Thursday, August 31, 2017

Wonderful Day of Giving

Support from local media and TeleTech came together Wednesday when a telephone fundraiser was held to raise money to support the Red Cross response to Hurricane Harvey.
The event was coordinated by Katherine Schaefer, Events Manager for the Colorado and Wyoming Red Cross. The effort began on Monday with discussions and coordination and it all came together Wednesday at the TeleTech Corporate Center in Englewood, CO.
All day on Wednesday our team of 150 volunteers, both Red Cross and corporate/private volunteers, answered 3,574 calls raising a total of $260,000. That amount was matched by corporate donations of $245,000 to result in a grand total of $505,000 all earmarked for supporting the Red Cross Hurricane Harvey disaster relief.
TeleTech, an international call center corporation, provided the facility and call lines for the event. They also provided close to 75 volunteers. Also taking calls Hikmet Ersek, CEO for Western Union, to answer the out-pouring of support for the Red Cross. Volunteers were also provided by the Avalanche Hockey Team, The Nuggets Basketball Team, Barber-Nichols, Level3, Davis, Graham & Stubbs, Anadarko, Western Union Foundation, DCP Midstream, Littleton Public Schools and Centurylink.
There was an air of excitement and adrenaline as call takers accepted the calls. At times it was competitive as Colorado Avalanche Wing Matt Neito and Defenseman Erik Johnson came and answered calls at the Red Cross Telethon. They were competitive in their fund raising. Matt was getting pledges of $5-$10, while Erik was getting $100-$200 donations. At this moment Matt is listening to Erik take a $100 phone call. He turned around and said incredulously; "Seriously Dude! Another $100?"

Torrey Craig(R) with Rocky (L) and
our own Josette Valdez-Negley at TeleTech
Nuggets basketball player Torrey Craig and Rocky the mascot helped excite everyone. Torrey expressed his concern for the people impacted by Hurricane Harvey and was pleased when he saw the compassion demonstrated by the many donations.

Colorado First Lady Robin Hickenlooper joined in the festivities to added credence to the effort and to express her concerns for the people suffering along the Texas Gulf Coast.

Corporate support played a big role in this effort providing $245,000 matching funds. Much of the matching funds were generated from employee giving.
Western Union - $100, 000
CDHP - $70,000
DCP Midstream - $50,000
Liberty Oilfield Services - $25,000

Western Union Foundation Executive Director, Elizabeth Roscoe was on hand to help with the telethon and said, "This is great to see and we are happy to be a part of something that will help the people that have suffered so much."

Probably the single most influential participants were local Denver media who alerted their viewers to the challenge being faced by the Red Cross and encouraged donors to call in. Big thanks to:

KDVR, KMGH, FOX31, Telemundo and CBS4 for televising the event with frequent cut-ins during their newscasts. Also KOA Radio was on hand to help promote the event. We could see a surge in calls every time a news broadcast happened.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Swimming for 50 Years for Red Cross

Story and Photos by Stefani Madison/American Red Cross

It isn't every day you have the privilege of meeting someone with Karen Drake's sense of dedication
Karen Drake, 50 years of Service.
and passion for her work. Since 1967 she has been teaching, year round, water safety and life saving classes.

In 1962, Nebraska farm kids Karen and her brother would walk to school. Their path would take them over an irrigation canal, but before they were allowed to cross the canal, their mother ordered them to learn to swim in the event one of them fell into the water. Karen learned quickly, fell in love with swimming, and has been at it ever since.

Becoming a certified water safety instructor in 1967, Karen began teaching students in Westminster, Colorado. Students ranged from young children to adults, and a number of her teenage and older students went on to become certified instructors as well. In 1968, Karen moved to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, put down roots and has never left.

During the winter, when public schools are in session, Karen takes her young students to The Old Town Pool, where hot springs keep the water comfortably warm. There, for Physical Education classes, she teaches students to swim and to learn water safety. In the summer, she adds water safety instructor classes to her routine, certifying new instructors and re-certifying instructors who need to maintain currency in lifesaving and water safety skills.
Karen Drake (L) receives recognition plaque from
Eric Myers, Executive Director for Red Cross
of Western Colorado

This has been her vocation for an astonishing fifty years.

On August 23rd, to honor Karen's dedication, Eric Myers, Executive Director of the American Red Cross of Western Colorado, presented Karen with a lovely plaque of appreciation for her devotion and hard work. According to Eric, this was only the second fifty-year award he's had the pleasure of presenting. In addition to the plaque, Karen received a letter of thanks and congratulations from Gail McGovern, President and CEO of the American Red Cross.

When Eric asked the question we were all curious to have answered - how many lives might have been saved by life savers and water safety graduates of Karen's classes - she smiled and replied that there was simply no way of knowing. She surmised that the number could be many, and when even one life saved is precious, 'many' lives saved is momentous.

Following the brief award ceremony and a group photo of Karen with several of her graduates, she was kind enough to provide Eric with a tour of the facility and its many pools. Some pools were dedicated for children's swimming lessons, some for older adults and yet others for her water safety courses and for public enjoyment. During her tour, several of her former students congratulated her for her recognition with smiles and hugs. It was plain to see the affection and respect she has earned over the years by her hard work and dedication. When asked if she had plans for retiring, or even slowing down, she said simply, "No."

If you are interested in learning more about the Red Cross Water Safety program please visit our website at

Colorado Equipment and Volunteers Deploying to help with flooding

Update: Tuesday, September 5, 2017 -Volunteers continue to deploy to support the Hurricane Harvey relief effort. Twenty-four people deployed over the Labor Day weekend bringing our total to nearly 70 Colorado and Wyoming responders. See list of newly deployed responders below.

Using helicopters to deliver vital supplies in Houston.
Photo:American Red Cross
Incredible service delivery stories are coming out of the response. On Monday, a woman called 911 to request emergency delivery of a special baby formula for her sick infant. The home was not reachable by land. Red Cross was called and a helicopter was used to transport the formula to the home.

Recently deployed:
Mile High Area 
John Miller - Disaster Assesment
Robert Thomas - Planning Support
Rose Arellano - Sheltering
Julie Uhemik - Mental Health
Richard Blodgett - Government Operations
Diana Dalegar - Sheltering
Helen Robinson - Disaster Technology
David West - Sheltering

Southeastern Colorado
Dee Dee Pothier - Sheltering
Bruno Pothier - Sheltering
Edwin Firoved - Sheltering
John Hartling - Sheltering
Douglas Van Allen - Sheltering
Cathy Smith - Sheltering

Northern Colorado
Victoria McCauley - Sheltering
Jamie Gillaland - Sheltering
Darlene Moore - Sheltering
Chester Norris - Sheltering
Debra LeFeber - Sheltering
Nora Smith - Disaster Spiritual Care
Paul Woods - Logistics

Western Colorado
Melindy Kennedy - Sheltering
Tim Simon - Sheltering
Jenny Roberts - Sheltering

Latest Harvey Fast Facts through September 4, 2017:

The American Red Cross is working around the clock to provide shelter, food, comfort and other emergency support to victims of Hurricane Harvey.

  • Sunday night, at least 33,000 people sought refuge in 284 Red Cross and partner shelters across Texas overnight. The Red Cross is also assisting the Louisiana state government with emergency shelters which hosted nearly 1,300 people last night.
  • More than 3,000 Red Cross disaster workers are on the ground, with an additional 450 are on the way.
  • Shelter supplies to support more than 85,000 people are on the ground.
  • Along with our partners, we have served more than 690,000 meals and snacks since the storm began. 
  • We have trailers of kitchen supplies on the ground to support 16 kitchens, each able to produce 10,000 meals a day.
  • We also have about 150,000 ready-to-eat meals currently on the ground.
  • More than 215 emergency response vehicles have been activated to help deliver meals and relief supplies.
  • Mental health and health services professionals have provided some 21,000 contacts to provide support and care to evacuees.
  • We’ve distributed more than 30,000 relief items like diapers and comfort kits that contain deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste and other hygiene items for people forced from their homes. Cleaning and relief supplies to support more than 35,000 homes are on the ground, with an additional 5,000 on the way.
  • More than 23 million hurricane and flood alerts have been issued through Red Cross mobile apps since August 23, well surpassing the 6 million issued for Superstorm Sandy. The apps provide shelter locations and real-time information so people can help protect themselves and their loved-ones.  

UPDATE:Friday, Sep 1, 2017 - Total deployments to support Hurricane Harvey is now 46 as three additional volunteers are heading to Texas.

Southeastern Colorado
John Hunts - Shelter Worker

Northern Colorado
Barbara Reed - Shelter Worker

Mile High Area
Paul Madigan - Logistics Support

Update: Thursday, Aug 31, 2017 - Colorado and Wyoming Red Cross continues to support the disaster relief effort for people affected by Hurricane Harvey. We have a total of 43 Red Crossers assigned to the disaster response in Dallas and Houston, Texas and 1 person assigned to support sheltering in Louisiana.

August 29, 2017. George R. Brown Convention
Center, Red Cross Mega Shelter, Houston, Texas.
Photo:Daniel Cima/American Red Cross
Recent deployments to the Texas Gulf Coast
Southeast Colorado:
Stephan Brewton - Shelter Supervisor
Ronald Quay - Shelter worker

Northern Colorado:
Julie Demaree - Shelter worker

Megan Michael-Smith - Disaster Mental Health Counselor
Britney Good - Shelter Worker

Update: Tuesday, August 29, 2017 - Since Sunday, 20 additional disaster responders from Colorado and Wyoming have deployed to support the Hurricane Harvey response. This brings our total to 39 people assigned to Hurricane Harvey Relief. The list below has the names and home chapters of the responder.

Almost 1,000 volunteers are on the ground and more help is on the way. They will be joined by a group of highly-skilled volunteers from the Mexican Red Cross who will help support shelters, distribute aid, and connect with Spanish speaking disaster survivors. Along with our partners we have served nearly 30,000 meals and snacks since the storm began.

More than 80 tractor-trailer loads of cots, blankets, ready-to-eat meals, comfort kits, kitchen supplies and cleaning supplies are now on the ground in Texas. More than half of our emergency response fleet - 200 Emergency Response Vehicles - have been activated for the operation.

You can find shelters by calling 800-REDCROSS (800-733-2767), visiting or by downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App.

Mile High Chapter/Colorado
Bob Dewey
Constance Hoffer
Kendal Nigel Holderby
Gretchen Burdekin

Kaleigh Good
Robert Robertson
Darcie Wisehart
Sylvia Raumaker
Gypsy Petz - to Louisiana

Northern Colorado:
Ron Hedrick
Ruben Marez
Ron Hedrick
Michael Jones
Cheryl Ann Hood

Western Colorado
Kathy Urso
Michael Leak
Anthony Lopez

Southeast Colorado
Richard Muszynski
Stuart Nieburgh
Stephen Brewton

How can you help? CLICK, CALL or TEXT
The best way to help the Red Cross help the people affected by Hurricane Harvey is to go to and click on donate. You can call 1-800-REDCROSS and donate by phone. You can text HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
Helping a family at a shelter! Photo:American Red Cross
ane Harvey is through a financial donation. You can go to

Can I volunteer to help?
YES, we need community volunteers to help out. If you are a strong, compassionate person with some time to volunteer contact your nearest Red Cross office or visit

For the latest news release from the Red Cross about our Hurricane Harvey response go to:


UPDATE: Friday, August 25, 2017 - as of 9 AM, Friday a total of 18 Colorado and Wyoming Disaster Responders are heading to the Texas Gulf Coast to support the disaster relief efforts due to Hurricane Harvey. In addition, one volunteer (Catherine Leventhal, from Mile High Area is responding from home in Denver to help monitor social media.

Volunteer Andrew Aerenson in the Emergency Response
Vehicle ready to head to Houston. Photo by Bill Fortune/
American Red Cross
in addition to those mentioned in earlier messaging (see below) the following are on their way to help with the response effort:

Mile High Area:
Maureen Kelly
Carroll Larremore
Larry Walz
Kevin Erickson
Catherine Leventhal (virtual)
Jaici Murcia 

Western Colorado:
Ted Mueller
Steven Harris
Volunteers from Northern Colorado Red Cross get ready
to head to Houston. Photo/American Red Cross

Northern Colorado:
Ken Harnett

Southeastern Colorado:
Sally Broomfield

Spencer Pollock
Charlie Magee
Charlotte Handy

Red Cross volunteer checks out the ERV before
heading to Houston. Photo by Nigel Holderby/Red Cross
In addition to those listed above, we continue to have 2 volunteers deployed to the fires in British Columbia and 1 volunteer deployed to Kansas City, MO.

Thursday, August 24, 2017 - The Red Cross is responding to several disasters across the Country. Major Flooding in Kansas City, Mo. and potential flooding in the Texas Gulf Coast. Equipment and volunteers from Colorado and Wyoming are heading out to help.

Kansas City, MO Flood Response
Dennis Hoyt, a volunteer from Walsenburg, CO, from the Red Cross of Southeastern Colorado, will travel to Kansas City, MO to help as a member of the Government Liaison team. He will coordinate with local, state and federal government to help direct the Red Cross response in that area.

Texas Gulf Coast Flood Response
As tropical storm Harvey increases in strength the threat of major flooding and storm surge will increase along the Texas Gulf Coast and points inland.

The Red Cross has rallied resources including people and equipment to prepare for the impact that the flooding might bring. Three Emergency Response Vehicles (ERV) and six Red Cross volunteers from Colorado will travel to Houston to begin preparation for response. The volunteers and their ERVs will depart from the Mile High Area facility in Denver.

The Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) is a large box-type vehicle that serves as the primary Red Cross vehicle for transporting food and cleanup supplies. The vehicles will be assigned to specific kitchens where they will carry food into the stricken neighborhoods. They may also be assigned to a Red Cross warehouse to transport cleanup supplies.

Bill and Judy Howell are a husband and wife team from the Northern Colorado Chapter will take the ERV from that chapter.

Andrew Aerenson is a volunteer with the Western Colorado Chapter. He and Herman Dieball from the Northern Colorado Chapter will take the Western Colorado ERV to Houston.

Eugene McGuire and Corey Hixson ,who volunteer with the Mile High Area Red Cross, will take the ERV from the Mile High Chapter to Houston.

The Red Cross of Colorado and Wyoming will keep other equipment in the Region to support any disaster response needs within Colorado or Wyoming.

If you are interested in helping the Red Cross provide relief for disasters like floods you can donate to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund by visiting or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS.

If you are interested in volunteering with the American Red Cross visit our website,

Monday, August 21, 2017

How To Prepare For An Eclipse

There are many levels of preparedness when it comes to a total eclipse. Some of the most important things to remember are, obviously, about your personal safety and the safety of your eyes. A lot of professionals are talking about Eye Safety Cautions, and it's really important you pay attention to these warnings. If you haven't planned ahead or were not able to find a pair of approved solar eclipse viewing glasses, there are several ways you can still safely view the eclipse. Check out the NASA website for some great options.

Here at the American Red Cross we have a different level of preparedness. In addition to making sure we have our approved eye wear, we must ensure consistency of communications between ourselves, here in the Denver Red Cross office, and our team in Cheyenne, Wyoming. As thousands of people travel into Wyoming, on the hunt for the perfect spot to see the TOTAL Eclipse, the potential for the telecommunication system to be overwhelmed is a real possibility. Communication with our partners in emergency management across the state, as well as with the Red Cross teams in the field, is critical every day. One of our key responsibilities is to ensure life safety for our team, and the public, and to be able to support any potential disaster relief operation that may arise. So...we prepare.

Our team of staff and volunteers are standing by here in the Denver office, Red Cross Emergency Communications Center, where local Amature Radio (Ham Radio) operators are monitoring radio traffic and keeping an ear on things. The importance of being able to communicate is something we take pretty serious. "The American people have an expectation of the Red Cross to be operational, no matter what." says George Sullivan, Director of Community Preparedness and Resilience for the American Red Cross of Colorado & Wyoming. "The concern over potential outages is related more to human activity than any cosmic threat to the infrastructure, but we must always be prepared for ANY and all threats." says Sullivan. Behind the scenes we are happy to report that we will be able to respond to any call for help.

So, as you safely watch this historical moment, you can rest assured...the Red Cross is ready and able to respond to any call for assistance and will continue to alleviate human suffering in the face of any emergency that may come our way.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

Disaster Workers Deploying to Canada Wildfires

Denver, Monday, August 21, 2017 The American Red Cross of Colorado & Wyoming is sending disaster workers to help with the devastating wildfires in British Columbia, Canada.

Dana Goldsmith at recent exercise in
Colorado Springs
Dana Goldsmith is a volunteer with the Red Cross of Southeastern Colorado. She has been a volunteer for more than 4 years and is an important member of the southeast Colorado team. In British Columbia, Goldsmith will serve as a member of the Staff Services team. As such she will work to ensure that other volunteers have lodging and other Red Cross support. She will travel from Colorado Springs on Tuesday, August 22.  

Heather Zoccali will travel to Kamloops, British Columbia to help with the wildfire recovery as a Client Services Specialist. As such she will help individual families as the try to recover from the devastating wildfires. Zoccali is a volunteer with the Red Cross of Northern Colorado and has deployed to large scale disasters on other occasions.

For stories and background information visit the Canadian Red Cross Blog at or visit the Canadian Red Cross of British Columbia at, or for wildfire information visit:

Photo courtesy BC Fire
To help the Red Cross respond to disasters like floods and wildfires donate on line by visiting You can also call 1-800-REDCROSS to make a donation.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Cat and Dog First Aid Online Course Now Available

Learn how to provide emergency care for pets until veterinary assistance is available

For more than 100 years, the American Red Cross has been training people to perform first aid skills so they could save the lives of others. Now, the organization announces the release of its new Cat and Dog First Aid online course so that owners will know what to do in an emergency until veterinary care is available.

“Millions of people learn how to respond to emergencies and save lives by enrolling in American Red Cross training programs,” said Gino Greco, CEO for Colorado and Wyoming. “Now, cat and dog owners, pet-sitters and dog walkers can take the Red Cross Cat and Dog First Aid online course and learn life-saving skills for their pets.”

People can access the course on their desktop or tablet at and go through the content at their own pace. It takes approximately 30 minutes to complete the course. Participants can stop and pick up where they left off if Fluffy needs a treat or it’s time to take Fido out to the dog park.

The interactive course includes:

· How to determine a pet’s normal vital signs so that owners can notice if there are any irregularities;
· Step-by-step instructions and visual aids for what to do if a pet is choking, needs CPR, has a wound, or is having a seizure; and
· Information on preventative care, health and tips for a pet’s well-being.


The Red Cross Pet First Aid App complements the course by providing cat and dog owners with instant access to expert advice, an animal hospital locator, pet-friendly hotels, content on how to include pets in family emergency preparedness plans and more.

The app can be downloaded for free in mobile app stores or by texting ‘GETPET’ to 90999. American Pet Nutrition is a proud sponsor of the Pet First Aid App.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Taking Care of Today And Tomorrow; Gift Planning

Gay Freeman, American Red Cross Legacy Society Member
We recently had the opportunity to talk with Ms. Gay Freeman, an exceptional donor in many respects. Gay has chosen the American Red Cross as one of her most important missions to support financially. Once she made this decision, Gay educated herself about gift planning options. She decided a gift in exchange for lifetime payments back to her was the way to accomplish her goals, both personal and philanthropic. “I wanted to donate to places that would give people the ability to move through hardship and again become self-sustaining,” said Gay. This plan was tailored for her to fit both goals.

Through the Gift Planning program, Gay made a very generous gift in 2013 with a contractual agreement for the Red Cross to pay her a guaranteed, fixed sum every year for life, beginning when she reached age 65 – supplemental security for retirement. As such, she is a member of the Red Cross Legacy Society

Lori Goldstein is the Gift Planning Officer for American Red Cross in Colorado & Wyoming. She has a passion for connecting people, like Gay, to the benefits of charitable giving. "To me, the Red Cross embodies the principle of many drops together making an ocean -- both in the way our volunteers come together to provide relief in our communities and around the world, and in the way many individuals, by directing sometimes modest portions of their future estates to the Red Cross, together infuse the organization with millions of dollars to sustain this vital mission," says Lori.

When Lori joined the Red Cross in 2016, she began meeting the local Legacy Society members – those who have the foresight to plan gifts now that will support the Red Cross’s lifesaving mission in the future. During her visits she learned that Gay and her sister had been Red Cross volunteers in their youth during flood season, as well as taking Red Cross health and safety classes. Gay remained keenly aware of the Red Cross, and throughout her adult life she puts into action her strong belief in using her resources to help humanity in times of need. You can view a video of the personal interview with Gay Freeman here: American Red Cross Gift Planning 
" It’s been my privilege and pleasure to serve nonprofits and to help people connect their passion to making meaningful gifts for more than 25 years. I am honored to be part of the Red Cross team."  Lori Goldstein, American Red Cross Gift Planning Officer 

Being prepared is one of the key principles of the American Red Cross. So we consider it a privilege to help you prepare your estate plans and get your financial plans in order.  

In her own words:

You can learn more about this special opportunity by visiting, call 1-800-797-8022, ext 5. or contact Lori Goldstein directly 303-607-4704.