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 décor 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!

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