Tuesday, 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


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


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


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!