Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Best 14 Stories of 2014

As 2014 comes to an end, we took a moment to read back through the year and select our top 14 stories. Here they are, grouped by topic rather than in order of importance:

2013 Colorado Flood Recovery Effort

Flood Survivors: 'It's Like Beginning Again.
Alma and her family were awoken at 3 a.m. by a call warning them to evacuate immediately because flood waters were coming. Alma, husband Guillermo, daughter Perla, son-in-law Gerardo and grand-daughters Yamileth and Yaretzi escaped to Guillermo’s sister’s home, leaving everything behind in their Longmont mobile home…

A flood recovery solution MacGyver would be proud of
It’s a bridge. And not just any bridge: this bridge is mobile; it’s in a trailer so that the Glen Haven community can take it anywhere it might be needed to provide access over rivers and streams that are otherwise currently impassible…

When All Other Communications Are Down -Gold Hill Now Has a Solution
The danger, isolation and destruction of the 2013 Colorado Floods brought the realization that there was still a gap in their ability to communicate quickly with other towns and with emergency management in order to access and share vital emergency information – at a time when information is needed most, and could make the difference in saving lives…

Home Fire Preparedness Campaign

Volunteers visit homes in Fort Collins most at risk for home fire losses
Volunteers from the American Red Cross, Poudre Fire Authority and Hope Worldwide went door-to-door in a Fort Collins neighborhood surrounding Putnam Elementary School in an effort to save lives. The volunteers were targeting 139 homes that were selected due to higher risk of loss caused by home fires. Their goal: to provide education and resources to help prevent those home fires in the first place and save lives and reduce property loss in the event of a fire…

Disaster Response
Home Fire is Anything But 'Routine' For the Survivors
On a cold mid-November afternoon, in a tightly packed mobile home park in Brighton, a small fire in a garden shed spread to two adjacent structures, rendering each trailer uninhabitable…

International Services
Story From the Holocaust: Red Cross Reconnects Family History
A family patriarch survived WWII concentration camps, became an American citizen and lived a productive life in the United States. His family never knew until the Red Cross discovered his story and helped fill the gaps in the family history…

November's Lunch and Learn to Feature "Lost Boy of Sudan" 
Manyang Reath Ker Manyang, a “Lost Boy” displaced by the Sudanese civil war, spent 13 years of his young life hungry, homeless and displaced in refugee camps along the border between Sudan and Ethiopia. With the help of the Red Cross Restoring Family Links service, Manyang spent whatever time and resources he could reaching out to the family he’d lost in the Sudanese civil war… 

Preparedness, Health and Safety Services

Red Cross Instructor Honored For 50 Years of Service
Doing anything for half-a-century is amazing and worthy of recognition all on its own. Few careers would span that length of time but when the career involves the teaching of lifesaving skills the recognition becomes that much more important…

Preparedness Paid Off for the Sharp Family (And It Will for You Too)
Personal and family preparedness is important, just ask the Sharps. For the last 15 years, Jessica Sharp has kept a box of important documents in a specific location so she could easily grab it in the event of an emergency. And that planning recently paid off when the Sharps experienced a fire followed by flooding in their home in Saratoga, Wyoming…

Service to Armed Forces

Service to Armed Forces Program Supports Warrior Transition Battalion
The Red Cross Service to Armed Forces program in Colorado provided direct support to the Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB) at Fort Carson, Colorado, through the donation of customized recumbent bicycles…

2014 Month of the Military Child Essay Contest
Every year in April, the American Red Cross Service to Armed Forces program celebrates the Month of the Military Child. This year marks the third annual Month of the Military Child essay contest in Colorado. The theme this year was “What does it mean to be a military child?” …

My Red Cross Story
As part of our 100 year celebration we posted stories that were told by those who have been helped by the Red Cross and those who volunteer.

My Red Cross Story: My Daughter Gave Me My Life
I’m alive today thanks to my 18-year-old daughter, Julia. She had planned to work out one morning in February but instead stayed home – and came downstairs to find me collapsed on the living room carpet. My heart had stopped suddenly, and I had already turned ashen white…

My Red Cross Story: Four Generations of Red Cross Volunteering
See that beautiful girl on the left? That’s my daughter. (Yes, I am biased). Her name is Brinley, she is 16 years old, and she just earned Volunteer of the Month at the Pikes Peak Chapter of the American Red Cross. You know what you can’t see in this picture? The four generations of my family who have volunteered with the Red Cross…

Looking Back at 2014: Quiet is a Relative Term

By Elisa DiTrolio and Patricia Billinger

In the world of the Red Cross, "quiet" is a relative term.

As we reach the end of 2014, we're thankful that no large-scale disasters occurred in our region this year. Although we experienced a little relief this year, the Red Cross stayed busy, responding to everyday disasters, assisting other states with recovery and response, and sharing safety and preparedness education and resources.

This year, we helped more than 422 families affected by home fires in more than 90 cities and towns in Colorado. Home fires are the most prevalent disasters, occurring on average more than once a day in Colorado.

Delivering safe drinking water in Saguache.
In 2014, Red Cross volunteers assisted more than 1,400 individuals affected by disasters, providing food, clothing, lodging, and emotional support. In addition to the near-daily home fires, the Red Cross responded to other disasters such as a water emergency in Saguache, where we delivered 600 gallons of water, and flooding that forced the evacuation of more than 150 Boy Scouts to a Red Cross shelter in Walsenburg. The Red Cross of Colorado also deployed volunteers to assist residents affected by disasters in other states, including wildfire and mudslide responses in Washington state and flooding in New Mexico and Texas. Finally, our workers continued delivering comfort and assistance to hundreds of peopled who were still recovering from the 2013 floods.

Numerous times throughout the year, our volunteers focused on readiness efforts as we went on alert, ready to respond, during flash flood and tornado warnings and small wildfire pre-evacuations. Part of being ready is participating in various exercises to prepare volunteers to be part of the bigger team that responds when disaster strikes. We also worked diligently to help prepare community members, groups, businesses and organizations so that they are better able to face emergencies and bounce back after disasters strike.

Without our dedicated volunteers, we could not have done this work, and we are grateful for each and every volunteer who contributed in 2014, from the behind-the-scenes office volunteer filing and answering calls to the Disaster Action Team members who go out in the middle of the night to help their neighbors at their time of greatest need. Thank you!

If you read this blog, we encourage you to join us in a moment of gratitude that Colorado was spared major catastrophe -- and join us in a moment of heartfelt thoughts for those hundreds of residents who were touched by smaller, personal disasters like home fires. Join us in saying "thank you" to a volunteer. And we hope you'll join us in our mission in 2015 by becoming a volunteer or donating to support the work of the Red Cross.

Wishing you a Safe and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 19, 2014

My Red Cross Story: What The Red Cross Means to Me Now

Like many others, I've heard of all the good things that the Red Cross does for families and communities in times of natural disasters like fires, floods and tornadoes. During those times of crisis, the Red Cross supplies food, shelter and health services. They also help teach emergency preparedness and important lifesaving skills like CPR, first aid, water safety and babysitting.

But the Red Cross means even more to me now. 

I am one of five siblings. In May 2014 my brother Bill became critically ill and was on life support. I drove 250 miles from my home in Grand Junction to Denver while two other siblings flew to Denver from Wisconsin and Florida. After over a week in ICU, my brother's condition had improved; he was off the ventilator and able to make his own health care decisions. But the situation encouraged us to consider our emergency plans and take steps to be prepared for family emergencies. 

Terri and her four siblings, all together for the first time in about 20 years.
Courtesy of Terri Ahern
The time was right to take action and we accomplished a lot. While we supported my brother in ICU, we began planning to prepare our parents' Advance Directives and Medical Durable Powers of Attorney. My youngest brother, Johnny, a Chief in the U.S. Navy in Florida, helped us prepare to activate the Red Cross should Bill take another turn for the worse. The Red Cross can send emergency messages to members of the military. These messages can reach deployed service members in geographic areas and assignments where other messages might not make it through, and the messages are often critical for obtaining approval for emergency leave to travel home. We gathered the necessary information for Johnny and another brother, Mike, a Commander in the U.S. Navy who is stationed in Naples, Italy. 

Little did we know that we would need that information in less than three months for another family member. 

Our mom, who suffered with chronic illnesses, was hospitalized several times around her 80th birthday in July. After emergency rooms, hospital rooms and a stay in rehab, she choose palliative and hospice care. I provided the Red Cross activation information to our step dad. The hospice personnel utilized the information and were able to bring Mike and his family from Naples to the Denver area a few days before my mom died, while she could still talk and recognize the family. They were also able to attend a quickly put together funeral and memorial service before they had to return to Italy. 

It had been about 20 years since all five of mom's kids had been together at once. During this three-month time period in 2014, my family had two critically ill family members while two of my siblings were serving in active duty in the military. Thanks in part to the Red Cross, we were able to be together with each other and our mom as a family in her final days. (See photo.) Until May of 2014 I had never known about this Red Cross service, and it had a profound impact on my life. 

Now I know exactly what the Red Cross means to me. Thanks for all you do for individuals, families and communities in their time of need. I have given a monetary donation as a small token of my gratitude for the help the Red Cross gave during our family's time of need. I hope the gift will help "pay it forward," honor my two siblings who proudly serve in the U.S. Navy, and honor our mom, Patricia Oestereicher-Jones.

--Terri Ahern
Grand Junction

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Guest Speaker Examines Unrest in Ukraine

By Patricia Billinger & Tim Bothe

Ukraine has experienced deep political crisis since the 2004 Orange Revolution and subsequent shifts of power. At the heart of the conflict is a divide between those who wish to maintain ties to Russia and those who wish to align more closely with Western nations.  This domestic divide has deepened pre-existing ethnic and linguistic cracks. 

Meanwhile, continued Russian military involvement in the region – particularly in Crimea - has intensified the crisis, contributed to a wave of internally displaced refugees, and muddied the international perception of whether this is an internal civil dispute or an international conflict involving two nation-states. 

On Wednesday, Dec. 17, international business development specialist Mike Shanley shared his personal experience as a humanitarian aid worker in Ukraine at the start of the crisis and his current perception of events as a businessman who continues to maintain business contacts within the Ukrainian community.
Mike Shanley discusses current political unrest in Ukraine.

Shanley is the Founder and CEO of Konektid, an organization that works to help companies enter markets in emerging economies like Ukraine. Shanley developed his connection with Ukraine and a number of businesses, residents and aid organizations in Ukraine when he served as a Peace Corps volunteer there from 2004-2006.

It was while he was volunteering in Kiev, Ukraine’s capitol, that he witnessed the Orange Revolution first-hand. It was a peaceful revolution that brought pro-democracy, Western-allied leaders to power. 
Having witnessed that revolution, Shanley said he was shocked when another political shift in November 2013 turned violent. 

Indeed, violence and instability in Ukraine in the past year have reached such levels that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is helping people affected by the conflict,  primarily in the eastern portion of Ukraine, and is supporting the work of the Ukrainian Red Cross. 

The Red Cross has assisted by:
  • Providing medical supplies to 25 health facilities in eastern Ukraine
  •  Providing aid to 10,000 displaced persons
  •  Providing 120 tons of food, which was delivered by the Russian Red Cross to displaced persons around Rostov.
Shanley recalled Ukraine’s harsh winters. Even during relative stability, there were times where they had to cancel the English classes he was teaching because it was so cold, “you could see your breath inside the classrooms.” Today, economic pressures caused by the conflict combine with a lack of government services to the conflict zones to create challenging conditions for refugees fleeing the violence or relocating in search of access to services – and warmth. 

The harsh reality of winter makes aid provided by the Red Cross and international agencies that much more vital for those caught in the midst of a struggle to define the identity, borders and alliances of a region in flux.

The Red Cross is helping families find missing loved ones in the Ukraine due to the current conflict through its Restoring Family Links program. For program information and general inquiries use the International Reconnecting Families Inquiry Form or contact a Restoring Family Links caseworker at 303-607-4771.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Red Crossers serve as Santa’s Helpers for Colorado National Guard

Santa with Vincent Herra-Rue (age 3) and Red Cross
 Volunteer Thea Wasche, at Santa’s Workshop with
Colorado National Guard .
Photo by Lorin Schroeder/American Red Cross
In mid-December the thoughts of many children are focused on Santa and presents. The children of Colorado National Guard families are no different and those thoughts were amplified Dec. 13 when the Colorado National Guard sponsored Santa Workshops for soldiers and families at their armories located in Colorado Springs, Centennial and Grand Junction.

Red Cross volunteers provided hot chocolate and other treats as they worked alongside Guard members to organize and handout presents to families. Of course Santa was there to hand out gifts to the children and to hear their Christmas wishes.

Families select gifts at Santa’s Workshop
with Colorado National Guard - Photo by
 Lorin Schroeder/American Red Cross
More than 300 children and parents attended the events across the State and they were supported by 15 Red Cross volunteers and Colorado National Guard staff. “The wonderful Red Cross volunteers showed up in force,” said Airen Hall, family assistance specialist for the Colorado National Guard. “We can’t imagine how this would work without having their participation.”

Red Cross therapy dog Lacey was on hand to greet the children along with her handler Thea Wasche, a volunteer with the American Red Cross. “Lacey loves children and children really enjoy petting and playing with her,” said Thea. “Therapy dogs like Lacey are great at relieving stress…even at Christmas.”

Lacey and Thea Wasche (Red Cross Volunteer)
welcome Vincent Herra-Rue (R) to Santa’s
Workshop with Colorado National Guard
- Photo by Lorin Schroeder/American Red Cross
This event is put on every year for soldiers and families who might otherwise not have the merriest of holidays. Gifts are provided through donations from individuals, organizations and businesses throughout Colorado.

Additional photos are available on our Flickr page. If you would like to learn more about how the Red Cross supports military families visit our Service to Armed Forces website.

Story From the Holocaust: Red Cross Reconnects Family History

Story by Bill Fortune, American Red Cross
Photos provided by Dawid Kufel

A family patriarch survived WWII concentration camps, became an American citizen and lived a productive life in the United States. His family never knew until the Red Cross discovered his story and helped fill the gaps in the family history.

Corporal Boleslaw Obst, 1939. Photo
 provided by Dawid Kufel
Warsaw, Poland 1939:Polish Army Corporal Boleslaw Joseph Obst was detained by Nazis and sentenced to Gross-Rosen Concentration Camp. World War II raged on and when the Red Army advanced he was marched to Flossenberg Concentration Camp in Germany. It was there that Obst wrote his last letter to his family. Shortly after that the family was notified that he had died in the concentration camp.

Jump to 2013: Genofewa Tonder, Obst’s daughter, received a death certificate from the state of Virginia stating that Boleslaw Joseph Obst died in 1997 at the age of 85 in Richmond, Va. The family never knew he had survived the war and that he had lived in the United States as an American citizen for more than 50 years.

In April 2013, James Griffith, American Red Cross Restoring Family Links Caseworker, received an email from Dawid Kufel, a foreign exchange student from Poland living in Colorado Springs, Colo. The email told how the family was very surprised to find that their patriarch had actually survived the concentration camps and instead died in Richmond, Va. They had tried unsuccessfully to get additional information and hoped that the Red Cross would be able to help them fill in the missing years. Dawid in particular wanted to learn more about his grandfather.

"The fact that he (Obst) had died here in the United States meant that there had to be some kind of information about him, some kind of outline of his past to fill the gaps,” said Griffith. “It was a puzzle that I felt needed to be put together.”

Dawid Kufel, Grandson kneels  at the
 headstone of his grandfather in Richmond, VA
Griffith found that Obst had been liberated by the U.S. Army 90th Infantry Division April 23, 1945. He then traveled to the United States as a refugee under the International Refugee Organization.

With the help of Richmond Times Dispatch Newspaper archivist Ellen Robertson, they located the grave site and documented that he had worked for more than 30 years as a baker, never remarried and died June 2, 1997, in Richmond, Va.

The family was given the information and in June 2013 Dawid Kufel traveled to Richmond, Va. to visit the grave site of the grandfather he never knew. In an email, Kufel expressed his thanks to the Red Cross. "It gives us a good feeling that we were able to find something about my grandfather’s past,” he said. “It is sad that we didn't have a chance to know him but at least we know what happened.”

When it was all said and done Griffith was able to sit back with some satisfaction knowing that he had brought closure to the family. “It's really sad that neither side of the family knew the other was alive all those years,” he said. “But it's really good that we were able to help bring them a little closer together.”

Learn about Restoring Family Links at Reconnecting Families website and The Restoring Family Links Blog.For program information and general inquiries use the International Reconnecting Families Inquiry Form

Friday, December 12, 2014

4 Easy Ways to Spend a Few Holiday Bucks and Make a Big Difference

By Patricia Billinger
OK holiday shoppers, meaningful gifters, Type-A planners and busy people who like to get more for their money: This blog is for you!

We’ve come up with a short list of win-win opportunities for your holiday spend. Check two items off your holiday to-do list: Give a gift, and give back!

1. Date-Night Delight! Treat yourself or someone on your “nice” list to a restaurant night out. Save a ton of money. And, at no cost to you, the Red Cross will also benefit from your culinary delight. Boom! Go to this LivingSocial Deal and spend $40 to receive a $200 value eGift Card, from today through December 22. Four dollars of each purchase will be donated to the Red Cross via OPP Brand Solutions, an agent of

2. Zoom Zoom. Imagine yourself in that new car, zipping along curves....or safely and comfortably navigating traffic with the kids strapped in the back, if that’s more your speed. Either way, if your end-of year shopping includes a new Mazda, you can also “drive” a donation to the Red Cross.

Now through January 2, customers who purchase or lease a new Mazda vehicle may direct a $150 donation from Mazda to the American Red Cross (among other participating charities) during the Mazda Drive for Good event.

3. A Gift From the Heart. What do you get the person who has everything? How about the power to save a life?  Now through Dec. 31, we’re offering 20% off CPR and First Aid training through our special “Friends and Family” discount.

  • Grandpa and Grandma would be thrilled to know child and infant CPR and first aid for when they watch the grandkids. 
  • Your niece doesn’t want that sweater you picked out (sorry). But she’ll enjoy the prospect of earning her own shopping money by babysitting, with help from the Red Cross Babysitter Training you provide. 
  • Or, treat yourself to CPR training knowing that it may empower you to give the ultimate gift some day: saving someone’s life.

4. BurgerFi Your Giving. In what amazing, perfect world does consuming delicious burgers help people who have lost their homes to disasters? THIS amazing world we’re in right now!

Now through December 31, BurgerFi will match in-store gift-card purchases dollar for dollar, for a minimum donation of $10,000 to the Red Cross. They’re also matching gifts through this microsite. Sounds like a great idea for the burger-lover in your life!

Happy shopping/giving!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Thank you Colorado for being the best! #COGivesDay

First, we want to say THANK YOU. Thank you for caring about your fellow Coloradans, for supporting local nonprofits that help your neighbors, and specifically for supporting the Red Cross in Colorado! You are part of the reason Colorado is such a great place to live.

Colorado ranks high on many quality-of-life lists. With our year-round sunshine, breathtaking mountains, healthy lifestyles, excellent level of education and robust economy, some city or town is regularly highlighted on a list of “Best Places to Live.”

Add “generous and giving” population to the list of reasons why Colorado is a great place to live. Although Colorado is not yet a top-ranked state in this category, residents have been steadily increasing their national ranking on charitable giving thanks in part to the annual Colorado Gives Day campaign, which aims to increase philanthropy in Colorado. Colorado’s charitable ranking, calculated via giving reported on IRS income tax returns, improved from 38th in 2008 to 30th in 2012, the latest year for which data was available.

This year, Colorado residents and companies broke the record for Colorado Gives Day, donating more than $26 million over a 24-hour period to support local nonprofits serving Coloradans!

The American Red Cross received more than $134,000 from 777 donors (lucky number!), who gave an average of about $173 each! The grand total that the Red Cross receives from Colorado Gives Day will be increased proportionally by the FirstBank $1 million incentive fund. (Read this article to understand how they portion out the incentive fund.)

That funding will make a real difference in the lives of Coloradans. It will help the Red Cross reduce deaths, injuries and losses due to emergencies via education, training and direct outreach. It will supply shelter, food, clothing and comfort items for individuals and families affected by disasters like home fires.  And it will support our work helping members of the military and their families  before, during and after deployments.

From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU for giving to the Red Cross on Colorado Gives Day!
Read more about the programs and services your Colorado Gives Day donations support:

Friday, December 5, 2014

Another Reason to Support the Red Cross on Colorado Gives Day

Casework Volunteer Peggy McCown(L) provides food and
 clothing vouchers to Walter Booth after fire took his home
in Pueblo, CO.
It was a chilly night in Pueblo Nov. 23, 2014, when Walter Booth stepped out of his mobile home and saw flames coming out the back. Neighbors called 911 while Booth tried to rescue his pets. The fire took his mobile home, all of his belongings and one of his dogs. Fortunately, he was not injured and is now staying with a friend until he can move forward with recovery.

A Red Cross Disaster Action Team was deployed to help and quickly began working with Booth to determine immediate needs.
Volunteer Kathy Sharkey, team captain, quickly determined that he would need a place to stay and money to get clothing and food. “When we arrived we could see the stress on his face,” said Sharkey. “He still had a smile though and we could tell he was glad to see us.”

Red Cross Nurse Esther Savage(L) talks with Walter Booth
about resources after fire took his home in Pueblo, CO
A few days later Booth met with Red Cross nurse Esther Savage for follow up and referrals. Turns out his glasses were ruined in the fire so a referral was made to get them replaced. “The more Walter and I talked the more I found additional resources to help him,” said Savage. “He is a veteran so I called the Veterans Affairs and helped arrange to get his glasses replaced.” Booth was also able to pick up some additional vouchers for food and clothing, additional blankets and even some food for his dogs.

Recovering from a loss like this is a process, which lasts for much longer than the cleanup. The Red Cross is there to help every step of the way. “I really appreciate what the Red Cross has done for me,” Booth said. “They gave me a roof over my head, clothes on my back and food. They helped me with everything I needed.”

Every eight minutes the Red Cross responds to an emergency, the vast majority of which are home fires. This was just one home fire that occurred in Colorado that weekend. On Saturday, Nov.22 the Red Cross responded to fires in Grand Junction, Vail and Las Animas. An additional fire occurred Nov. 24 displacing another family in Pueblo.

The frequency of home fires increases as the cold season wears on and the Red Cross has safety tips to help you and your loved ones be better prepared for emergencies at You can help insure that disaster services continue by supporting the Red Cross on Colorado Gives Day. Go to to find out how you can support the American Red Cross in Colorado.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Home Fire is Anything But 'Routine' For The Survivors

“Just Routine, Really.” 
On Duty and Response with Red Cross Volunteers 
Story and Pictures: Ed O’Brien – Red Cross Public Affairs Volunteer

On a cold mid-November afternoon, in a tightly packed mobile home park in Brighton, a small fire in a garden shed spread to two adjacent structures, rendering each trailer uninhabitable.  This fire displaced two families and 10 people.

One of the damaged trailers after the home fire.

“Just routine, really,” said the police officer who waved the Red Cross response truck into the fire scene. For the policeman it likely was routine. The fire-crew doused it quickly. Routine. The neighbors were helpful and interested. Routine. Children teased one another and played soccer among the ashes as they collected stories for tomorrow’s telling. Even this had a sense of routine.

It was all certainly unfortunate, but also very lucky – as no one was injured.
Volunteer Chris Humphries asks a resident about the damage to her home.

On that note and in this setting arrives a Red Cross Disaster Action Team led by volunteer Chris Humphries. This team is the first step for reestablishing a real routine back into the lives of 10 displaced people.

A casual gathering forms around the Response Truck. The conversation is lively, quick, and interested, as the shock and chaos of the fire fades. Reassurance in the face of Chris Humphries helps ease the neighbors towards recovery.
Displaced family members look at the burned out trailers as
Chris Humphries fills out their Red Cross paperwork. 

“We need everything right now – food, clothes, a home. It’s cold and the holidays are coming. This is tough, really tough,” said one of the displaced residents.

So for these 10 displaced people, our Red Cross job is to help bring back routine to their lives. One layer at a time. Each layer a step towards, well… routine.

What do they need for the next three days? Food, shelter, secure storage for their household goods. Done!

What do they need for the next three weeks? Help with paperwork. Counseling. Reassurance. Follow-up. On-going!

What do they need for the next three months? A plan to rebuild. Replacement of lost items. Getting their stored items back in a new home. To resume their “routine.”
Saved items - water logged and partially burned pictures plus a
sooty religious statue  - are testament to lives disrupted

The Red Cross has expertise, donations, and layers of volunteers to help. Heart- rending, immediate emergencies require patient, dedicated recovery efforts. We do this work thousands of times per year. Yes, even for us this is routine too. But then, all those who have aided – from firefighters and police to the Red Cross –  all of us are here to do our job: To return these 10 people and all those we serve, back to their routine again.

Friday, November 14, 2014

November's Lunch and Learn to Feature "Lost Boy of Sudan," Manyang Reath Ker

Manyang Reath Ker, Wednesday's Lunch and Learn speaker
There are situations in which someone could be forgiven for giving up hope, and this month’s lunch and learn speaker, Manyang Reath Ker, has been in many of them. Manyang, a “Lost Boy” displaced by the Sudanese civil war, spent 13 years of his young life hungry, homeless and displaced in refugee camps along the border between Sudan and Ethiopia. But during these impossibly difficult times, Manyang spent whatever time and resources he could reaching out to the family he’d lost in the Sudanese civil war.

With the help of the Restoring Family Links (RFL) service offered by the International Committee of the Red Cross, Manyang made attempts to contact his mother and reassure her that he was still alive. When he finally received refugee status at age 17, Manyang came to the United States, but never relented in his efforts to reconnect with his family. One could forgive Manyang for moving on with his newfound life in the U.S., for immersing himself in the life of a teenager and college student and turning away from his past in Sudan. But Manyang gives the distinct impression that he is actually incapable of giving up.

“I wrote letters, probably… over three hundred letters trying to locating my mother and find out where my family was,” Manyang said. “I wrote again and again, and in 2011, I got a letter saying they’d found my mother. And I talked to my mother for the first time in 20 years.” It was the first time he’d been in contact with his mother since the age of three.

Manyang is now an RFL volunteer with the Red Cross, as well as the founder of an organization called Humanity Helping Sudan, which provides food aid and education to Sudanese refugees. As a volunteer and a Good Samaritan, Manyang says he is personally dedicated to ensuring that the Red Cross and the RFL program are recognized for how they helped him and his family. “The American Red Cross was very good for me. When I give a talk, or when anyone asks me about my personal life story, I talk about the Red Cross because there is no way they’re separated,” he said.

Manyang hopes that the audience at the Lunch and Learn event will come away from the event with a better understanding of how each human being is connected to those who endure suffering like what he lived through in Sudan. “That’s what’s important: I want to talk about the humanity. It’s something in our DNA... we have the power to talk about what we want to change,” he said. “And I believe we can change lives for the better.”

The Lunch and Learn lecture will be presented at the American Red Cross, 444 Sherman St. at these times:

  •  Wednesday, Nov. 19, from noon to 1 p.m. - RSVP via  this SurveyMonkey link
  • Wednesday, Nov. 19, from 5:70-7:30 p.m. - RSVP here.
Webinar options are also available for remote audiences. For more information, contact Tim Bothe at (303) 607-4785.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Preserving a Piece of Red Cross History for our 100th year Celebration

By Andrea Stone/American Red Cross

 Forgotten for more than 30 years, it was a piece of Red Cross histoy wrapped in the pages of history.

Painting by Glen Ault completed in 1943-44 to support
Red Cross blood drives during WWII. Photo by
Andrea Stone/American Red Cross
When 84-year-old Rosemary Ault was doing her spring cleaning, she found a painting with the slogan “Blood Saves Lives” above a Red Cross tent. The painting, done by her husband in the 1940s, had been wrapped in an issue of the Gazette Telegraph dated June 9, 1946.

“It was hung for a while, I think, and then wrapped in this ever since … I talked to his sister about it, and she thought it was probably in his junior year, which would’ve been 1943-44,” she said.

During the years of World War II, the Red Cross, at the military’s request, initiated a national blood program that collected 13.3 million pints of blood for use by the armed forces.

In addition to the blood drives, the Red Cross enrolled more than 104,000 nurses for military service, prepared 27 million packages for American and Allied prisoners of war and shipped more than 300,000 tons of supplies overseas.

Glen Ault’s inspiration for the painting may have been the extensive work of the Red Cross during those years, but whatever his inspiration, the painting sat, forgotten.

“I found it just a short time ago behind a dresser. It’s been there all these years,” she said. Rosemary Ault has lived in the house for 36 years.

The couple, who moved to Colorado Springs in 1947, met on a blind date and were married for 43 years until Glen Ault’s death in 1991. Rosemary Ault said she doesn’t know what might have motivated her husband to paint the picture, but when she found it, she couldn’t bear to get rid of it.

“I just thought, ‘I can’t throw it away after it’s been saved all those years, even though I didn’t know it was there,” she said. “I just felt somebody ought to have it.”

Rather than getting rid of it, Ault donated the painting to the Pikes Peak Chapter of the American Red Cross in Colorado Springs.  The painting will be framed and hung in the Chapter office as a reminder of the contribution the Red Cross made during that important part of American history.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Are you ready for a three dog night?

Have you ever heard of a “three dog night”? No, not the musical group from the 70s but stories from surviving extreme cold.

Back in the day during extreme cold people would allow their dogs to sleep in bed with them and the colder it got the more dogs they needed. A really, really cold night was often labeled “a three dog night” because you would need at least three dogs to stay warm.

Well, over the next few days it looks like at least one of the nights will be a three dog night. It has been a while since we Coloradans have experienced the extreme cold blasts, well several months anyway, and some of us may need a quick safety refresher so that we can effectively weather the storm.

We thought it would be a good time to provide some winter safety tips.
Make sure your home is ready for the cold. Disconnect hoses and cover exposed pipes.
Have your furnace and fire place checked and cleaned before turning them on. Remember that carbon monoxide is a killer so you want your heating devices to be working properly.
Be very careful with open flames and space heaters. As temperatures fall the number of home fires caused by unsafe heating devices goes up.
Don't forget to dress according to the wind chill index. This is especially true for the young and the elderly. They can develop hypothermia fast if they are not protected. Click for a printable wind chill chart from the National Weather Service.
Don't forget about your pets. They may have fur coats but it won't keep out extreme cold. You may want to bring them inside.
Make sure your car is ready for extreme cold. Check batteries, antifreeze and keep your fuel tank more than half full.
Keep an emergency kit in your car with food supplies, water and flash lights and a first aid kit.
Don’t depend on your car heater to protect you. If you get stranded and you are not dressed properly you might experience the phenomena known as hypothermia. That's when your body temperature drops sharply and your internal heater can’t keep up. Uncontrollable shivering, dizziness, and slurred speech are all danger signs when you are exposed to the cold.
Speaking of slurred speech and dizziness, don’t think that alcohol will keep you warm. The opposite is the case as alcohol dulls your senses and prevents your body from making appropriate adjustments to ward off the cold.
Check on your neighbor, family and friends. Make sure they have the ways and means to be safe in times of extreme cold.

These are just a few quick safety tips for surviving winter cold. We have lots more on our web site We even have a downloadable checklist for winter storms, power outages frostbite and hypothermia at

So, huddle up and stay warm and just to be fair you can also make it a “three cat night”.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

How Red Cross "Revived the Goat"

by Kayla Albert, Behind The Red Volunteer
Getting involved in the community – especially for active professionals with a full plate of responsibilities – can be a huge challenge. Behind the Red, a group that supports the Red Cross through fundraising efforts, volunteerism, and advocacy, hopes to bridge that gap. With this group, professional development is paired with community activism, and that’s what really speaks to its members.

In October, Behind the Red held a CPR training and social hour at The Fainting Goat, an event aptly named “Revive the Goat.” CPR certification and networking? The two go together better than one might think.

If you missed the event, check out the CPR classes regularly offered by the Red Cross. Thank you to everyone who participated!

Are you interested in joining Behind the Red? You can find more information here:

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Thank You to our Century Center Sponsors

In 2014, the American Red Cross is celebrating 100 years of service in Colorado and Wyoming. As part of our year-long efforts to honor our past and build the foundation for another century of service, the Red Cross Colorado & Wyoming Region is renovating the regional headquarters to create better meeting and training spaces, improve efficiencies and enhance capacity for times of disaster.

The Colorado & Wyoming Regional Headquarters is located at 444 Sherman St., Denver. The project includes renovating the first floor to feature a welcoming reception area, additional meeting space, updated restrooms and a community space open to the public that will improve our formal and informal training capacity. The updated space showcases some of the rich history of the Red Cross and its commitment to serving communities across Colorado. The project also includes updating the second floor Training Room and renovations to establish a more efficient Emergency Operations Room, where Disaster Cycle Services workers can set up a regional response headquarters for Red Cross operations responding to disasters in Colorado and Wyoming. Finally, we are also updating our in-house call-center to allow for eight stations for volunteers to handle overflow calls during disasters.

Work is complete on the first floor space, and the new “American Red Cross Century Center” was officially unveiled the week of Nov. 10.

This capital project could not have been possible without the generous donations of our Century Sponsors:
  • Daniels Fund 
  • The Anschutz Foundation
  • Boettcher Foundation
  • The Adolph Coors Foundation
  • DaVita.
We would also like to extend our gratitude to Turner Construction, Gensler, EON and Artform Designs for their assistance with the project, as well as an enormous thank you to the volunteers on our Archive Committee who have put in many hours delving into the history of the Red Cross in Colorado over the past 100 years and selecting information and artifacts to share that story.

Friday, October 31, 2014

It's that time of year again...time to change our clocks.

By Lisa Price Waltman/American Red Cross

Years ago, for some reason my young son had replaced the phrase “Daylight Savings Time” with “Daily Savings Time” and in our home, it has remained just that.  When I thought about his unintentionally jumbled words I realized he actually had a great point.  Are we really “saving” daylight when we’re just moving the hands or the numbers around on a clock?  But because of a ritual we have in my home, we just might be saving something else, daily.

Setting our clocks back one hour on Saturday night (November 1) for the change that will occur at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday morning is part of all of our fall back/spring forward routines of daylight savings time.  But in my home, when the times on the clocks fall back the batteries in my smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are reduced as well…reduced to being recycled properly and replaced. 

It may sound like a waste of batteries and certainly replacing them prematurely is a little cost that might not need to be incurred if they were left to run out their little battery lives in the comfort of the detectors.  But saving lives are what smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are all about and the small cost of replacing batteries to ensure they are empowered to do their jobs seems minimal when you consider their mammoth responsibilities.

Easy enough, right?  You reset the clock on the stove, the microwave, the timer on the thermostat (don‘t forget to swap out the dust-laden filter on the furnace while you‘re at it), maybe even tackle the always-blinking clocks on your cable devices.  And because of you’re newly adopted routine, you also climb up your little step ladder and check your batteries in your detectors.  Piece of cake….unless you are physically unable to do so.  What about your wonderful senior citizen neighbor Bob whom you know utilizes the help of another wonderful neighbor boy who for a few bucks, cuts Bob’s grass all summer?  Maybe, just maybe Bob might welcome the help of checking those detector batteries while you offer to stop in to change his clocks all the while being the hero who will wrestle with the computerized technology that are most clocks today.  Honestly, while I can scale a ladder like no one’s business, I still have to call my adult sons and ask them how in the heck I reset the clock on the high-tech stove that does everything but wash the dishes. 

So this Saturday when you’re moving around the numbers on the clocks and climbing up step ladders for battery checks, consider scooting down the block and offering to do the same for Bob or Betty who may not have the ability to do so and perhaps have not done so in years.  We know we cannot really save daylight but a casual visit with your neighbor just might be the visit that could be a daily savings of a life. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Peyton's Record-Breaking Passing Pays it Forward

by Patricia Billinger
When Denver Broncos fans gleefully celebrated Peyton Manning's feat surpassing the all-time career passing touchdown record on Sunday, the folks here at the American Red Cross in Denver did an extra celebration dance.

We knew the historic moment not only was worthy of celebration in its own right, but also boded well for the thousands of families who turn to the Colorado Red Cross every year for help after disaster upends their lives.

As expected, the historic achievement -- and Manning's overall stellar performance -- earned him the fans' vote as the FedEx Air Player of the Week. And that, in turn, means that FedEx will be donating another $2,000 to the American Red Cross Mile High Chapter to support disaster relief right here in Denver.
Courtesy of

This is the second time this month that Manning has earned the honor (he also was nominated and won Air Player of the Week for his Oct. 5 performance ),  bringing the total donated by FedEx to our community thus far to $4,000. What can $4,000 do for Colorado families affected by disasters?

To give you an idea, with $1,000 the Red Cross can:
  • Provide 500 snacks for hungry residents and first responders
  • Serve 100 hot meals at shelters or delivered in disaster-affected communities
  • Provide food and shelter to 5 families for a day in a shelter
  • Or Supply 200 blankets that evacuees use to keep warm or pad their cot at a shelter. 
 Manning led the Broncos to another solid win last night. If he continues this solid performance -- one that already has some dubbing him the best quarterback of all time -- Manning will be a top contender for the FedEx Player of the Year. If he earns that honor, our generous supporters at FedEx will donate $25,000 to support disaster relief in Denver.

That's a huge reason to cheer -- and a reason to say "thank you, Peyton, for being the best." Every forward pass he completes potentially pays it forward to local residents who've lost everything to disaster.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Volunteers visit homes in Fort Collins most at risk for home fire losses

By Melody Storgaard
On October 18, volunteers from the American Red Cross, Poudre Fire Authority and Hope Worldwide went door-to-door in a Fort Collins neighborhood surrounding Putnam Elementary School in an effort to save lives. The group of volunteers were targeting 139 homes that were selected due to higher risk of loss caused by home fires. Their goal: to provide education and resources to help prevent those home fires in the first place and save lives and reduce property loss in the event of a fire.

The effort is part of a new, nationwide campaign by the American Red Cross to achieve a 25% decrease in fatalities caused by home fires. In Colorado, volunteers are going door-to-door in the highest-risk neighborhoods, asking to test smoke alarms, providing replacement batteries, installing smoke alarms and providing safety tips and preventative information.

Before heading out for the day, the Fort Collins volunteers got a brief training detailing the campaign’s procedures, specifics about smoke alarms being used that day, and important information about the carbon monoxide detectors that Poudre Fire Authority was providing. Everyone gathered their supplies and off they went into the neighborhood to go door-to-door.

When homeowners welcomed the volunteers into their home, the volunteers tested the fire alarms and checked that they had been correctly placed in the homes. When needed, the volunteers replaced batteries or the entire smoke alarm. They also talked to homeowners about being prepared for home fires -- covering the importance of having an escape plan, communication plan, and a meet-up point.

 In one of the homes visited on Saturday, volunteers found that the home had smoke alarms, but the alarms were not working. The volunteers removed the “old” alarms and replaced them with new ones, then tested the new alarms to make sure they worked. The volunteers noticed that the date on one of the non-functioning alarms was 2014!

Yes, you read that right! The smoke alarm had been installed this year. The alarm was not working even though it had been recently installed.

“This is a good example of why you need to always test smoke alarms,” said Susan Ferrari from Poudre Fire Authority. “You never know when one has a problem.”

The Red Cross recommends testing your smoke alarms once a month by pressing the “test” button. If you can’t reach the button, try using the end of a broom stick. Having smoke alarms and knowing that they work could save your life – in fact, the risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms, according to The National Fire Protection Association.

The outreach campaign reached more than just the homes near Putnam Elementary – as they delivered messaging and supplies during the campaign, the volunteers found themselves talking about the smoke alarms in their own homes. They discussed when (and sometimes if) their own smoke alarms had been checked – and then started to make plans to replace the batteries or update the alarms in their own homes.

The Home Fire Preparedness Campaign launched on Oct. 11 and will continue over the next five years as the Red Cross and its partners reach out to communities all over Colorado, including additional neighborhoods in Northern Colorado.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Western Colorado Volunteers Train to Serve Community through Red Cross

Instructors teach the fundamentals of Disaster Assessment at the
Disaster Academy  in Grand Junction learn about Disaster 
 The American Red Cross is always looking for dedicated volunteers to help carry out their mission to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies. Once enrolled a new volunteer needs to be trained so that they can respond when called. Training and recruitment are ongoing efforts at every Red Cross chapter.

In western Colorado those two efforts came together when they held Disaster Academy - 2014 in Grand Junction. During the weekend of Oct. 10-12 volunteers, both old and new, came together to learn how they can play a stronger role in the Red Cross mission. 

Each day was filled with instructor led classes covering many different topics. Friday featured classes about shelter operations,  supervision and  public affairs. Saturday was a full day of workshops on topics like, Disaster Action Team,  client casework, logistics and disaster assessment. Volunteers learned how the Red Cross is structured during a disaster response and how we collaborate with our community partners.

Instructor Bill Fortune presents the Intro to Public Affairs
at the 2014 Disaster Academy
Sunday, the final day, was packed with knowledge featuring classes such as psychological first aid, First Aid/CPR and training for our Red Cross nurses to better understand how they will participate in a disaster response.

This was the second Disaster Academy held in Grand Junction. The first was roughly a year ago and many of the attendees at this year's academy were there as the experienced volunteers helping to train the "newbies". 

First Aid/CPR class was offered at the Western Colorado
 Disaster Academy  to ensure that our volunteers  are
skilled and ready to respond
Thirty volunteers attended the 2014 Academy in Grand Junction. There were 11 different courses taught with a total of 40 hours of instruction.

Many of the attendees were brand new volunteers and all were excited about learning new skills and meeting new people. "These training academies truly help build the capacity of the Red Cross to respond to emergencies," said Eric Meyers, Executive Director for the Western Colorado Chapter. "The three days provided an opportunity for both new and veteran volunteers to gain the skills and training they need to be Red Cross volunteers."

When All Other Communications Are Down - Gold Hill Now Has a Solution

by Patricia Billinger
Drive into the mountains west of Boulder, and you feel transported back in time: rustic wooden mining buildings from the Victorian era hug the hillsides, many roads remain unpaved, and cell phone service is rare. Residents have continued a long-standing tradition of rugged self-reliance because they know that when bad weather or disaster strikes, they may find themselves cut-off from the outside world, often without power, Internet or even phone service.

The devastating Four Mile Canyon fire of 2010 spurred residents in the tiny mountain town of Gold Hill to take action to protect the safety of their residents and their neighbors in nearby communities: they formed a neighbor-to-neighbor “NeighborLink” system to ensure everyone is quickly informed of emergencies, and set up a “SafeSite” location with provisions and a staffing plan to assist residents fleeing neighboring canyons and towns during emergencies.

The Fourmile Canyon fire also inspired the idea of creating an “AirLink” system that would allow for uninterrupted emergency communications between and within isolated mountain communities in Boulder county.
This new HAM radio repeater sits at a high point near Gold Hill
to enable emergency communications.

The danger, isolation and destruction of the 2013 Colorado Floods brought the realization that there was still a gap in their ability to communicate quickly with other towns and with emergency management in order to access and share vital emergency information – at a time when information is needed most, and could make the difference in saving lives.

“Unfortunately, during emergencies, we may lose all usual means of communications: phones, internet, and road. During the floods of September 2013, phone service was not available for several weeks during and after the event. Internet was down as well…We do not have cell phone coverage up here even during normal times. Power was out,” explained Pamela Sherman and Dina Elder in a proposal for the solution: an amateur radio system with a strong enough repeater to carry its signal out of the rough mountain corridors surrounding the town.

On Saturday, Oct. 18, community leaders in Gold Hill installed a radio repeater that is key to the communications system.  Additionally, Gold Hills is also purchasing a variety of other equipment, such as antennae, hand-held radios and power supplies to support the HAM radio network.
A closer look at the HAM radio repeater in Gold Hill, which sits inside a pick-up truck.

The Red Cross is providing a large portion of the funding for the project – up to $5,000. It’s one of several projects the Red Cross is supporting in communities like Gold Hill to improve their disaster preparedness and resilience. In addition to the Gold Hill project, the Red Cross is also supplying VHF radios, HAM radios and related tools, weather radios and pagers to BCARES  and multiple volunteer fire departments, including Pinewood Springs and Big Elk Meadows. The communications equipment will improve the communities’ ability to receive and share vital information during times of emergency.

“We realized that the town could not provide 100% of the needed funding [for the HAM radio network] and requests were made to other organizations to fill the gap. The Red Cross, almost immediately, was the first to step up. You not only showed enthusiasm for the project, but provided substantial additional funding so that it could be completed,” wrote Peter Swift, Chairman of the Gold Hill Town Council in a letter to the Red Cross. “It is this kind of proactive response in anticipating future emergency needs that will not only help the community respond to future emergencies, but could potentially save lives and protect property.”

Pulpit Rock Neighborhood Evacuation Exercise

By Kathleen Rowland, Media Relations Volunteer

On Saturday morning, October 18, the Pikes Peak Chapter of the American Red Cross participated in a neighborhood evacuation exercise held at Russell Middle School in Colorado Springs. The cool, bright morning began early for volunteers setting up the mock shelter. Around 9 a.m., after receiving notification to begin the exercise, participating residents of Pulpit Rock neighborhood began to arrive at the shelter, line up, and sign in.  
Pulpit Rock residents file into Russell Middle School
during Saturday’s neighborhood evacuation exercise.
Photo by Arnett Luce, American Red Cross.

Residents were directed to the cafeteria while the Red Cross demonstration shelter was set up in the gymnasium. Several agencies set up tabletop displays in the corridor. In the cafeteria, a large screen displayed a computer-generated map of the simulated fire zone and communicated information about the progress of the fire.  After a briefing from city emergency management, fire department and police department, Pulpit Rock residents were permitted to explore the Red Cross demonstration shelter in the gymnasium. Residents learned about how client care is handled at a Red Cross evacuation shelter. They had opportunity to talk with volunteers about how the Red Cross handles things like medical care, feeding, and sleeping.

Pulpit Rock resident, Pam Harlor,
tests a Red Cross cot and finds it "very comfy."
Photo by Bill Fortune, American Red Cross.
Resident Pam Harlor took a few moments to test one of the Red Cross cots. She said with a laugh that the cot was “very comfy.” When asked about her experience with the exercise, she thought for a moment and said, “I feel much more prepared. I feel much more comfortable. After the Black Forest Fire [the possibility of disaster] became very real. We had friends stay with us.”

Pam was appreciative of the opportunity to walk through and see a Red Cross shelter for herself. “I can hear about it, but until I participate, I don’t know what’s going on. Now I feel much more prepared.”

Red Cross volunteers answer resident questions
as part of the shelter demonstration.
Photo by Arnett Luce, American Red Cross.
Multiple agencies cooperated to stage the exercise: The City of Colorado Springs Office of Emergency Management, Police Department and Fire Department organized the exercise; the Salvation Army used their mobile food service truck to provide a hot breakfast for volunteers and participating residents; Red Cross volunteers set up and ran the shelter; the Humane Society provided residents with information about sheltering family pets; and FEMA Corp volunteers assisted in all aspects of the emergency management exercise.

At the end of the exercise, Rich Garcia, Lead Volunteer for Mass Care summed it up by saying, “This was a win-win event. We were able to train new volunteers and educate the community.”

Friday, October 10, 2014

When Peyton Wins, the Red Cross wins!

According to the sports analysts, the Denver Broncos broke all sorts of records during their win over Arizona on Sunday, Oct. 5 - including the franchise record for total offense and  "fastest QB to reach 500 TDs."

Courtesy of
So it comes as a well-deserved recognition that fans chose Manning as this week's FedEx NFL Air Player of the Week.

Each week, the NFL nominates three quarterbacks and three running backs who had the best performances over the weekend. Fans then vote for the player they think performed the best in each category. The NFL announces the winner every Thursday.

Here's even better news: the real winners in this competition are the thousands of people who are affected by disasters every day in the United States -- because each week, FedEx donates $2,000 to each of the Red Cross chapters in the communities where the FedEx Air and Ground Players of the Week winners play.

This week, thanks to Peyton's record-breaking performance and the generosity of FedEx, we'll be receiving $2,000 from FedEx to support disaster relief in Colorado!

At the end of the NFL season, fans vote for the FedEx NFL Air & Ground Players of the Year from each category, and FedEx donates $25,000 to the Red Cross chapter in each player’s market. Based on Peyton's trajectory to break even more records (and win the Super Bowl this year?), we've got our fingers crossed that our community will benefit even more from his stellar performance and this fantastic partnership.

Our local Red Cross volunteers responded to more than 400 disasters in Colorado last year - an average of more than one a day! Most are home fires, and though they  may not get as much attention as the widespread wildfires and floods, they are still devastating to the families who often have lost everything and turn to the Red Cross for comfort, shelter, food, clothing and guidance getting back on their feet. The funds donated by FedEx will help support this daily mission.

We hope you'll join us in saying thanks to @FedEx and congratulating Peyton on his achievements!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

National Preparedness Campaign Reaches Thousands

In September, the Red Cross joined other agencies across the country in promoting National Preparedness Month.

This year, in honor of 100 years of saving lives in Colorado, we promoted preparedness under the theme of “Save a Life September.” Highlights of Red Cross National Preparedness Month efforts included the Rocky Mountain Business Preparedness Academy in Denver, the Northern Colorado Emergency Preparedness and Family Safety Expo in Loveland, and partnerships that promoted life-saving CPR training with the Sky Sox  in Colorado Springs, University of Colorado - Colorado Springs (UCCS), University of Colorado (CU) Athletics in Boulder, and local media and governmental TV stations.

Outcomes of the campaign included:
  • More than 260 people registered for the for the Rocky Mountain Business Preparedness Academy,  which aimed to increase the preparedness of businesses, organizations, schools and places of worship and featured more than 20 experts who covered a wide range of preparedness topics.
  • A crowd of more than 6,100 people were on hand at Sky Sox Stadium as we played a 2-minute video demonstrating hands-only CPR skills. 
  • 125 UCCS students and faculty participated hands-on CPR training at a campus event, and about 750 total bystanders learned about CPR through the "flash mob" demonstration.
  • 500 attendees at a CU football game took home helpful wallet-cards that walk through how to perform CPR - a handy tool to have on hand should they ever need to respond in an emergency.
  • More than 900 people watched our 2-minute video tutorials on how to perform CPR. Didn't watch the video? Click on the CU version below and learn the basics, then get certified by signing up for a class!

We'd like to express a huge thank-you to all of our community partners in this effort, to everyone who participated, and to all of our volunteers who made the effort possible. We believe that the training and education provided during the month-long campaign will save lives.