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Friday, May 29, 2015

Why in the world would people work long, hard hours for free?

by Patricia Billinger
Videos by Courtney Vermeer

Imagine if your job involved getting awoken in the middle of the night, without notice, and having to head out into the dark, the snow, the rain.

Imagine if your job involved spending up to 12 hours carefully driving up and down roads that are often damaged –  and sometimes impassible.

Imagine if your job involved dedicating yourself to organizing, training, practicing and preparing...for something that might never happen, but which could be worse than you ever imagined when it does happen.

Now imagine that you don't get paid a dime for all your time and hard work.

Red Cross volunteers do all of these things – and more – every day in Colorado and around the country. And they do it for free.

Why would anyone give so much? We asked our own volunteers, and here it is in their own words.
You'll see that they share a common love of helping others and enjoy the satisfaction of making a difference. Their commitment and their experiences are inspiring.

If, after watching these videos, you feel inspired, we encourage you to donate to support our ability to make their work possible. Your donations pay for the food and clothing and clean-up kits they give out, the Emergency Response Vehicles they drive to deliver aid –  and the gas to fuel those vehicles – the training that prepares them to help those in need, the blankets they wrap around shivering victims and even the vests they wear as a sign that hope and help are on the way.

Make it possible for these amazing volunteers to continue giving back by joining us #Allin1Day on June 2: http://givingday.redcross.org.

Michael: Helping someone on Christmas Eve


Judy: "It only works if you don't think of yourself as one person; you think of yourself as a team."

Susan: "There was nothing but a slab and some rubble..."

Les: Giving people the resources to be resilient

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Take a Peek into What the Red Cross Does #Allin1Day

By Patricia Billinger
What is the Red Cross up to when we're not responding to massive disasters? Let’s take a peek behind the curtain at what the Red Cross does #Allin1Day. Here’s a snapshot of what really happened on a single day last week in the Colorado & Wyoming Region:

Wednesday, May 20
6:50 a.m. – Sandy Hill answers her phone. There’s a multi-family fire at an apartment complex in Fort Collins, and 24 people are displaced. Sandy’s a volunteer disaster action team (DAT) captain. She gathers her kit, calls several other team members, and heads to the scene. There, her team meets with the residents, fire department, and the managers of the apartment complex. They’re able to determine that the complex can provide housing for the families whose homes were burned in the fire or damaged by the roof collapse and water damage. Sandy and her team connect the residents with other, individualized needs like clothing, food, and help replacing medications.

9 a.m. – Caretakers at Standard Pacific Homes  gather at their facility in Greenwood Village to train in CPR, First Aid and AED skills so they can respond to emergencies at their facility. A Red Cross instructor came to them to train them on site as part of our Full Service program.
CPR training includes how to help someone who is choking
- a handy skill to have at a facility where residents
are more likely to choke on their food.

10 a.m. – Red Cross Disaster leaders are monitoring minor flooding in multiple counties in Colorado, particularly along the Platte River near Sterling. Volunteers Dana Hoffman, Jason O’Brien and John Miller roll out a new tool enabling Red Cross responders to be aware of the current threat analysis so they can prepare and respond accordingly.

11 a.m. – Volunteers and staff in the field of logistics wrap up an important meeting about inventory control: just like any large business, the Red Cross needs to have a clear and efficient way to keep track of and coordinate the movement of supplies – things like cots, blankets and water bottles that we need to be able to move en masse quickly when disaster strikes. This meeting involves the Civil Air Patrol in developing a strategic partnership.
Just like a large business, the Red Cross must have
efficient systems in place to track and move supplies.

Noon Suzanne Ghais takes the podium for the monthly International Services Lunch and Learn in Denver. Suzanne has performed extensive research into international conflict resolution, and she addresses myths and facts about war, conflict and peace processes to educate a small crowd of Red Cross workers and members of the public about the complicated topic of conflict resolution. The international Red Cross played a pivotal role in developing the Geneva Conventions that govern the “rules of war” and protect noncombatants. The International Committee of the Red Cross continues to work to help and protect people affected by armed conflict.
Suzanne Ghais addressed facts and myths
about conflict and conflict resolution.

12:30 p.m. – George Sullivan, Red Cross preparedness lead for the Southwest and Rocky Mountain division, coordinates Red Cross chapters throughout the division for a massive, multi-state home fire preparedness campaign on July 16 in partnership with Smith’s food and drug, a subsidiary of Kroger. Employees from Smith’s will volunteer with the Red Cross on July 16 going door-to-door to install lifesaving smoke alarms and educate residents about fire safety – including in Wyoming.

2 p.m. – Local Red Cross workers who deployed to Texas and Oklahoma to provide disaster relief are only about halfway through their 12-hour day. When deployed on disasters, Red Cross staff work long, hard – but rewarding – hours. They perform a wide variety of duties, from staffing shelters and delivering food and supplies to working behind the scenes to provide leadership, organization, logistics and IT support.
Colorado & Wyoming workers deployed to assist
with a widespread disaster relief operation in Texas.

5 p.m. – Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces volunteers perform outreach to members of the B Company, 299th Brigade Engineer Battalion and their spouses at Fort Carson. Our volunteers want to ensure members of the battalion and their spouses know what Red Cross services are available to them and how to get help from the Red Cross.

6 p.m. – Instructor Juli Renny welcomes 11 everyday people to her Adult and Pediatric CPR, First Aid and AED course. The people in her class may be taking the training because they need it for work, or they’re new parents or grandparents, or because they care for children and want to know what to do in an emergency. No one wants to use the skills they learn in class, but we have plenty of stories of everyday people who became heroes because they used their training to save a life.

Whew, that’s a lot! And none of those was a major disaster. Want to support our work and the ongoing efforts of the Red Cross in your community? Join us on June 2 for the national Day of Giving! You can even schedule your gift now: www.redcross.org/givingday.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Red Cross Presents Wreath at Memorial Day Ceremony

Story and Photos by Bill Fortune/American Red Cross

Red Cross SAF volunteers provided information and
water to those attending the Memorial Day ceremony
in Pueblo, CO



Memorial Day is one of those days when American's set a side time to remember those that have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Veterans, active duty military, their families and the Pueblo community came together to remember all of those who have served and especially those that we have lost. The community gathered at the Pueblo Veterans Memorial Bridge in a ceremony that was a dignified and emotional tribute.

True to its mission, the American Red Cross was represented at this special event. They were there, like so many others, to commemorate our service men and women.

The American Red Cross has supported our nation's armed forces for more than a century in peacetime and in war.

LTC (ret) Wayne Lacey (L) and Dan Chaves salute as they
present a wreath at the Memorial Day Ceremony in Pueblo
"Our volunteers have been a strong presence during war time making sure that emergency messages get passed from family to service member," said Wayne Lacey, Service to Armed Forces director for the Colorado & Wyoming Red Cross. "They were that shoulder to lean on for service members and families."

Wreath presented by the Colorado & Wyoming
Red Cross at the Memorial Day Ceremony
in Pueblo, CO. 







As a proud supporter of our nation's military, the Colorado and Wyoming Region Service to Armed Forces volunteers and staff presented a wreath that will be placed at the Pueblo Veterans Memorial Bridge. It will be placed alongside wreaths from several other organizations who were there to show support. 



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Copy. Paste. Touch Lives. Are you #AllIn?

by Patricia Billinger
Quick test: Set your timer on your smart phone or watch, then time how long it takes you to:

  1. Copy the image below.
  2. Paste it into your twitter, Facebook or Instagram feed.
  3. Hit post/send.


I timed myself and it took…27 seconds. Boom. Message sent.

Pretty easy, right?

With a few clicks, you can be a part of a bigger movement to help people – people like the 24 Fort Collins residents who were shaken out of sleep early on the morning of May 20 by an apartment fire and whose homes and belongings were damaged or lost to the fire and its subsequent roof collapse and water damage. People like Gina,  whose life was saved by a neighbor who had learned CPR through his work. People like  Desire,  who was able to get her husband home from Korea when his father died.

These are the types of stories happening every day in the Colorado & Wyoming region of the Red Cross – and in every state across the country. In order to support what the Red Cross does #AllInOneDay, we’re asking the public to donate on June 2, 2015.

If you can donate, thank you! Gifts can be scheduled today.

Another, even easier way to help is to use the power of your voice and your social network to spread the word.

COPY, PASTE, CLICK FOR ROCK STARS:

Go to https://givingday.redcross.org/#ambassadors to become a social ambassador. The site has a ton of easy-to-access tools like images, pre-written posts and ideas to inspire you.  There are ideas for every day through June 2!

COPY, PASTE, CLICK FOR BUSY LIVES:

Don’t have time to log on every day? Anything you do can help. If nothing else, check one of these actions off your to-do list:

  • Follow @redcross or your local chapter (see below) and RT positive stories.
  • Like the Red Cross or your local chapter on Facebook and share the content from those accounts.
  • On June 1 or June 2, visit https://givingday.redcross.org/#ambassadors and copy and paste the text or one of the images into your preferred social media account. 
Your local Red Cross chapter social media accounts:

Mile High Area:

Southeast Colorado:

A Legacy of Angels and Generals: A Memorial Day Tribute


By Ed O’Brien
WWII Maj. General John F. (“Jack”) Curry presided over training of 2 million airmen, founded the Civil Air Patrol (The Air Force Auxiliary), and built Peterson, Nellis, and Wright-Paterson Air Force Bases, among many other facilities. Four-Hundred and twenty-four airbases, auxiliary fields, depots, and bombing ranges to be exact.


John F. ("Jack") Curry reviewing troops
at  Sacramento Field, 1944
The Good General was head of the Army Air Corps Western Technical And Training Command, Headquartered at Lowry for all of WWII.

And, in the end, “Jack Curry” was also a Mile High Chapter Red Cross Volunteer.  Though his name may have slipped into the past, his legacy continues to this day.

After the War, Jack lived in the Hilltop neighborhood of Denver. He’d retired from the Air Force in 1947. Curry was one of only six men who were both an Air Force and Army Air Corps General.

His achievements were great. His career was complete. But, his life was far from over.

In the years following his retirement, Jack went to find volunteers in oddest places. Places where no one else thought to look. Bars, cloistered churches, and hovels.

As head of the local Boy Scout Council, he went looking for troop leaders at the American Legion and VFW Halls. There the retired General discovered virtuous men without jobs, unsure of their future, and even without kids… yet.

Curry in Dress uniform shortly before his retirement ceremony.
Curry talked these men at loose ends into to leading Boy Scouts out to the woods on adventures in the wild. Many of these men spent years hiking and camping in the Army. They were experts. And they were a little wild themselves. He got the American Legion to sponsor baseball teams, dens, packs and troops.

He put fire back into men worn out by war but ready for a different service.

You see, Jack was more than a Boy Scout… he was a talent scout. He could see a job and talk a person into seeing that job too. And not unsurprisingly, he’d get them to envision that they were the person to do that very job. Jack was a down-to-earth, humble, and for a General a rather soft spoken kind of guy. Even if you didn’t love him… you liked him.

Orville Wright, then Maj. Curry and Charles Lindbergh
during construction of Wright Patterson Field in 1927. 
Claire Chennault, Jimmy Doolittle, George Kenney, Ira Eakers, and many more Air Force luminaries owe a piece of their careers and their place in history to Jack Curry. He was their talent scout too. But, that is another story.

After WWII, Jack was summoned to use his talents to assist the Red Cross.

During the War, everyone volunteered in the Red Cross: Moms with boys overseas. Wives waiting at home. Kids, parents, lawyers, doctors and nurses, bell-hops and bartenders -- even parolees lent a hand. It was the thing to do.

Everyone volunteered except those “drafted” into the Red Cross. Conscientious Objectors who proved they were against military service on moral grounds were drafted into Alternative Civilian Service and the Red Cross was one of the beneficiaries. So there were “draftees” in the Red Cross. However, that is yet another great story… for later.

But after WWII, Red Cross Volunteer numbers were down. So Jack Curry set out to find new blood where no one thought to look. Again, VFW Halls, American Legion Posts, and Anti-Military Churches such as the Brethren, Mennonites, Amish, and Seventh Day Adventists. Jack knew where to look.

Jack’s reasoning was sound: These were people with passionate beliefs, people who’d shown that service was important -- all they’d need was a place and a calling. The Red Cross was that place and that calling.

Maj. Gen. John F. Curry's grave can be found at
Ft. Logan National Cemetery. Photo by Ed O'Brien
Jack spent about 10 years on the Red Cross Board in Denver. Volunteer numbers increased every year.  As such the role of the Red Cross did too.

Maj. Gen. John F. Curry died in Denver in 1973. He is buried, along with his wife Eleanor, at Ft. Logan National Cemetery.  His Grave is in Section Q number 4172.

This Memorial Day, should you be in the vicinity of Fort Logan National Cemetery, John Francis Curry, Maj. Gen. Army Air Corps, is worth your salute. Be an angel and look for his place of peace.






Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Volunteers canvass neighborhoods, get trained in Western CO

Nearly 30 Red Cross volunteers and employees from 8 counties spent the weekend of May 15-17 training, practicing and reaching out to save lives in and around the Steamboat Springs area.

Volunteers explain the importance of having an evacuation plan.
The Red Cross Northwest Colorado Disaster Academy drew 27 Red Cross staff and trained them to prepare Colorado & Wyoming residents for emergencies, respond during disasters, and help their communities recover after disasters.

In addition to training, 18 volunteers went out into the Steamboat Springs community to deliver disaster preparedness and lifesaving resources door-to-door to local residents. The volunteers visited 25 homes in two trailer parks, where they spoke with more than 100 residents, helped make 25 emergency evacuation plans, installed 38 smoke alarms and changed batteries on another 9 smoke alarms.

A Red Cross volunteer installs
one of 38 smoke alarms.
The outreach activity was a hands-on training in emergency preparedness and is part of a five-year campaign by the Red Cross aimed at reducing deaths and injuries caused by home fires by 25 percent.

Although the outreach day had been planned for some time, it came a a time when the community was shaken by a recent home fire and residents were thinking about fire safety. 

The next Red Cross volunteer Disaster Training Academy will be June 6-7. For more information, visit: http://www.redcross.org/news/article/Red-Cross-Hosts-Disaster-Training-Academy-in-Pueblo.

Home fire preparedness campaign canvassing activities happen regularly throughout the state. If you are interested in volunteering, visit: http://www.redcross.org/co/denver/firesafety .

See more photos from the Steamboat Springs outreach date here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/redcrossmilehighchapter/sets/72157653112106135

Friday, May 15, 2015

May Lunch and Learn: The Rise of Peaceful Conflict Resolution

The concept of a "peace process" can bring to mind images of drawn-out negotiations, tense moments of compromise, and diplomats locked in urgent debate. But as Suzanne Ghais, the speaker for next Wednesday’s International Services Lunch and Learn, has learned, sometimes the key to peace must involve innovative measures, like threats of nudity.

Ghais, who is pursuing her PhD in conflict studies at American University, tells a story of the Liberian Civil War, during which a group of activist women joined hands around a building in which negotiators had turned to bickering and stalling. When their barricade didn't spur the negotiators to action, the women threatened to get naked, a tactic meant to appeal to Liberian cultural beliefs surrounding the female body.

"In Liberian culture, it's believed that if a man sees a naked woman, who is not his wife, it causes a curse," Ghais said. "So the threats the women were making were not taken lightly."

May Lunch and Learn speaker
Suzanne Ghais
The story is among many Ghais has encountered in her extensive research into international conflict resolution. Her interest in the field began when she started at Brown University as an undergraduate. Ghais, who is half Egyptian, was frustrated with a lack of courses in the history and culture of the Middle East. But in meeting fellow students with a similar connection to the Middle East, Ghais found herself in the midst of arguments between students who felt passionately about the Israel-Palestine conflict. When she and other students began to conduct workshops and take other actions aimed at finding a peaceful middle ground, Ghais's lifelong passion for peaceful problem-solving was born.

In her professional life, Ghais has facilitated conflict resolution between tribal groups, professional organizations and within workplaces. Her book, "Extreme Facilitation: Guiding Groups through Controversy and Complexity" was published in 2005 and provides detailed insights into her own distinct approach to reaching consensus, with a focus on flexibility and creativity. But even in the ecosystem of conflict and dispute that make up today's geopolitical realities, Ghais says there is more reason than ever to be optimistic about the power of peaceful conflict resolution.

"The trend is going in the right direction," Ghais said. "We have the Arab Spring, or the Arab Awakening, which I think is the better term for it, that set off some conflicts, but this, too shall pass. There will come a time when the positive actions of those changes, I think, will bear fruit and the conflicts caused by those situations will eventually be resolved. It's understanding that wars are products of particular historical circumstances, and a lot of those sources of war are going to go away. We've gotten a lot better at how we prevent, manage and solve these conflicts. It's more hopeful than not."

The Lunch & Learn lecture will be presented Wednesday, May 20, from noon to 1 p.m. at the American Red Cross, 444 Sherman St. RSVPs are requested by 12 p.m. Tuesday, May 19, by clicking here. Webinar options are also available for remote audiences. For more information, contact Tim Bothe.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Thank You Pikes Peak Chapter Volunteers!

By Jennifer Marsh

Colorado Red Cross volunteers are amazing.  90% of the American Red Cross in Colorado is made up of volunteers, with over 40,000 hours annually put in by Pikes Peak Chapter volunteers alone. Saturday, May 9, the Red Cross said thank you. 

 Not just thank you for showing up, but thank you for the hours of training, and thank you for the compassion, creativity and care that goes into delivering services to those in need.

The event also marked the announcement of the Deborah MacSwain Passion for Service Award.

Some volunteers really go out of their way, finding more ways to lead and to create opportunities to make an even bigger difference in people’s lives.  Service can be expressed both through leading a large operation, or by being there in small ways over many years.  As Marjorie Moore said, “Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.”

Clearly, the volunteers of Pikes Peak Chapter want a community full of people dedicated to creating a better world through the giving of their time and talents.  Thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers, and especially those honored below.  Without you, we literally would not be here!

Special Achievement Awards

Lifetime Achievement of Service – Jeanie Ahrens

 
 

Jeanie has been involved with the Red Cross for 57 years, from 1958, when she set up a program for swimming lessons, including organizing the transportation, to her current involvement with Mass Care, Sheltering and Client Casework.  She is a second generation Red Crosser, and taught first aid classes with her mother in Tennessee.  More recently, she has coordinated the Tri-Lakes Sheltering Teams. 

Thank you Jeanie, for sprinkling pixie dust over our clients when they were having the worst day of their lives, sharing Mickey Mouse with our volunteers when they needed help to be strong, and for having a heart to serve your entire life. 

Deborah MacSwain Passion for Service Award – Kathleen Sharkey

 

Don’t talk about things that need to be done around Kathleen Sharkey, because with her generous heart and efficient manner, she will get it done.  Over the last five years, she has been Client Caseworker Lead and Disaster Action Team Co-Coordinator, which in and of itself has involved organizing eight DAT responders in sixteen counties, both for emergencies and for trainings. 

Kathleen’s humor, dedication and compassion are shared not only with clients but with other volunteers.  She is much beloved in both the field and the office.  Thank you, Kathleen, for your dedication and dogged ability to find solutions to knotty problems.

Volunteer of the Year – Lee Roman

 


It is not always easy to find ways to meet client needs at the same time as adhering to Red Cross policies in the midst of a disaster, but Lee Roman is a master of thinking outside the box.  In her 25 years of service, she has responded to events ranging from the Oklahoma City bombing to the World Trade Center 9/11 disaster to the shootings at Virginia Tech to the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest fires.  Her dedication and practical, common sense responses have earned her a Health Services Manager status from National Headquarters.  Thank you, Lee, for serving not only in the field and on the Board of Directors, but also for inspiring a new generation of Health Care responders as a mentor.

Departmental Awards and Other Recognitions:

Exceptional Volunteer Award – Rich Garcia
 

Exceptional Volunteer of the Year – Elizabeth Ritchie 

 

Unsung Heroes – Kitty Taylor (not pictured), Donna Constance and Daniel Chavez

 
Army Rookie of the Year – Melissa Dashner


Rookie of the Year – Delynda Campbell (not pictured)

Star Award – Kathleen Rowland (not pictured), Carolyn Sharp


Family Service Award – Jeannie and Dennis Hoyt


Team Award – Don Espinoza, Dan Chavez, Bob McCown, Peg McCown, John Goorley, Dave Duran (Bob, Peg, John and Dave not pictured)


Air Force Volunteer of the Year – Larry Grenier

 
Army Volunteer of the Year – Anne Rost

 
Army Youth Volunteer of the Year – Alicia Rendon


Board Member of the Year – Vicki Cederholm


Outstanding Leader of the Year – Charlie Mussi


Disaster Cycle Services Volunteer of the Year – Robert Rose

 

To view more photos of the event, visit our Flickr album: 


 

 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Red Cross Feeds Rescuers During Search and Rescue Effort in Boulder

By Bill Fortune/American Red Cross
Photos by Mitch Lavelett/American Red Cross


Red Cross volunteer Loyce Jones
stocks the pantry as a rescuer
grabs a quick bite at the scene of 
search and rescue effort in Boulder, CO
Photo by Mitch Lavalett/American 
Red Cross
The Red Cross of Colorado brought food and beverages to support search and rescue teams in Boulder County. Teams from several agencies were searching for a missing person who had been tubing on Boulder Creek. The Red Cross Mile High Chapter disaster team was called to the scene Tuesday evening to provide snacks, water and coffee. Early Tuesday morning the teams provided breakfast sandwiches, coffee and water to 25 rescuers. The search continued Tuesday and the Red Cross provided lunch for 35 rescuers.

Rescuers grab a quick bite at the
Red Cross Mobile Feeding Vehicle
on scene of search and rescue
effort in Boulder, CO. 
“When they come to our feeding vehicle you can tell they are tired,” said Loyce Jones, Red Cross disaster volunteer. “They feel better after they had something to eat and drink so I know they appreciate that we are here for them.”


The Red Cross responds to help anyone affected by disasters, even those who are on scene helping others. “We got the call late Monday but our volunteers were excited that they could help the rescue effort, “said Jessica Pate, disaster program specialist for the Mile High Chapter. 

Practice Makes Perfect for Red Cross of Southeastern Colorado

By Bill Fortune/American Red Cross

People say that practice makes perfect and if there ever was an organization that believed in that motto is the American Red Cross. Training our volunteers through small and large scale exercises keeps them in top shape and keeps them confident in their skills.

Dan Chavez organizes lunch for
shelter participants at 2015
 CSEPP Exercise in Pueblo, CO
Photo by Arnett Luce
Our volunteers participated in the Chemical Storage Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP) exercise Wednesday, May 6. Volunteers from Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Walsenburg and other southeast Colorado locations opened up an emergency shelter as part of this large scale, federally evaluated exercise in Pueblo.

Students played card games as mock shelter residents at
the 2015 CSEPP Exercise in Pueblo, CO. Photo by
 Arnett Luce
“This is the best training we can give to our disaster volunteers,” said Sally Broomfield, disaster program manager for the Red Cross of Southeastern Colorado. “We put our volunteers through scenarios that are very close to reality.”  The volunteers were able to demonstrate their skills in shelter management, logistics, nursing and disaster mental health.  They also worked closely with local, state and federal emergency management as part of the Joint Information Center and the Emergency Operations Center.

Over 70 students from a Pueblo Health Academy High School served as shelter clients. Each student had a role to play that would require a response from those working the shelter. The students stayed in character and really gave our volunteers a challenge.

CSEPP Exercise participants gather for a debrief at the end
of the shelter exercise in Avondale, CO.
Photo by Walt Palmer
The Red Cross has been an important player in the annual CSEPP drill for nearly a decade. Every year the exercise scenario provides challenges that our disaster volunteers will face in the real world.  “This is always a challenging exercise,” said Sherrie Goorley, a Red Cross nurse from Pueblo. “We treat it as if it were a real disaster so that when something does happen we are all ready to do our job.”

To see more photos of the Colorado Red Cross at the 2015 CSEPP Exercise visit our Flickr page at https://www.flickr.com/photos/redcrossmilehighchapter/sets/72157652020145718

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Chance for Heavy Rain Means Preparedness for the Red Cross

Story and photos by Bill Fortune/American Red Cross

Morning clouds and rain, after a couple of days with thunderstorms, would raise concern from anyone living in Colorado, especially along the Colorado Front Range. After the flash floods of 2013 and a dozen or more threatening days in 2014 it is easy to see how thunder and rain can be unsettling.

Jim Simms (L) and Rich Garcia tally supplies to be stored
at the Historic Congregational Community Church
 in Manitou Springs.
The Red Cross is no different when it comes to being concerned about the threat of thunderstorms, heavy rain and flash flooding so we take every opportunity to be prepared for events like that.

Recently our mass care team was busy stocking emergency supplies at the Historic Community Congregational Church of Manitou Springs. The church has been activated as an evacuation center on many occasions since the August 2013 flash flood. On some occasions the church was opened for just a few hours so that people who were stopped on U.S. 24 would have a place to wait out the storm. Other times the church was opened as a shelter for several days.

“The typical activation is only for a few hours,” said Sally Broomfield, disaster program manager for the American Red Cross of Southeastern Colorado. “Other times we have supported people overnight so we want to have what we need just in case.”

Rich Garcia (R) and Jim Simms go through the supply
trailer at the Historic Community Congregational Church
in Manitou Springs. 
Red Cross snack and water supplies were stored in the kitchen area of the church. A larger cache of supplies that would be used for overnight stays remains in a storage trailer just across the parking lot from the church with enough cots, blankets and other supplies to support 50 people.

Having supplies ready for an emergency is an important part of being prepared. Having a plan and a 72-hour kit at home can make the difference when seconds count. You can learn more about how to get prepared for an emergency on our website, www.redcross.org/prepare, or, by downloading the newest Red Cross mobile app, Emergency. The app is available for iPhone and Android phones and tablets and it will help you before, during and after the disaster. Go to www.redcross.org/mobileapps to learn more and to download the app. The app is also available on iTunes, Google play and other app vendors.