Thursday, July 30, 2009


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


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!



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:

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

Monday, July 20, 2009


From CEO Elaine Acker
The chapter responded to a multiple unit fire on Sunday morning at the Edge Creek Apartments. There were 48 units affected, and it looks like 24 have been completely destroyed. We’ve opened about 18 cases so far to assist clients. Marty McKellips was among the first on the scene, and she described it this way:

"I arrived on the scene about 8:15 am and some of our casework volunteers were already present and working with clients.  Many people were wearing only pajamas; some people were crying and all were very stressed. I requested mental health support and a volunteer arrived to offer that type of assistance. As the morning wore on, the number of volunteers grew and we were able to assist everyone waiting by about 12:30. Those in pajamas could now get a change of clothes, food, and knew they would have a place to stay tonight. It was a great tribute to our volunteers.

I want to commend Emergency Services Director Steve Hailey and all of our amazing volunteers and staff for a job well done. This was Steve’s first response with our Chapter."

Details From Emergency Services Director Steve Hailey's Initial Incident Report:

The American Red Cross of Central Texas provided:
10 Cases of Water
5 Boxes of Snacks
100 Comfort Kits

Eighteen client cases were opened while on-site. Five families were put up in hotels for three nights each and more casework will be conducted with residents throughout the week.

Thank you to Starbucks for their coffee donation.

More news coverage:

News 8:

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Read KLBJAM coverage

Red Cross disaster volunteers are on scene of a 4-Alarm apartment fire in North Austin. More details to come.

To donate to the Red Cross to make our disaster response efforts possible in our 9-county service area and to allow us to be on call 24/7/365 wherever we are needed, please DONATE NOW.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009


From Elaine Acker, CEO

Good afternoon, everyone, iIt’s great to be back in Austin, although I have to admit I thoroughly enjoyed the awesome weather in both D.C. and Seattle.

D.C. Trip
Judge Shepperd, Derrick Chubbs and I had a very productive trip to D.C. We, along with the other regional chapter CEOs and board chairs from our division, spent a half day with Gail McGovern, the Red Cross CEO, and another half day brainstorming the future of the national Red Cross. I feel really good about the time spent there and I know we’ll continue to see positive changes as the Red Cross tackles its financial challenges and transitions to a better business model.

KUT Features Babysitter’s Boot Camp
The  Education and Training department is working with the Development & Communications staff to raise visibility about classes. We’ve gotten a great response to the Babysitter’s Boot Camp, and here’s the link to the piece that ran on KUT: Excellent coverage!

Welcome Diane Ventresca, Director of Development & Communications
Diane Ventresca is in the house, so we now have a fully staffed Development & Communications department. Welcome, Diane!

Update from Williamson County
Marty has been knocking on lots of doors in Williamson County, and they’re opening! Here’s a quick update from Marty:
  • On Monday evening I will meet with a group of 18 neighborhood association leaders to talk about how they can be involved with the Red Cross and to explain how the CASHP works during a hurricane evacuation.
  • On Tuesday Steve Hailey and I will meet with the leadership of a citizen volunteer group organized through the Georgetown Police Department.  They also are interested in the role of the Red Cross in local disaster and how they can work with us.
  • On Wednesday our new Development director will spend the day in Georgetown to review our Development plan and learn how Williamson County can begin to play a bigger role.
  • Later this week I will work with a two large neighborhood associations to help plan a welcome home to more than 500 troops.  We are planning a giant barbeque. These same associations will soon be training their Neighborhood Watch group (more than 100 people) in CPR & first aid through our chapter.
  • Finally, on Saturday, Elaine & I will team teach the Red Cross Public Affairs class.  This is the first time this class has been taught at our chapter in several years.
Parking Lot Re-striped
Thanks a million to volunteer Homer Johnson who arranged to have our parking lot re-striped. It looks GREAT! The parking lot striping was donated to the chapter by Bob at B&B Pavement Markings.  Thanks to both Homer for arranging and Bob for the generous donation!

Don’t forget
The Volunteer Recognition event and annual meeting is scheduled for 4 pm on August 23 at the Dell Diamond. If you haven’t already done so, please RSVP and let us know how many from your family will be attending!
Until next week…

Monday, July 6, 2009



The American Red Cross of Central Texas has the tips and first aid courses available to keep Central Texans safe this summer—whether through grilling and fireworks safety, or first aid and heat safety education to prevent serious injury. After a spate of home fires over the July 4 holiday weekend, summer safety has never been more important.

The American Red Cross of Central provided immediate disaster response to four families affected in 2 separate home and mobile home fires in Travis County over the weekend. Assistance included hotel stays, food, clothing, comfort kits, diapers and stuffed animals. The Red Cross is also currently in the process of providing disaster relief and assistance to a Bastrop family also affected by a weekend fire.

“Luckily these families escaped safely, but a precious member of one family, a dog, was lost, along with medications and a wheelchair,” said CEO Elaine Acker. “We urge Central Texans to go onto our website to learn how to stay safe this summer, keep your pets safe and to get trained in CPR and First Aid. That way your whole family can be prepared for any situation.”

The Red Cross advises all citizens to “Be Red Cross Ready” in 3 easy steps: Get a Kit, Make a Plan and Be Informed. Disaster Supply Kits can be purchased directly from the Red Cross website or be built using a brochure guide also found online. A Family Disaster Plan is an essential component of preparedness, and the tips to create one can also be found online. Finally, families should stay informed of changing conditions and advisories with an emergency radio or through a live weather map on the Red Cross website, through Red Cross brochures or web materials.

To read the full range of safety tips for any situation or disaster, go online to Safety tips are downloadable and are written in clear, easy-to-read language. Many brochures are also available in Spanish.
To view the full range of health and safety courses, go to Classes are affordable and open to all ages and levels of experience.


The American Red Cross of Central Texas has many ways volunteers can help their community this summer and be a part of President Barack Obama’s nationwide effort – United We Serve. 

“We are pleased to participate in United We Serve and thank the President for making this call to service,” said CEO Elaine Acker. “Everyone has something to give. By serving this summer, we hope more people will make an ongoing commitment to volunteering throughout the year.”

Volunteers can participate in special events, join the public information team, be on the front line of disaster response or promote health and safety courses in the community, plus much more. Go to our volunteering section to learn more!
10 Ways to Volunteer
1. Tell the Red Cross story as a member of the speaker’s bureau. Represent the Red Cross at community events like the America’s Charities workplace giving campaign.

2. Thank Red Cross contributors. Give 2 - 3 hours of your time to thank friends and neighbors who support the mission of the Red Cross.

3. Challenge your friends and family. Be the first to recruit the most participants for babysitting, CPR and First Aid classes or enlist the most people to become “Red Cross Ready” by taking the 10-minute online Red Cross education program.

4. Help your neighbors be prepared for a disaster. Distribute information on disasters common to your community and build disaster kits to help friends and neighbors prepare for emergencies, or comfort kits for those personally affected by disasters.

5. When there is a major disaster, lend your time and skills to support the Red Cross disaster relief effort. It’s easy to get training and receive an orientation through local volunteer resource centers. Stay in touch to receive updates on when these centers are activated.

6. Share your caring and humanity with people around the world. Join the world-wide movement to vaccinate children against measles by raising awareness of the Red Cross Measles Initiative. Make your neighbors aware of Red Cross services to help locate loved ones in other countries separated by disasters and war.

7. Ensure your community has adequate sheltering in the event of an emergency by taking Shelter Manager training.

8. Lend a hand to a local military family by utilizing your counseling skills to help family members cope with deployments or educate them about aid available. Help sort Holiday Cards for Heroes in December, ensuring military personnel and their families worldwide are remembered during the holiday season.

9. Be a bridge to your community. Lend your skills as a bilingual volunteer to work directly with those affected by disasters who may face a language barrier.

10. Get the inside scoop on chapter operations. Come down to the local chapter to answer phones, complete and log paperwork or help keep supplies inventoried and stocked and official vehicles maintained.