? Comments? News? Send me a note! Thanks!

One World
One World and BAEOne World
One WorldOne World
One World

Friday, June 12, 2009


Members of Yanni's band who performed in the Yanni Voices tour at Frank Erwin Center were kind enough to sign our guitar!


Thursday, June 11, 2009


One World Theater and the American Red Cross of Central Texas partner for special program

One World, Austin's largest multi-cultural arts-in-education outreach organization and the American Red Cross of Central Texas have teamed up to create a very special program for the benefit of the children of military families who are faced with the challenges of having one or more deployed parent. Entitled, "A World Apart, a Moment Together," the program centers around One World's innovative performing arts summer camp program. Scholarships provided by One World and the American Red Cross of Central Texas have been given to 20 kids, ages 5-18, for the opportunity to be a part of a dynamic, full-length musical production of “Beauty Lou & The Country Beast.” The program is sponsored by BAE Systems.

The camp began on Monday, June 8, and will culminate with the musical’s performance on Saturday, June 13, at 12pm. Media are invited to attend the Saturday performance.
Campers will be given the rare opportunity to display their new talents on the One World stage, with a special twist.

Through a partnership with LifeSize, Austin's premier video conferencing development company and the international network of the American Red Cross of Central Texas, the overseas parent may be able to see their child in real-time as they perform, and the child may be able to see the pride on their parent's face as naturally as if they were in the actual audience. At the end of the performance, each child and their family may be given the opportunity to interact with their deployed loved one privately. Thanks to LifeSize, families may be connected to up to four different locations around the world for an experience that is both global and highly personal at the same time. 

“So many of our Central Texas military members are on multiple deployments and have missed out on a lot of special moments in their children’s lives,” says Michael Chaisson, Manager of Service to Military Families for Texas for the American Red Cross. “This is a chance to bring them closer to home.”

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


BAE Systems' volunteer organizations (CARE (Community Action and Recreational Events) committee, the Austin Diversity Council, and ACEs committee) hosted "Taste of Diversity" and invited us to come participate and enjoy food, great employees and a great culture. Proceeds raised from the event will go to the American Red Cross and the 3d Cavalry Association. Thank you, BAE!

Picture below are Red Cross staff members Steve Hailey, Debbie Immel; BAE staff Julie Wu and Jolee Pekarek; Red Cross staff Sinclair Fleetwood and Melissa Gray.

BAE Taste of Diversity