Thursday, December 30, 2010


Photo by Deborah Cannon, Austin American Statesman
 Our very own Betty Hendrix, volunteer extraordinaire, recently received the well deserved title of Volunteer of the Year from the Austin American Statesman.

Betty began volunteering with the American Red Cross in 1944, rolling bandages as part of the war effort.  Now more than 66 years later, her dedication to the American Red Cross has not waivered.  Betty currently serves as a family services caseworker and makes sure that families receive the services they need to recover from a disaster.  She has also been a mentor and an inspiration to many other American Red Cross volunteers and staff members.

We are so grateful to have a volunteer like Betty!  We simply could not provide the services that we do and fulfill our mission without the dedicated individuals that give so much of their time and expertise without asking for anything in return.

A special thank you to all of our volunteers -- YOU make this organization successful!

You can click here to see the full Austin American Statesman article.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I had just moved to Austin in late December 2009 from Los Angeles and I didn't know a soul in the city. Just before moving here, I made a promise to myself that I wanted to do more in my community and also in my life. And being brand new to a city, I thought a great way to meet people was to get involved and volunteer.  I considered many options but I made my decision with the American Red Cross and was readily accepted. My duties on the first day were that of a phone receptionist. It was overwhelming to learn the various departments and where to direct the calls, but it was a welcomed challenge. At the end of the day I felt most fulfilled and decided this is where I wanted to be. That was February 2010. To date, I continue my weekly volunteering at the American Red Cross and I look forward to it every week. I enjoy the staff and the work that the American Red Cross is dedicated to. I believe strongly in giving back in the world and have seen first hand what a difference that can make. This past September, Tropical Storm Hermine disrupted the lives of many in Williamson County. My duties were in the area of Damage Assessment. It has been both a privilege and enlightening experience to be an American Red Cross volunteer. 
Sandy Villetti
Proud Volunteer


On Wednesday, November 24 we received the tragic news that our friend and Red Cross volunteer Greg Coleman had died in a plane crash in Florida.  It was a stunning turn of events on the day before Thanksgiving.  Greg was piloting his plane to Florida with his mother in law, Charlene Black Miller and her brother, James Patrick Black as passengers.  The family was gathering in Florida for their annual Thanksgiving Day celebration.

Greg was an accomplished attorney with several successful appearances before the Supreme Court. He was Texas’ first Solicitor General.  He was also a devoted father and husband.  He had been a member of the Board of Directors of the American Red Cross of Central Texas since 2008.

On a personal note, I will always remember Greg as soft spoken but brilliant.  He said very little during most board meetings but when he did speak we all listened. 

Memorial contributions can be made in Greg’s memory to the American Red Cross of Central Texas, or to the Gregory S. Coleman Memorial Scholarship Fund at the University of Texas, School of Law.

Marty McKellips, CEO of the American Red Cross of Central Texas

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Come downtown to Third Base Sports Bar (1717 West 6th #210r, Austin, TX 78703) Monday, December 6th during the Patriots vs. Jets Monday Night Football Game for a silent auction of autographed sports gear from your favorite teams! The auction begins around 7:00 pm, with nothing but the best from college and professional teams you love. All items are certified authentic by Tyson Sports andbest of all—half of all proceeds  go toward supporting the American Red Cross of Central Texas.

Support your team; help save lives!

Monday, November 29, 2010


I was in my hometown of El Paso over the Thanksgiving weekend. I was about to sit down to dinner when I received an email on my phone that notified me of a house fire here in central Texas. It was to be the first of three fires that took place over the long weekend that left eight people without a home including five children.

As I was thinking about what the staff and volunteers do here at the Red Cross I realized how thankful I am for the work that they all do. Volunteers showed up to every fire and made sure that those affected had a place to stay for the night and food to eat. Although we could not bring their homes back, we could at least provide a little bit of comfort and warmth in the form of blankets and a listening ear.

The American Red Cross is urging everyone to take the necessary precautions to have a safe and happy holiday season. For more information please visit our website or call us at (512-928-4271).

Monday, November 22, 2010


Hello, Central Texas! This is Luke Mizuhashi, a new volunteer at the American Red Cross. My first experience with the organization was in the Central Ohio chapter, where I organized a benefit concert to raise donations immediately following the terrorist attacks of September 11. Both I and members of my family continue to keep our relationship with the community alive, volunteering to help those in need when we can, where we can.

I look forward to lending a hand with Amir in communications. For the past three years, I have worked and lived in Tokyo, Japan, where I worked in corporate communications for a large Japanese company. Prior to that I worked my way through college making movies and hanging lights for theater companies. I really look forward to using the skills I picked up along the way to support Central Texas.

Hook 'em Horns!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


This morning I was reminded, yet again, of why we do what we do. Your American Red Cross of Central Texas responded to a large house fire early this morning. A total of ten people were left homeless, including six children. Our amazing volunteers were there shortly after being notified by the fire department of the incident.

The Red Cross sat down with the family and provided much needed comfort and a listening ear.

The American Red Cross urges all Central Texans to check their fire detectors and have a plan in case of a fire. If you would like further information please click here.

Friday, November 12, 2010


As the Communications Coordinator at the American Red Cross of Central Texas, I constantly tell people that we help 5 to 6 military families every day. That your American Red Cross provides emergency communications between service men and women and their families. That we provide financial assistance to military personnel who need to come home for medical or family emergencies. Yesterday, however, I was able to see why what we do is so important. Red Cross volunteers walked and drove our Emergency Response Vehicle in Austin’s annual Veterans Day Parade. I saw dozens of people, many in uniform, lining Congress Avenue cheering and honoring those who have fought or fighting for our country.  It was an honor and privilege for the American Red Cross to be asked to participate in yesterday’s event. A special thanks to Wray Hooper, Barbara, Lewellen, Emergency Services Director Jose Dominguez, Community Resources Director Thad Rosenfeld and Fred and Marcia Marks (who drove our ERV!) for their participation!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


The season of giving is drawing near, and this year you can give the gift that saves the day.  Make a tribute gift to the American Red Cross of Central Texas and help us save lives and respond to disasters this holiday season and all year long.  Choose from two specially designed holiday cards to send to the person of your choice, letting them know of your generous gift.  Got a big list this year?  Don’t know what to get your employees, friends or business associates?  We can handle that, too.  Best of all, your gift is tax deductible.


Our holiday cards are also available for purchase at a suggested donation of $3 per card or 5 for $10.  For more information about Holiday Tribute Giving, to make a gift or order cards, please contact Cory Martin at 512.929.1250 or

Friday, November 5, 2010

The American Red Cross of Central Texas Responds to 2 Alarm Apartment Fire

Our Disaster Reponse Teams reponded last night to a 2 alarm fire that ripped through the Silvervale Apartments in north Austin.  A total of 14 units were damaged leaving 34 adults and 9 children without a place to stay on one of the coldest nights of the year.

Our staff quickly distributed blankets, comfort kits and snacks to the families that were affected and were able to work with the apartment complex management to temporarily move them to vacant units in the complex.  We will continue to work with those families that will need further assistance.

Events like this remind us why we do what we do.  We are so thankful to our volunteers and supporters who allow us to provide comfort and hope to families in their darkest hour.

Take a look at the video below for more on-the-scene information.  You can also visit the KXAN and KEYE websites for more news stories about the fire and how the Red Cross is helping.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


The American Red Cross is excited to announce that a new Learning Management System (LMS) is being implemented for the entire organization that will be able to better track participant learning and courses offered by Red Cross chapters, instructors and authorized providers.  Online learning and blended learning courses will also be offered through this system.  Full implementation by your local Central Texas chapter is scheduled for December 2010.

Benefits to this new system include:
  • Real time access to student and instructor training records online
  • Instructors will receive automatic notifications regarding updates and re-certifications
  • A self service option for authorized providers to enter course information, make payments and print certificates
  • Instructors will have the ability to access their instructor certifications by saving or printing a transcript
We are truly excited to be offering this new system and hope that it will make it even easier for the public to learn skills that could one day save a life!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Are you a die hard sports fanatic?  Do you love collecting memorabilia?  Then this Thursday may be your lucky day!

The American Red Cross of Central Texas is hosting a silent auction in the private dining room of the Westin Austin at the Domain Hotel on Thursday, October 28th from 5pm - 6:30pm.  We will be auctioning off all types of authentic autographed sports paraphernalia and memorabilia.

There is sure to be something for everyone so please come support your local American Red Cross of Central Texas and join us at this event!

Friday, October 15, 2010


The last week in September, members of the Texas State American Red Cross Club, led by president Victoria Arevalo, honored our community’s bravest by bringing homemade gift baskets to local firefighters. Visiting several fire stations, the members of the Texas State spent the afternoon learning about safety and preparedness while sharing the candies and treats they brought to the firefighters. This is an annual event the Texas State Red Cross club holds to recognize the outstanding efforts of firefighters in Hays County during September’s National Preparedness Month.

Strong relationships with fire departments are essential to the mission of the American Red Cross, as we work with emergency responders to meet the immediate needs of individuals affected by disasters like housefires as often as every other day.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


La Cruz Roja Americana de Centro Texas ayudó a dos familias que fueron afectadas por un incendio que completamente destruyo dos casas en el norte de Austin. La Cruz Roja necesita sus donativos. Si quiere dar por favor valla a esta dirección:

Para ver lo que hizo la Cruz Roja para las familias nadamas vea el noticiero a bajo del 5 de Octubre. 

Monday, September 27, 2010


We are very excited to have the Alamo Drafthouse and Master Pancake Theater hosting a one-night-only show mocking The Day After Tomorrow to benefit the American Red Cross of Central Texas!

The show is Wednesday night, September 29th at 7pm at the Alamo Ritz downtown and tickets are now on sale.  The Master Pancake shows have a tendency to sell out quickly so if you would like to go be sure and get your tickets soon.  See you there!

UPDATE:  The show was a huge success and incredibly funny!  We also learned that flipping rubber pancakes into a frying pan is harder than it looks.  A huge thanks to the Alamo Drafthouse and the Master Pancake team...we look forward to doing it again next year!

This year, a sweater won't be enough.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


On Monday, the American Red Cross of Central Texas responded to a duplex fire in South Austin.  Helping out the families affected were a Red Cross Disaster Action Team and several public information officers. All residents, including 3 dogs, a ferret, a cat, and a boa constrictor made it safely out of the building.  Because of the extensive damage (see photos below), the Red Cross was able to provide relief and recovery in the form of temporary housing, clothing, and other assistance. 

House fires like the one on Monday happen roughly every 48 hours here in Central Texas, and the American Red Cross is always ready to respond.  For the past several weeks, volunteers and staff are simultaneously supporting fire victims and flood victims in the wake of Tropical Storm Hermine.  Our normal disaster response continues even during major disasters.  For more information on how to get involved with your American Red Cross please visit

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


We are very excited to have the Alamo Drafthouse and Master Pancake Theater hosting a one-night-only show mocking The Day After Tomorrow to benefit the American Red Cross of Central Texas!

The show is next Wednesday night, September 29th at 7pm at the Alamo Ritz downtown and tickets are now on sale.  The Master Pancake shows have a tendency to sell out quickly so if you would like to go be sure and get your tickets soon.  See you there!

This year, a sweater won't be enough.

Friday, September 17, 2010



Please send the following information to
First and Last Name
Street Address
City, State and Zip
Phone Number

We will call these individuals to schedule an appointment to meet with a caseworker at our Client Assistance Site, once damage assessment for your address has been completed.  Please note that we are only able to offer assistance to those with homes classified as having Major Damage or Destroyed at this time.  We are not able to offer assistance to owners of  non-residential structures.  Thank you for your patience as we respond to this disaster within our community.  If you have any questions, please call our offices at (512) 928-4271 or 1-800-928-4271.

Additional Resources: 
Williamson County -

Assistance eligibility is based on Damage Assessment guidelines set forth by the American Red Cross and other local and federal agencies and is based on water levels reached inside the single family dwelling, apartment or mobile home, in addition to other considerations.  Currently we are assisting those whose homes have been classified as Major Damage or Destroyed.  Unfortunately, we do not have the financial resources to offer assistance to all homes affected by flooding at this time.  

Single Family Home or Apartment 
  • Major Damage -   36 to 60 inches of water in the living area of the dwelling
  • Destroyed - 60 inches or more of water in the living area of the dwelling

Mobile Home
  •  Major Damage -   24 to 48 inches of water in the living area of the dwelling
  • Destroyed - 48 inches or more of water in the living area of the dwelling
The American Red Cross of Central Texas has closed all shelters in Central Texas. Governor Rick Perry has issued a disaster proclamation for Bastrop, Burnet, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, and Williamson counties in Central Texas.  We are currently working with our volunteers to assess the damages left behind by Hermine. Once damage assessment is complete, the ARC national office will make a decision on what type of aid we will be able to extend based on the damages. Please note, it may take up two weeks for the Red Cross and other agencies to thoroughly assess the damage cause by this flood.

Please read and follow our guide to RETURNING HOME AFTER A FLOOD to begin the cleanup process. Here are some additional tips to help you document the damage: 
  • Take good pictures of all damages, especially water marks showing how high the water line rose. Document interior damage as well as exterior.
  • Keep receipts for every single expenditure. That way you will have as many options as possible for reimbursement through insurance and government programs.
  • Refer to the Williamson County website for additional guidance:
  • For Agricultural Damage:  Craig Enhlemann, USDA at 512.863.8576
 Williamson County Government Resources for Hermine Victims 
Williamson County (all residents) – Williamson County Landfill has waived or reduced fees to help flood victims during cleanup.  More information is available:

Williamson County Landfill is off of FM 1660, at 600 Landfill Rd, Hutto, TX  78634.  You can reach them for more information at 512-846-2756 or 512-759-8881.

Cedar Park – Residents should report damage to Emergency Management Coordinator James Mallinger at 

Georgetown – Residents should report damage to or 512-930-2550.  Residents can also request help with clean up from Emergency Management Coordinator Kevin Stofle at 

Leander – Residents should report damage to Public Works at 512-259-2640 

Unincorporated Areas of Williamson County – Residents should report damage to county office of Emergency Management at or 512-943-3747.  Residents may need permits to rebuild earthworks, roads, houses, or outbuildings, and should contact the county Floodplain Administrator at 512-943-3620.

If you would like to donate to this and future relief efforts, please visit our DONATE page.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


The American Red Cross of Central Texas opened three shelters in Williamson County after heavy rainfall forced the evacuation of some residents in that county beginning yesterday evening. The Georgetown shelter, located at 1003 North Austin Blvd, will remain open through the night. The Round Rock shelter, located at the Clay Madsen Center, has closed as of this afternoon. The shelter that had been opened in the early morning hours in Florence has been closed, and is on standby to be reopened this evening.

American Red Cross employees and volunteers  have worked around the clock to staff the three shelters since  their opening yesterday evening, with relief volunteers arriving during the day so that the night shift could get some much needed rest.  Dedicated employees and volunteers in emergency services and disaster response often work very long hours, particularly during the initial phase of the response, in order to make sure our clients get the services they need.  

Red Cross provided breakfast, lunch, snacks, blankets and other personal items that will help people get through this difficult time as they await news on the condition of their homes. All of these services are provided free of charge through the generosity and monetary donations of Central Texans.  You can make a donation to help us be prepared for the next disaster by visiting our website at

Thursday, September 2, 2010


The epic hurricane season of 2005 was a defining chapter in American Red Cross history. Five years ago, Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma changed the lives of millions of people across the United States, and prompted a response by the Red Cross that was unprecedented in size and scope. 

Even before media images of destruction and despair jolted the nation, trained Red Cross responders were already in action. Generous donors from across the country and around the world made it possible to mount one of the largest disaster responses in American history – a response that tested the limits of the Red Cross and our nation as a whole.

Approximately 350,000 residences were destroyed or severely damaged - ranging from southeastern Texas across the Gulf of Mexico to the Florida Keys. The demand for help was enormous. Donors gave the Red Cross a total of $2.2 billion for people affected by the storms, and with the help of 245,000 Red Cross disaster workers, many of them volunteers, the Red Cross assisted millions of people by providing shelter, food and other basic needs.

The Red Cross had more than 3.8 million overnight stays in shelters across 31 states and the District of Columbia – seven times any previous record. Nearly 68 million meals and snacks were served, four times more than what the Red Cross had ever provided during past relief efforts. Emergency financial assistance was provided to 1.4 million families – about 4 million people.  Here in Central Texas, the entire community came together to care for more than 20,000 people.

Relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina were larger than anything the Red Cross had handled before. Since then, the Red Cross has reset the bar on responses to large-scale disasters, improving the capacity for response, and increasing the availability of resources.

The number of trained volunteers has increased from 25,000 to nearly 95,000, with 50,000 of them available to travel to help with disasters around the country.  Relief supplies are pre-positioned in areas of the country prone to disasters – enough resources to respond to devastation twice the size of Katrina. Ongoing planning occurs at the local, state, and national level to respond to large-scale disasters.  The American Red Cross of Central Texas now has more than 600 active volunteers in nine counties.

Partnerships are established with national and local organizations who are able to lend the Red Cross their specific expertise and human resources. The use of technology has expanded; the National Shelter System is easily accessible online and the Safe and Well site has improved in ways that will help families better connect during and after disasters.

Perhaps the biggest lesson learned from five years ago is that the government and the Red Cross will never be able to provide all the relief necessary in every disaster without a focus on preparedness. Everyone must play a role. The nation needs communities that are better prepared, with every person, business, school and house of worship ready to take care of themselves and their neighbors. 
Families need to plan how to deal with disasters. They need to know what emergencies are most likely to happen where they live, learn, work and play. It’s important to plan what should happen if family members are separated. They need a way to keep informed before, during and after a disaster. And a family member should be trained in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and first aid.  Each year your local Red Cross trains more than 20,000 people in these life-saving skills.
Businesses, schools and organizations need to have proper safety and emergency supplies on hand, as well as staff trained in CPR and first aid. They need to plan on how they will continue to operate in a disaster, and work to ensure their employees are prepared at home so they can return to work soon after an emergency.

Large disasters will strike this country again. The fifth anniversary of the hurricanes of 2005 should be a reminder that the unthinkable can happen and that everyone must do their part to prepare. The investments made in preparedness today can save lives and livelihoods tomorrow. 

Make a plan.  Build a disaster kit. Get trained.  To learn how, visit 

-Marty McKellips, CEO of the American Red Cross of Central Texas

Monday, August 30, 2010


The 2010 Swim-A-Cross season was a huge success.  More than $7,000 was raised to support the mission of the American Red Cross of Central Texas and raise money for the local swim teams who participated.  

Thank you 2010 Swimmers!

Anderson Mill Barracudas
Balcones Woods Blue Wave
Canyon Creek Cyclones
City of Austin Neighborhood Swim Team Program
Forest North Stingrays
Travis Country Sharks
Lakeway Lakers

Special thanks to the following in-kind donors who supported Swim-A-Cross this year:


In the early morning hours of Sunday, August 29, residents of the Bainbridge Villas in South Austin fled from their homes as fire engulfed the apartment building.  The American Red Cross of Central Texas was at the scene and helped the approximately 40 residents who had been displaced find shelter, food and clothing.  The apartment complex management and the Red Cross worked together to ensure that everyone affected had a place to stay, either with family members or in vacant units at the complex.  Our fantastic Disaster Team volunteers also talked with each victim and provided money for food and clothing.

The best way to help victims of disasters such as these is to donate your time as a volunteer or donate financially.  Information about volunteering and ways to donate can be found on our website

Friday, August 27, 2010


We recently recieved the following email from one of our American Red Cross of Central Texas instructors:

I have had a wonderful summer teaching swimming to students, scouts and children with varying degrees of disablilites. Teaching students with challenges is very rewarding for me, them, and for their families. I had five children with Down's Syndrome this summer who were exceptional. They start lessons inhibited, disruptive, loud and uncomfortable. As the week progresses they are so proud of each and every skill they learn. They are loving as they learn to trust me, willing to try new things, and, most of all, demanding to swim again and again. Most of the time I mainstream these children with other students or siblings who encourage each other. At the end of lessons, they get a button (frog, turtle, duck) to sew on their bathing suit or towel and a sucker as a reward.  I get the satisfaction from knowing that these special children learned something new and their families are amazed with their progress. I learned many many years ago when I began as a Red Cross volunteer, we always help those in need with love and care.  All people, especially children, need to learn to swim and be safe in and around water.  Please see that your children get instructions for water safety.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


At 4:00 pm, the American Red Cross of Central Texas was notified by the Bastrop County Sheriffs department to provide canteen services for a brush fire off of FM 2336 and Oak Hill Cemetery Road. Over 200 acres were affected and 65 emergency responders were on the scene. The American Red Cross of Central Texas Mass Care Action Team was activated and responded within an hour. Billy's Pit BBQ donated meals for all the responders


One World Theatre along with Lifesize and the Red Cross of Central Texas held a week long camp for 50 military service children ranging in ages from 4 to 15 years old from across Texas. The week was filled with fun activities and rehearsals for the grand finale show: a rendition of the Wizard of Oz. Deployed service members in Iraq and Afghanistan were able to watch their children perform via network connections. After the play , service members in Iraq and Afghanistan were able to watch their families one on one providing an emotional, yet uplifting, end to fun filled week. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Back from their month-long deployment, Fred and Marcia Marks, the American Red Cross of Central Texas Volunteers of the Year, finally received their award.  Following their tireless efforts to assist flooding victims in South Texas, the Marks were presented with their award by Chief Executive Officer Marty McKellips upon their return.  Everyone at the chapter is grateful for the determination and hard work the Marks put into their relief efforts, and we all welcome them back home.

 Fred and Marcia Marks holding their award alongside chapter executive Marty McKellips

This past week the chapter also recognized outstanding volunteers and staff.  Rhonda Usener of accounting was recognized for reaching her thirty-fifth year of service to the American Red Cross.  Emergency Services Director Jose Dominguez and volunteer client caseworker Betty Hendrix were recognized for their outstanding commitment to mission fulfillment and will serve as the chapter's nominees for the National Red Cross Presidential Award for Excellence.

Presidential Award for Excellence nominee Betty Hendrix and Marty McKellips

Emergency Services Director & Presidential Award for Excellence nominee Jose Dominguez and Marty McKellips


Grace Speaks, along with her classmates in the 5th grade leadership program at Riverplace Elementary in Austin worked together to create toiletry packages for homeless veterans.  Distributed through the American Red Cross of Central Texas Totes of Hope program, the packages will help former soldiers by providing nonperishable food, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, and other daily necessities.  The students conducted a toiletry drive as part of a community service and leadership exercise designed to improve their local community.

Chief Development Officer Debbie Immel with Grace Speaks of Riverplace Elementary


Last weekend more than 70 students gathered for the American Red Cross of Central Texas Youth Leadership Development Retreat.  This two-day leadership conference focused on social development, community involvement, team building, and many other topics designed to produce strong youth leaders in the greater Austin area.  Featuring keynote speaker Senator John Cornyn, the students learned through seminars and workshops from local business executives, nonprofit leaders, and citizens who have devoted their lives to public service.  Thanks to a generous military grant, participants of the conference from military families attended free of charge.

Conference Participants with Senator John Cornyn

On Saturday the students welcomed the Senator, Councilwoman Laura Morrison, Red Cross executive Marty McKellips and Divisional Vice President Derrick Chubbs, Taryn Davis of the American Widow Project, Dr. Thea Hurts, Adrienne Longenecker and David Davenport of the Capital Area Food Bank, Dana Weis, motivational speaker Los Ellis, former nonprofit CEO Karen Langley, and Pamela Westover of St. Mary's University.  As a special treat on Saturday, Senator Cornyn presented a Certificate of Merit, the highest honor a lay responder can receive, to  Jenny Thomas, an area teen who helped save her friend's life using response skills she learned from the American Red Cross.

On Sunday the students welcomed James Young of Spredfast who presented positive ways to utilize social media, Diane Ventresca, Sinclair Fleetwood and Bob Bridge from the American Red Cross and Caroline Boudreaux of the Miracle Foundation.  Following a lunch generously donated by Chuy's, the participants learned from Mary Gordon Spence, Dawn Perkins of Front Steps, and Rachel Muir of GirlSTART.  Serving as a great end to the conference, Judy Maggio of keye-tv spoke of her career in broadcasting.

Many of the students in attendance at the conference have already achieved success within their communities.  Local girl scouts at the conference assembled more than 800 emergency kits so their neighborhoods would be prepared in a disaster.  "I enjoyed a lot of the speakers and was able to learn how to use social media," said conference attendee Matthew Evans, who has already started his own environmental nonprofit organization.  Officers from area Red Cross clubs were also at the conference, ready to learn new leadership skills to help support their clubs in the fall.

Want to learn more about next year's youth leadership conference or how to start your own American Red Cross Club?  Click HERE or contact Amber Cooney at

Monday, August 2, 2010


Watch out Central Texas...Club Red is on its way!

Club Red is a new young professionals group that has committed to supporting the American Red Cross of Central Texas through fundraising, volunteering, mentoring, building awareness and connecting within the community.

Their kickoff event was held last Thursday, July 29th, at the Gibson Bar on South Lamar.  Delicious drink specials and appetizers fueled the party that lasted well after Happy Hour!  Michael Barnes of the Austin American Statesman covered the event in his "Out and About" column and noted that "These are young leaders to watch".  A HUGE thanks and kudos go out the Club Red Board who organized the event...we are so grateful to have you supporting us!

To learn more about Club Red, please visit


Many people know the Red Cross for its disaster relief work and blood services, but helping people be prepared for emergencies is another important part of our work.

The Red Cross is practicing what we preach on preparedness, as we are working to be ready to respond to disasters of all sizes—down the street in Central Texas, across the country and around the world.

With a severe hurricane season predicted, the Red Cross is making a fundraising push now; we are asking for contributions that support our readiness for the 70,000 disasters the Red Cross responds to every year, whether they are hurricanes that affect millions of people here or abroad, floods that affect thousands, or a house fire that drives one family from its home.

Here in Central Texas, the Red Cross has responded to 85 fires so far this year, and across Texas, the Red Cross has already responded to two significant floods.

While the news media has focused its attention on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and on Haiti, it’s important to know that the American Red Cross has responded to 29 significant disasters in the U.S. so far in 2010. These have included floods in Tennessee, North Dakota, the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, tornadoes in the South and Midwest, and major fires in communities across the country including those currently taking place in California.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts between three to seven major hurricanes this year. Major hurricanes are those Category 3, 4, and 5 storms that do the most damage such as Hurricanes Andrew, Katrina, Rita and Wilma, with winds in excess of 100 miles per hour. More than 35 million people live in regions vulnerable to Atlantic hurricanes, and many in the Gulf Coast region are already experiencing hardship as a result of the oil spill.

The Red Cross is very worried about predictions of a severe hurricane season and the possibility that people will need to evacuate their homes for longer periods of time given the oil in the Gulf.

While media and public attention comes when a hurricane makes landfall, what’s often missed are the preparations made by the Red Cross to be ready to respond well before the hurricane hits. For example, the Red Cross already has pre-positioned equipment and materials near areas that could be hit by hurricanes. In addition, the Red Cross frequently moves supplies and people closer to an area threatened by a hurricane so they can be ready to respond quickly.

These preparations are costly. For example, as Hurricane Alex gathered strength in late June and threatened the Gulf coast, the Red Cross deployed 133 people, 17 emergency response vehicles and kitchen equipment to south Texas and put other vehicles and crews on stand-by.

And these disaster preparations are on top of the other floods, tornadoes and fires that the Red Cross is already responding to on a nearly daily basis.

The Red Cross spends about $450 million a year responding to nearly 70,000 disasters across the country – floods, wildfires, tornados and home fires.

No other non-governmental organization can respond to disasters on the size and scale of the Red Cross—but the Red Cross depends on donations from the American public to be ready. And we work hard to be excellent stewards of those donor dollars.

That’s why the Central Texas Chapter and other Red Cross chapters across the country are asking for help for disaster relief, and we hope that people will respond. They can click, text or call to donate to the Red Cross to help people affected by disasters like hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, fires and earthquakes, as well as countless crises at home and around the world.

People who want to make a contribution can visit, call 1-800-RedCross to support American Red Cross Disaster Response, or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Every single donation brings hope to those in need.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Mohmmad Ali, Amir Karovaliya, Marty McKellips (ARC), Sharif Prasala.
American Red Cross of Central Texas CEO Marty McKellips presented the Greater Austin Merchants Cooperative Association (GAMA) with a Good Neighbor Certificate at their offices on July 21,2010.  

GAMA serves convenience store and gasoline station owners by equipping them with bulk purchasing power, industry know-how, and the right connections to strengthen their business practices.  In cooperation with their member stores, GAMA has partnered with the American Red Cross of Central Texas through Fund Red canister drives, placing more than 700 canisters in their stores to collect donations from customers and patrons.  

Since 2008, GAMA member stores have raised more than $7,500.00 for relief efforts in response to Hurricane Ike and the Haiti Earthquake, while also helping the local chapter provide relief to families affected by disasters here in Central Texas.

Thank you GAMA!

Amir Karovaliya, President of GAMA and Marty McKellips, CEO of The ARC of Central Texas

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


From left to right: Stacy Allen, Barbara Allen, Stephen MacMillan Moser, Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr, American Red Cross of Central Texas CEO Marty McKellips, and "Buddy the bartender."

Red Cross supporters, friends, board members and staff had a terrific evening of fun at the Ruth’s Chris Celebrity Bartender event on Thursday July 15th.  All bar tips for the evening were donated to the local Red Cross and we raised $617!  A big THANK YOU to Ruth’s Chris and our celebrity bartenders and hostesses:

  • Stephen MacMillan Moser – style avatar from the Austin Chroncle – who by the way was dressed to thrill!
  • Stacy Allen – Red Cross board chair and partner at Jackson Walker LLP – who can always fall back on bartending when he retires from the attorney gig!
  • Austin Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr – who never says “no” to us and ALWAYS charms the crowd with her humor and infectious laugh!
  • Barbara Allen – local business woman and fundraiser extraordinare who wows everyone with her gorgeous smile and sense of fun!

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse couldn’t have been nicer to us – they are wonderful people and have great food and drinks – please go show them some love by patronizing their establishment.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Yesterday at the Dell Diamond in Round Rock, volunteers of the American Red Cross of Central Texas celebrated another successful year with the Round Rock Express as they took on the Oklahoma City Redhawks. We would like to send out a special thanks to all of the great volunteers and families who attended the event.

Volunteers from the Central Texas chapter’s nine-county jurisdiction joined friends and family to honor exceptional volunteers and their hard work.  Although some of this year’s award recipients couldn’t attend the celebration because they were deployed to South Texas to provide disaster relief from flooding, their efforts were recognized.

Check out this video to see what your American Red Cross of Central Texas has been up to this year:

Here are the biographies of this year’s exceptional volunteer award winners.

Volunteers of the Year, Fred and Marcia Marks - This year’s Volunteer of the Year Award winner is actually TWO people. This married couple teaches some of the disaster services classes offered by the Red Cross. They also are always ready, willing, and able to deploy out of town or out of state to help those affected by disaster.  In the past month alone – they have been deployed 3 different times – once to New Braunfels for the flooding there, last week they deployed to South Texas for Hurricane Alex, and three days ago they headed back down to the area to help those displaced by floodwaters – and so are unable to be here.  The Volunteers of the Year for 2010 are Fred and Marcia Marks.
Ellen Schiver – Military Services has always been a part of this Volunteer’s life. This year’s recipient has embodied her volunteer efforts with our Chapter by being a constant presence at any Military event expressing how vital the partnership between Military Services and the American Red Cross is to our service members. This year’s Service to the Armed Forces is Ellen Schiver.

Nora Druepple – Not only is this Volunteer a full time Social Worker, but she has become one of the Chapter’s most popular instructors because of her contagious personality as well as her compassion towards our clients. This year’s Mental Health Professional of the Year is Nora Druepple.

Mike Wadino
– Reverend Shuler will be so proud to know that this year’s recipient leads with his heart. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday there is no doubt that if you walk into Disaster Services you will be greeted with big smile. His involvement as a Disaster Action Team Member, Service to the Armed Forces and most recently as a Financial Statistical Information Volunteer are a testament to this Volunteer’s dedication. It is with great pleasure to present this year’s Walter Shuler Disaster Services Award to Mike Wadino. Mr. Wadino was unable to make it this evening. The Chapter will make sure he is notified.

Phillip Smith - The Education & Training Award is given to a volunteer who supports it the Chapter in achieving its goals to train new volunteers, teach life-saving skills such as CPR and first aid to the public, and make the department as efficient as possible. This evening’s award winner fits that description to a T.  He teaches first aid and CPR on a regular basis.  And we always know that if another instructor can’t make their scheduled class this volunteer is ready, willing and able to step in. That’s why it is our pleasure to recognize this year’s Education & Training Award recipient, Phillip Smith.

Emmett Eary – Without a doubt being a Disaster Action Team member requires stamina, focus, dedication and most of all compassion. This year’s recipient provides this and so much more when we wake him up at 3:00 am to respond to a local disaster or when we ask him to act as an ambassador for the Chapter, constantly praising the important services the Red Cross provides and modestly leaving out that he is one of the reasons we are able to provide such services. This year he was also recognized with the Querencia Special Service Award only proving that Mr. Emmett Eary is worthy of this year’s Social Services Volunteer of the Year.

Sandy McCoy – This year’s recipient brings a breath of fresh air into our Chapter. Her dedication, compassion and understanding of the Red Cross mission cannot be ignored. Her talents run deep. She has bravely tackled several services the Red Cross offers and always with the most positive outlook. You will normally find her giving water, food or snacks to our clients or first responders and always with a humble smile. Clara Barton would be proud of this year’s recipient, Sandy McKoy. Sandy could not be with us tonight, but she was very thankful for the recognition.

Betty Miskimon – You cannot go a day in disaster services without talking about this vibrant Volunteer. She hails from a different state where she began her extensive career with the Red Cross. Fortunately for our Chapter we inherited her talents and her feistiness! Her involvements with Volunteer Services Committee, Client Casework, and Financial Statistical Information services have proved to be invaluable to the Red Cross. This year’s Cynthia Wedel Award goes to Betty Miskimon. Betty is currently deployed to the South Texas Region where she is sharing her talents and compassion to those affected by the floods.

Tom Davis - In the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake the Development Team was overwhelmed with requests for Red Cross staff to attend events, pick up checks, and manage fund raising booths.  We had to reach out to volunteers to attend these events.  Tom was one of our most reliable volunteers in the effort.  He would stay several hours at an event to collect money.  He attended events at all times of the day and night and was careful to handle each one with correct protocol. For a number of years our chapter has relied heavily on Dave Crittenden as our Disaster Training Coordinator.  Dave is now ready to step away from this role and Tom has stepped up to take this huge responsibility.  He has worked with Dave to learn the system and been proactive in helping to keep everything running smoothly.  The importance of this job cannot be overstated and we are very lucky to have Tom will to take on this job. As a public information officer Tom has been extremely dedicated.  He has been on call for 7 day shifts each month.  He has responded to several major events.  He recently volunteered to team teach the PIO class with me.  This means in the future he will be able to teach this class and free me to concentrate on other duties.  This type of volunteer leadership is just what we need to grow our capacity and let volunteers play a larger part in the leadership of the chapter.

Donna Martin – In addition to being an active member of the Nurses Committee, this year’s Nurse of the Year has been a positive influence and reliable mentor for new nurses entering into the American Red Cross Nursing program.  Her decades of experience and Red Cross savvy have allowed Donna to inspire nursing students to volunteer and participate in the Red Cross nurses corps.  Donna also serves as an instructor for the emergency services department and has played a vital role in health related outreach events, like the nurses open house.  Always meticulous, we honor this year’s nurse of the year

Ron Hilliard – This Volunteer is a force to be reckoned with. Not only is he a registered Nurse, he is also the Lead Volunteer for the ICL group within our DSHR system overseeing services such as Client Casework, Disaster Health Services, Disaster Mental Health Services. He plays a very active role in the Chapter’s Nurse’s Committee. He is also a certified instructor for the Chapter as well as numerous certifications outside the Red Cross. His dedication and commitment to the mission of the Red Cross is why Ron Hilliard is this year’s recipient of the Stormy and Betty Davis Humanitarian Award.

Tom Halgash - This year the Volunteer Services Committee wanted to recognize Volunteers who have recently joined the Red Cross team.  The Rookie of the year award recognizes a Volunteer who has been active and has excelled within the Red Cross for at least one year leaving behind a footprint for incoming freshmen. This year’s recipient has left some really big footprints behind and will be in a graduate really soon. His commitment as DAT Captain has inspired many incoming Volunteers to follow in his footsteps making him an up and coming leader with a gentle soul. This year’s first Rookie of the Year is Tom Halgash.

Brian Albright – This year’s winner of the Tex Kassen Health and Safety Award is Brian Albright, a dedicated instructor who has generously donated his time to teaching lifesaving skills in our community.  Each year, the education and training department at this chapter trains more than 20,000 people in first aid, CPR, and other lifesaving techniques and Brian has been a huge part of our efforts.  It is one thing to train students, but Brian trains students and instructors so that others can teach classes on health and safety.  Brian is exceptionally sweet, passionate, and kind and his dedication to saving lives is what makes our humanitarian cause thrive.

Betty Hendrix - The American Red Cross of Central Texas is fortunate to have a Volunteer who has achieved recognition for her immeasurable, inspirational and international humanitarian efforts, decades of service, patience, grace and most of all modesty. She has paved the way for new and experienced Volunteer and Employee Staff to politely follow and absorb the dynamic ways of the Red Cross. Her Red Cross career began at the age of 16 following in her mother’s footsteps. When asked why? Her response: it was my way of contributing to the War efforts. During her summers off from college, water safety instruction kept her occupied and focused garnering her first professional job as a Health and Safety Director with her local Red Cross. Upon moving to Austin Texas with her husband and family, she became an active member and eventually a board member of the American Red Cross of Central Texas. Spouse, Mother and Biology Teacher by day, Humanitarian on her days off. 65 years of dedicated service and counting, there is no stopping this inspirational force. It is with great honor to present Ms. Betty Beau Wallace Hendrix with the Betty Hendrix Lifetime Achievement Award.

Jesus Nunez – The youth leadership award is designed to honor leadership in our volunteers under 25 years of age. This year’s winner is a truly exceptional volunteer.  He has consistently donated his time, energy, and heart to the mission of the Red Cross.  In addition to serving as the president of the Del Valle High School Red Cross Club, he regularly volunteered at the chapter and in the community.  From distributing smoke detectors to at risk neighborhoods, representing us at fundraising events like UT football games, and even babysitting children so their parents could attend our service to armed forces counseling, this volunteer has generously volunteered himself and always been reliable and willing to take on new challenges to help the Red Cross.  The 2010 youth leadership award goes to Jesus Nunez.

Sandy Villetti - The Virginia Horton Award recognizes an exceptional American Red Cross of Central Texas volunteer who has demonstrated consistent dedication and responsibility to a specific job, task, or project throughout the year. Virginia Horton was a longtime volunteer of 15 years before becoming a Board Member of the Chapter in 1980.  This year’s award recipient diligently staffs the front desk of our headquarters each week, managing the hustle and bustle with a smile, Helping to take care of the staff, her fellow volunteers, and clients, this volunteer helps out with special events and community outreach projects.  She is always willing to put her professional spokeswoman skills to the test and represents our chapter with pride.  She has been a vital asset to the volunteer services department and the administrative success of the chapter.

Clarence Cossey - The Martha Townsley Leadership Award recognizes a volunteer who has demonstrated an outstanding and sustained leadership role. For the last 21 years, this evening’s winner has volunteered not only for the Education & Training department but also for our emergency services efforts.  As a CPR instructor, he donates his time to teach vital lifesaving skills to our community.  Without the donation of his time over the past several years, hundreds of Texas residents would not know first aid or CPR.  Despite decades of experience and knowledge, this volunteer continually attends training courses to learn more about how to volunteer with the Red Cross – just a few weeks ago he completed a Psychological First Aid and Critical Incident Stress debriefing course…all in addition to educating the community on Red Cross lifesaving skills.  The efforts of this outstanding instructor are saving lives each and every day here in our community.

At the recognition, we also recognized outstanding corporations who helped the American Red Cross this year. The Good Neighbor Awards are presented to individuals and organizations outside the American Red Cross for having made a significant humanitarian contribution in support of the American Red Cross.  This year Good Neighbor Awards go to the following businesses, groups, and individuals:

·               AT&T
·               Texas Stars Hockey
·               Randall’s
·               Seton Medical Center of Williamson County
·               Pluckers
·               Biggs & Smith Electric
·               Hill Country Electric Supply
·               Core Logic
·               REI
·               GAMA
·               Reddy Ice
·               Round Rock Serving Center
·               Emerson Processing
·               Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity
·               The Baha’i Community of Austin
·               Kayla Iltis