Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Thank You To Our Century Celebration Sponsors!

The American Red Cross of Colorado turns 100 in 2014! Thank you to our partners who continue to support our work as we celebrate this special moment in time.

The American Red Cross of Colorado would like to thank our top partners who enable us to be there for people in need when they need it most:

Monday, January 27, 2014

Colorado Flood Recovery Information

Updated May 14, 2014
The American Red Cross is committed to helping individuals and communities with their flood recovery efforts. Our priority is meeting essential basic needs through a combination of resources and referrals. We focus on ensuring that you have food, water and clothing, in addition to a safe place to stay.
Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I get Red Cross help?

A: Our trained caseworkers will evaluate your case and make a determination based on your unique circumstances. Please call 888-635-6381. Leave a message with your name and contact infomation, and a caseworker will call you back.

Q: What kind of help can the Red Cross provide?

A: Some of the items we may be able to assist you with include:
  • Gas 
  • Cisterns/Cistern refill or associated costs
  • Heating units/propane
  • Beds/Mattresses
  • Rental/Security Assistance
  • Storage 
  • Mold remediation 
  • Furniture Replacement
  • Emotional Support
  • Referrals 

Q: How do you determine if I qualify for Red Cross assistance?

A: The assistance we provide is determined on a case-by-case basis, based on your disaster-caused needs and access to comprehensive resources. Call our hotline at 888-635-6381 for specific information and help with resources, which may include non-financial assistance. Leave a message with your name and contact information and a case worker will call you back.

Q: What is the Red Cross priority for spending remaining flood funds?

A: We believe that that the best way to make the most efficient use of limited funds is to invest in recovery projects that will increase the local capacity and resiliency of vulnerable communities – building up community strength in a way that benefits individuals for a longer period of time than simply disbursing one-time, relatively small cash payments to individuals. The Red Cross is prepared to provide support in the form of materials, expertise, guidance, volunteers, training and/or financial assistance to community recovery projects.

Q:  How has the Red Cross helped during and after the floods?

A: Since Sept.11, 2013 the Red Cross has spent or made commitments to spend $6.98 million. This includes about $5.4 million dedicated to our initial response to the Colorado floods, including emergency food, shelter and relief supplies; health and mental health support for evacuees and affected residents; and immediate casework and client assistance. This initial response included:

• Opening and/or supporting 20 shelters that provided more than 3,800 overnight stays

• Serving more than 204,000 meals and snacks along with local partners such as

    The Salvation Army

• Handing out more than 249,000 relief items including work gloves, masks hand warmers, tarps, trash bags, duct tape, comfort kits and blankets

• Providing 15,000 health and mental health services contacts.

• Helping nearly 3,000 people with emergency or recovery related needs through casework.

Q: What else has the Red Cross done to help communities?

A: In some communities in the initial days after the floods, access was cut off due to damaged or destroyed infrastructure. In other cases, the Red Cross had already established partnerships with local agencies or churches so that they were able to provide for their communities during the

height of the statewide disaster. This focus on partnerships is a best practice that ensures that local needs can be met by local volunteers, especially during massive disasters when the Red Cross is called to respond to numerous locations across the state. In many communities, the American Red Cross supported local flood response efforts in various ways that may have included:

• Training local community shelters workers before the disaster struck so that they were empowered to open and operate a shelter on their own

• Providing guidance and expertise to community volunteers operating local shelters

• Providing resources (water, cots, blankets, comfort kits, food, health/mental health workers, staff and/or reimbursement)

To get flood recovery help call us at 888-635-6381. Leave a message with your name and contact information, and a caseworker will call you back.

Friday, January 24, 2014

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.

Julia had learned CPR through her lifeguard training, and she immediately dropped to the floor and began CPR. She took a moment to call her father on one phone line, and called 911 on the other line. Then she continued CPR until paramedics arrived. 

I was taken to the hospital and was kept in a medical coma, but on Valentine’s Day, I opened my eyes and said “I love you,” to my family.  

I’m so thankful Julia received the CPR training to become a lifeguard. I think it would be great for everyone to get trained by the Red Cross, because you never know when someone may need your help. Without that kind of lifesaving training, my story could have had a tragic outcome.

-Sharon Hastings, Fort Collins, Colorado

My Red Cross Story: Offering Comfort from Afar after Superstorm Sandy

In response to the overwhelming destruction of Superstorm Sandy in the fall of 2012, the Mile High chapter operated an overflow call center to field calls from affected areas. The eight-day effort, made possible by 42 volunteers working 126 shifts, helped hundreds in the area hardest hit by the hurricane find resources for food, shelter, healthcare providers and other urgently-needed services. One of our own bloggers, Mary Hastings, took a shift on the call center. Here is her story of giving hope and help to hurricane victims over a thousand miles away.

When I crawled out of bed that morning, I followed my normal routine to get ready, which included watching the news for the latest developments on the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy. I could barely fathom what it would be like to lose everything the way so many had during this catastrophic event. Like so many, I wanted to do something to help. Fortunately, the American Red Cross gave me that opportunity.  

I volunteered at the Mile High Call Center in Denver the first afternoon the national office had asked us to open to handle the tremendous overflow of calls from people needing help in New Jersey and New York. Initially there was a deluge of calls and with each call I answered I was moved by how grateful people were just to hear a calm, friendly voice on the other end. Lives had been turned upside down and people were desperately searching for food, shelter and clothing.

We had calls from people trying to get to shelters, from others trying to feed families and others frantic to help the elderly. One caller was crying because she was unable to drive anywhere to get her five children (including an infant) to safety; she was recovering from major surgery at home and no one could get to her to help.

We did our best to direct people to shelters and other resources, but what struck me most were the number of “thank you” and “GOD bless you” messages I heard. Through all of the chaos, people knew we cared and that made the experience very meaningful for me.

When I crawled back into bed that night, I knew how fortunate I was to lie down in a bed and pull the flannel sheets over my shoulders. An overwhelming peace came over me because, thanks to the American Red Cross, I was able to do something to help.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Red Cross Provides Training to Boy Scouts

Story and Photos by Bill Fortune and Charlie Mussi, American Red Cross

Nearly two dozen Boy Scouts of the Pikes Peak Boy Scout Council spent a challenging Saturday learning, sharing and working toward their Emergency Preparedness merit badge with the help of the Pikes Peak Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Colorado Springs Office of Emergency Management. The training was part of a larger Disaster Academy hosted by the Red Cross Pikes Peak Chapter.
Scouts working with volunteer
Gaby Stanley for their merit badge

For the Red Cross it was a chance to partner with the Pikes Peak Boy Scout Council in an effort to train and engage Scouts and to involve them in Youth Preparedness Week. Classes were held at the United States Olympic Committee training center (USOC) in Colorado Springs.

Boy Scout manual for Emergency
Preparedness merit badge
The Scouts learned to prepare and respond to emergency situations. They also learned important information about disaster mitigation, prevention and recovery. “We are so excited to work with the Red Cross and to get this training for our Scouts,” said Kent Downing, Pikes Peak Boy Scout Council Scout Executive. “Earning this merit badge helps a Scout to be prepared by learning the actions that can be helpful and needed before, during and after an emergency. Getting the training from a skilled Red Cross volunteer makes it that much better.”

Red Cross volunteer Heather Kraus, who serves as the leader for the Community Preparedness and Resilience Services team, provided the training along with her team members Gaby Stanley, Terri Possehl and Drew Phillips. They taught the Scouts what they needed to know to complete the requirements for the Emergency Preparedness merit badge.

“It was a pleasure to teach these enthusiastic and motivated Scouts the skills that they will use with their families and communities,” Kraus said. “These Scouts will go home and teach their families how to get or build an emergency kit, make a family emergency plan, and how to stay informed about rapidly changing situations.”

The Red Cross sponsors a number of youth programs across America.Youth and young adults are an important component of the American Red Cross family and make up more than 20 percent of the American Red Cross volunteer workforce.

Scouts Blake and Nathan say
Thank You to Red Cross
Young adult volunteers can be actively involved in every line of Red Cross service delivery; they can lead Red Cross Clubs, serve on disaster action teams, teach health and safety courses, hold leadership positions on local boards, donate blood and recruit other donors, raise funds in their local community, volunteer at veteran’s hospitals, teach community preparedness and support international initiatives. 
To learn more about the Red Cross and about the opportunities available for youth and young adults, visit

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Red Cross Keeps on Training

Being prepared for an emergency is important for everyone and nobody prepares better than the American Red Cross. Nearly 100 Volunteers from Colorado and Wyoming met for three days at the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Training Center in Colorado Springs to learn how they can prepare and improve their disaster response skills.
Volunteers register for the
Disaster Academy

The Disaster Academy was coordinated by Larry Cornett, who serves as the Lead Volunteer for training at the Pikes Peak Chapter. "We like to think of this as taking the best volunteers and making them better," Cornett said. "We really want to thank the USOC for allowing us to use their facilities so that our volunteers could take several classes all in one place."

Instructor Jeanie Ahrens teaches
the Disaster Services Overview Class
Training is a high priority for all Red Cross volunteers in the Colorado & Wyoming Region but at times it can be difficult to get the training needed to everyone that wants or needs it. "We have learned many things from the large disasters we have had in the last two years," Said Jaici Murcia Regional Disaster Officer for the Colorado & Wyoming Region. "Training academies like this are vital to keeping our volunteers up to date and ready to respond."

Red Cross Nurse Mary Moorehouse attends the
Frontline Supervisor Class
Training was provided in 13 subjects ranging from the introductory level to the Disaster Frontline Supervisor. "I am a lifelong learner," said Mary Moorhouse, a Red Cross Nurse for 12 years. "The more I learn the better I can be so I try to attend any class that I can."

Story and photos by Bill Fortune,
American Red Cross

Monday, January 13, 2014

Helping to Fuel Rebuilding in Glen Haven - Literally

On Wednesday, Jan. 8, the Red Cross provided the community of Glen Haven with 40 pairs of winter work gloves and $1,000 in gas cards to fuel the heavy-duty equipment necessary to clean up flood debris and repair flood-damaged roads.

The town was heavily hit by flooding in September 2013 and many of the roads are still not functional, which means some residents cannot move back to their homes – even if their homes were not heavily damaged by the flooding. 

Although the cost of repairing damaged infrastructure and private roads is well beyond the scope or ability of the Red Cross, we are supporting local efforts to rebuild by delivering resources such as the work gloves, helping to defray costs such as the fuel to operate equipment, and offering water and snacks to volunteer crews involved in local clean-up and rebuilding efforts.

In this photo, Red Cross Recovery Specialist Sabrina Amon shares a hug with Glen Haven Assistant Fire Chief Tom Housewright and his family after delivering the supplies.

“Glen Haven, with the fire department acting as the community center, is a great example of a hard-hit community taking ownership of their own recovery,” Sabrina said. “They have faced some seemingly unsurmountable challenges, but through collaboration, community spirit, dedication and hard work, they are making headway in overcoming those challenges.”

Honoring Hometown Heroes in Pueblo February 13, 2014

Heroes come in all sizes and shapes, all ages and from all walks of life. The word “hero” is often associated with military, law enforcement, and firefighters. But as we all know anyone can be a hero under the right circumstances. Ordinary people often step up to do extraordinary things when the need arises. It is not often that we get a chance to recognize some of those local heroes in our community. However, Feb. 13, 2014 that opportunity comes to Pueblo.

The Pueblo Hometown Heroes Dinner will be held at the Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center, 210 N Santa Fe Ave, Pueblo, CO 81003. from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.Thursday, Feb. 13. This event is an American Red Cross fundraiser that honors individuals and organizations who exemplify courage, kindness, and unselfish character through their acts of heroism in our local community. Heroes who have saved a life or helped make a life better within the last 18 months are nominated by their family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and community.

While this event serves as a primary fundraiser for the Red Cross it is also an opportunity to recognize those people who have clearly made a difference in the community. This is a wonderful event that is full of pageantry, ceremony, heart-felt laughter and tears.

The 2014 Humanitarian Award will be presented to Medal of Honor recipient Drew Dix. A long time resident of Pueblo, Dix is known for his support to America’s Armed Forces and for being the co-founder of the Center for American Values, an organization that highlights the sacrifice made by the men and women of our military services.

Hero awards will also be presented for the following categories:

Adult Hero:  (Age 18 and Over) Presented for a courageous or life-saving response that made an exceptional difference in, or saved the lives of others.
Youth Hero:  (Age 18 and under) Presented for a compassionate response or life-saving skills that made an exceptional difference in, or saved the lives of others.
Military Hero:  Presented to a member of the armed forces (active, guard, reserve or retired,) whose actions went above and beyond the call of duty.
Animal Hero:  Presented to an animal whose trained or innate skills helped save a life.
Community Service Hero:  Presented to an individual who has performed an extraordinary community service that has made a difference in the lives of others.
Community Partner Hero:  Presented to a business or organization whose compassion or life-saving actions made an extraordinary difference in the lives of others.
First Responder Hero:  Presented to a First Responder (Police, Fire and EMS) whose actions went above and beyond the call of duty to save a life or whose personal commitment to their local community has made an extraordinary difference in the lives of others.

If you would like to be part of the special event to sponsor an award, purchase a ticket or sponsor a table at the event contact Tom Gonzalez at 719-785-2701 or by email at

January Lunch and Learn to Focus on Humanitarian Concerns and the War on Terror

Yadira Rodriguez has devoted her academic life to the study of terrorism, an interest spurred by first-hand experiences of terror attacks in her home country of Colombia. But, she says, terrorism is not just something that can happen in faraway places: it can happen anytime, anywhere. “Terrorism affects everybody, it can happen at any moment,” she said. “We should be prepared and understand more about the Red Cross role in these situations, not only in response but in prevention.”
Yadira Rodriguez, a Red Cross volunteer and 
student at Korbel's School of International 
Studies, will present at Wednesday's 
Lunch and Learn event.

Yadira will present this month’s Lunch and Learn lecture on Jan. 15 with Dr. Lewis Griffith of University of Denver’s Korbel School of International Studies. The topic at hand is the intersection of humanitarian law with the policies of the War on Terror. Yadira, a Korbel graduate student and caseworker volunteer in the Restoring Family Links program at the Red Cross, sees the lecture as an opportunity to inform fellow volunteers as well as the general public of the intricacies of humanitarian concerns in the midst of anti- terrorism efforts. “We’re going to talk about how International Humanitarian Law applies to the War on Terror,” she said. “We’ll be discussing what the Red Cross has to say about how we treat people in places like Guantanamo Bay, people that are not considered enemy combatants, how their human rights are to be respected.”
Professor Lewis Griffith, a subject matter
expert on security studies, will also be
speaking on Wednesday.

Dr. Griffith, whose work for the US Air Force led to an academic focus on security studies, has taught and spoken extensively about the War on Terror. He believes it is important, especially for humanitarian volunteers, to be informed on the nature of terrorism and governmental policies concerning terror suspects. “The steps taken by the American government after 9/11 were unprecedented,” he said. “The government response was a fairly unprecedented phenomenon that is unlikely to go away, because terrorism on a large scale is unlikely to go away anytime soon.”

Yadira hopes the event will inspire discussion on the position of the Red Cross toward terror attacks and terrorists with respect to official government policies. Further, she hopes the lecture will help Red Cross members see terrorism as a problem the Red Cross can help address. “We want members to be emboldened, to understand better how terrorism can be prevented.”

The Lunch and Learn lecture will be presented Wednesday, Jan. 15, from noon to 1 p.m. at The American Red Cross, 444 Sherman St. RSVPs are requested by 5 p.m. Jan. 13 to Tim Bothe at WebEx options are also available for remote audiences. For more information, contact Tim Bothe.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Join Us as We Celebrate a Century of Service in Colorado!

In 1914, just as WWI began, local visionaries saw the need to locate a Red Cross chapter in Colorado. This year, we are excited to celebrate 100 years of service in Colorado!

We hope you'll join us all year long as we celebrate a century of service, remember the many lives touched by Red Cross volunteers over the years and build the foundation for the Red Cross to continue serving Colorado for another 100 years and beyond.

You can read more about our history on our About Us page; we'll also be posting on this blog throughout the year sharing interesting facts about our history, stories about our past and present volunteers, and more.

There are many ways to get involved in celebrating and supporting the Red Cross of Colorado in our centennial year. We will be commemorating the many past and present contributions of the Red Cross and its volunteers in Colorado through a series of events and campaigns, including:
  •  Jan. 29 - Century Kick-off (Denver)
  • Feb. 13 – Pueblo Hometown Heroes Dinner (Pueblo)
  • March – Red Cross Month (nationwide)
  • March 22 – The Century of Champions Red Cross Ball (Denver) SOLD OUT! (Sponsorships still available)
  • April 1 – Pikes Peak Chapter Hometown Heroes Event (Colorado Springs)
  • April 23 – Celebrating a Century of Community Heroes Event (Fort Collins)
  • May – Turn the State Red (statewide)
  • May 2 – Real Western Heroes Event (Grand Junction)
  • June 1-7 – CPR week (nationwide)
  • June – Behind The Red Century Celebration (Denver)
  • November – Chapter “birthday” parties (statewide) and Century Center Ribbon Cutting
    For more details about specific events, visit our Web site Events page. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Day With The Mexican Red Cross -A Parade And An Emergency

This post is a guest blog from volunteer Claudia Gianneti, who is traveling in Central and South America.

I spent a day with fellow Red Cross volunteers in Mexico while on my travels in San Miguel de Allende, a picturesque city of amazing beauty northeast of Mexico City. Gustavo Adolfo Rodriguez Rangel, the administrator of Mexico City’s chapter invited me to join Red Cross members for the city's celebration commemorating the Mexican revolution. The Mexican Red Cross was on site to provide emergency response services during the event, as well as participating in the traditional parade. This was a wonderful opportunity to share time with volunteers and learn about the services provided to the local community.
Claudia and a fellow volunteer for the Mexican Red Cross

Many of the services provided by the Mexican Red Cross are the same as those offered by the American Red Cross, as I’ve experienced as a volunteer at the Mile High chapter. In Mexico, however, the Red Cross provides ambulance and medical emergency response services, and depending on the city or area of the chapter location, the Red Cross may be the first responders to any medical emergency. This was the case for the Red Cross chapter of San Miguel.

I was assigned to accompany two first responder volunteers in one of the ambulances stationed around the park where the parade was taking place. We parked the ambulance and opened the back doors to enjoy the view of the events and to be ready for any medical emergency. The parade was beautiful and celebratory, with a great display of different generational groups, decorations and music.

An ambulance operated by the Mexican Red Cross
Suddenly, my colleagues got a radio call from headquarters telling them to report to a hotel near our route. We took off hastily, getting more information about the medical condition of an injured casualty on the way. The injured party had serious wounds to the forearm that required immediate emergency care by the RC responders. The volunteers worked to manage the patient’s bleeding and mangled flesh, until intervention by a physician was possible (incidentally, this situation had no relation to the parade events). As the ambulance made its way, the Emergency Medical Response team took care of the patient until we reached the hospital. Once the patient was turned over to hospital personnel, we went back to our location near the parade grounds, where events were still unfolding. After about 45 minutes, the Mexican Red Cross got a chance to join the parade and showcase the pride of volunteers with ambulances, siren sounds and red and white colors. Wow!

It was quite a unique day and a whole different experience from my work as a disaster services volunteer with the American Red Cross. But mostly, visiting the Mexican Red Cross allowed me to experience the camaraderie of fellowship across cultural lines. I think this is what the Red Cross principle of 'universality' is about - knowing that when and wherever you see the Red Cross emblem, you know you will find fellowship of cause and action for common well-being.