Red Cross Shelters Provide Safe Haven from Hurricane Arthur

In response to Hurricane Arthur the Red Cross has:

Mike Ray, Evacuation Shelter Manager playfully gets down to greet a puppy resident appropriately named Arthur.

One thing that many people worry about when they need to evacuate is whether they can bring along their four legged family – it is not safe for your pet to leave them behind when you evacuate.

The Red Cross works with local partners, both government and non-government, to allow companion animals in shelters, encouraging people in coastal areas to evacuate their homes and move to safer locations.

“What we have found is that people are less likely to evacuate if they cannot bring their family pets,” said Barry Porter, Chief Executive for the American Red Cross of central and eastern North Carolina.

“We’ve developed a number of ways to help families do that, but the best way to keep your pet safe is to be responsible. Owners should create a disaster kit for their pets that include carriers or crates, food, leashes, treats and toys, medications and anything else your pet may need for several days.”

When the Red Cross and our partners sheltered hundreds of people in eastern North Carolina in the hours before
Hurricane Arthur, and through the most harrowing hours of the hurricane, many of those shelters were places where
families could feel safe from the storm with the family pet in tow. There is a bonus to creating pet friendly shelters -
other shelter residents as well as Red Cross staff have the pleasure of the calming presence of companion animals.
Charlotte Rodriguez is a volunteer who spent the night in a pet friendly Red Cross shelter in Onslow County North
Carolina on Thursday night as the storm made landfall.

“The staff loves greeting the puppies, kittens and dogs. Onslow County is integral to our being able to manage an animal population. All in all, I think having pets here is a positive thing for our shelter community,” Rodriguez said.

The Jacksonville Commons shelter took on a slightly different role when a lost puppy, nicknamed Arthur, of course,
was found wondering in the storm and delivered to the shelter. With Jackie Sickle and Rachel Collins from Onslow
County Animal Services on hand, the team was able to provide a safe place for Arthur to ride out the storm, and
arrange for his care until his owner can be located.

Making shelters safe for people and pets is critical in an evacuation, because it helps move people out of harm’s
way, and there are few more harmful things than a hurricane.

In response to Hurricane Arthur the Red Cross has:

• Provided more than 260 overnight stays in shelters
• Served nearly 2,200 meals and snacks
• Distributed over 500 relief kits and supplies
• Mobilized dozens of staff and 6 Emergency Response vehicles

 

 

Onslow County Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony

The American Red Cross – Onslow County Chapter held its Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony on June 17, 2014, at the Living Hope Community Church in Jacksonville. More than 70 community members attended the event which included highlights from the current fiscal year of the vital programs and services provided by the local Red Cross to residents in Onslow County.

Onslow County Sheriff Ed Brown was there to accept an in-kind check for the people of Onslow County for the investment of Red Cross volunteer hours in the community over the course of the year – 14,389 volunteer hours valued at $324,471.95

Special recognition was given to the following award recipients for their exceptional service:

Future Red Cross volunteer Gloria Hite receives her award from Board Chairman Mike Ciccarelli

Future Red Cross volunteer Gloria Hite receives her award from Board Chairman Mike Ciccarelli

Service to Armed Forces Award

Cathy Lagasse

Disaster Action Team Award

Priscilla Gallagher (over 15 fire calls)

Disaster Services Award

Helen Miller

Rookie of the Year Award

Tylane Seevers

Youth Award

Brittany Bates

Volunteer of the Year Award

Cynthia Wheeler

Partnership Award

Bank of America

Shirley’s V Bar

Jacksonville Mall

Special Recognition Award

Bob & Shirley Woodard

Future Volunteer Award

Gloria Hite

 

President’s Volunteer Service AwardsRecognition of volunteer service hours completed.

Sheriff Ed Brown accepts the volunteer in kind check from board chair Mike Ciccarelli

Sheriff Ed Brown accepts the volunteer in kind check from board chair Mike Ciccarelli

 

Lifetime Award (4,000+ hours)

Margaret Idol

Helen Miller

Carol Schwarzenbach

 

Gold (500+ hours)

Cathy Lagasse

Cindy Wheeler

Joanne Condra

Mary St. Clair

 

Silver (250-499 hours)

Carol Ann Schwarzenbach

Mike Ray

Charlotte Rodriguez

 

Bronze (100-249 hours)

Virginia Kinsman

Ty Seevers

Shirley Woodard

Amber Wyman

Additionally, the Onslow County Red Cross unanimously elected its 2014-2015 Board of Directors officers and members.  The following leadership team will take office on July 1, 2014.

Chairman of the Board: Mike Ciccarelli, Jr.

Members: Cathy Barton, Jim Barton, Amy Chisholm, Cathy Goodson, Austin Hobbs, Margaret Idol, Joel Kane, Adam Keifer, Steve Otto, Carol Schwarzenbach, Joy Thompson, Naomi Thompson, Lee Ann Wagner.

Red Cross Eastern NC Tornado Response Update

More than two weeks after tornadoes struck eastern NC, damaging and destroying, hundreds of homes in Beaufort, Chowan, Perquimans and Pasquotank counties, the American Red Cross continues to help residents recover.

A Red Cross volunteer offers comfort and support to a Beaufort County resident whose home was damaged by the tornadoes.

A Red Cross volunteer offers comfort and support to a Beaufort County resident
whose home was damaged by the tornadoes.

Volunteers met with and reached out personally to dozens of families to discuss disaster recovery planning and provide individualized support.

In response to the tornadoes, the Eastern NC Region of the American Red Cross has:

  • Served 4,929 meals and snacks.
  • Opened 99 cases providing individualized support to 258 residents including direct financial assistance.
  • Mobilized 161 disaster workers from across the region.
  • Distributed 2,384 supplies including blankets, comfort kits with hygiene items, clean up kits and items including gloves, hand sanitizer, storage containers, sunscreen, bug spray, heavy duty trash bags, tarps, rope, duct tape, first aid kits, rakes.
  • Made 192 health and mental health contacts providing access to medical services and emotional support.

Disaster Mental Health Support

A tornado leaves people bewildered, confused and afraid. Often much of what they have is gone, and sometimes friends and family are killed or injured. For those affected, the future is unknown, but the fear is present.

Additionally, a disaster can take away a person’s sense of control and what’s known and comfortable to them. Those affected by a tornado often feel emotionally and physically drained or incapable of making decisions.

Most people are eventually able to cope but for other is takes longer and isn’t something they can do alone. That’s where the Red Cross helps with Disaster Mental Health volunteers, which include psychologists, counselors and other experts. Teams go where the people are, including shelters, client service centers or out in the damaged areas.

If a person needs additional assistance, the Red Cross provides the names of local resources that can offer long-term assistance.

Preparing for Future Disasters

Severe weather is all too frequent in eastern NC, and directly following disasters people are more receptive to learn how they can prevent and respond to future emergencies. The Red Cross has taken this time to canvass tornado damaged communities to speak directly with residents about preparedness and how to stay safe during severe weather.

Teams of volunteers spent several weekends going door to door in affected communities handing out flyers with preparedness information, talking to residents about ways to secure their homes and keep their families safe, and showing them how to download Red Cross preparedness apps on their mobile devices.

How to Help

Those who would like to help people affected by disasters like tornadoes, floods and other crises can make a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. People can donate by visiting http://www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. These donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.

Rebuilding the Family Home

The Harris Family receives supplies and support from Red Cross volunteers.

The Harris Family receives supplies and support from Red Cross volunteers.

Caleb and Shirley Harris have lived in their house since they built it in 1957. They raised their children there and now their grandson Derrick Meads lives there with them. However, the recent tornado took its toll on their home.

The Harris’ and their grandson were all home when the tornado touched down on their property. “It just came right in under the roof and tore up the back bedroom and then left to do damage to our buildings out back,” said Caleb.

Trees on the family’s mini farm were uprooted, the interior and exterior of the house were damaged, and part of an outbuilding was tossed across the street.   Caleb is grateful that his family and their animals were unharmed by the tornado.

The Red Cross stopped by the Harris’ to offer their support and provide the family with cleanup supplies as they worked to repair and rebuild their home. The Baptist Men, a partner organization of the Red Cross, went to the Harris home and cleared the uprooted trees. Because partnerships like this are established before disaster strikes, the Red Cross and other organizations can more readily respond to the needs of an impacted community.

Caleb’s daughter, Darlene Wharton, was in the area to help her parents with the cleanup and expressed her gratitude for the help from the Red Cross as well as the Baptist Men’s group.

A Long Path to Recovery

BEAUFORT COUNTY, NC (May 3, 2014) – For Duncan Blevins, the American Red Cross and other charitable organizations have been a Godsend.  On Friday, April 25, 2014, a devastating tornado ravaged his neighborhood, leaving destruction in its wake.

“I saw the tornado form and drop from the sky – it’s a horrible memory that I hope will someday go away,” said Blevins.

Red Cross volunteer Chase Jarvis hands a rake and clean up supplies to Duncan Blevins whose home was damaged in the tornado.

Red Cross volunteer Chase Jarvis hands a rake and clean up supplies to Duncan Blevins whose home was damaged in the tornado.

Blevins lived in a small home with his 17 year-old son.  Among the interesting discoveries pulled from beneath the rubble and massive debris in his yard were his son’s three bicycles.  Despite being located in three different areas behind his home prior to the tornado, they were melded and horribly warped into one another and buried beneath hundreds of pounds of destroyed trees.

“I thought for sure that those bikes were miles away (since we saw no sign of them following the storm),” said Blevins.  It was only after volunteers from local churches came and chopped up the trees did we find this jumbled mess (referring to the bikes).  I think I may keep them that way as an art exhibit or a bird bath.”

Duncan Blevins, a Beaufort County resident, tries to untangle his son's bicycles melded together by a massive tornado last week.

Duncan Blevins, a Beaufort County resident, tries to untangle his son’s bicycles melded together by a massive tornado last week.

Blevins has also found some comfort by speaking with Red Cross counselors.  “I have been having trouble sleeping ever since the storm, but by having someone I can talk to, it has really helped a great deal.  From neighbors, to church groups, to the Red Cross, the outpouring of support has been unbelievable.”

He also cautions other storm victims to protect themselves from identity theft.  “It’s hard to believe but there are criminals out there who prey on people in their worst times.  It can happen to anyone and do what you can to prevent it,” Blevins said.

“I think today is the first time that I can laugh about some of this,” Blevins said.  “At least I won’t need to buy firewood anytime soon!”

A Freight Train

CHOCOWINITY, NC (May 3, 2014) – Jerry and Carolyn Tyson were at home watching television when their phone rang.  It was their neighbor frantically calling to tell them that a tornado warning had been issued, meaning that a tornado was seen on the ground minutes away.

Jerry Tyson shows the solid oak table that shielded him and his wife, Carolyn, when a tornado destroyed the upper floor of his home last week.

Jerry Tyson shows the solid oak table that shielded him and his wife, Carolyn, when a tornado destroyed the upper floor of his home last week.

Having remembered instructions on a recent newscast that the safest place in their home was the lowest level of their home beneath a piece of sturdy furniture, they ran downstairs to a solid oak dining room table that used to be his mother’s.

“We no sooner got under the table and the worst sound you’ve ever heard erupted upstairs,” said Jerry.  “It sounded like forty freight trains bearing down upon us.  We started praying because I was certain that we were gone.”

In the tornado’s wake, the Tyson’s discovered their upstairs level was largely destroyed.  “That phone call saved our lives,” Jerry continued.  “After the storm, there have been so many volunteers and groups that have come to help us.  It truly is amazing!”

“We knew many of our neighbors, but only their faces when we’d pass them on the street,” said Carolyn.  “But now we feel just like family.  They ran to us offering to help in any way that they could.  The Red Cross, Salvation Army, and a number of church groups have really came through for us.  You don’t know what kind of community you have until faced with a crisis and we’re very blessed.”

To learn more about how you can help, please visit http://www.redcross.org.

 

It Takes a Village

Mason Smith, a member of Kitty Hawk Methodist Church, puts his chainsaw to the test by chopping trees and branches for residents devastated by a tornado last week.

Mason Smith, a member of Kitty Hawk Methodist Church, puts his chainsaw to the test by chopping trees and branches for residents devastated by a tornado last week.

BEAUFORT COUNTY, NC (May 3, 2014) – As American Red Cross volunteers distributed clean-up kits to area residents affected by last week’s devastating tornadoes, a number of other charitable organizations were busy pitching in as well.  From the buzz of an army of chainsaws to the crunch of dead tree branches being assembled for a waiting wood chipper, volunteers from the United Methodist Church were out in force to do as much work as they possibly can over this weekend.

Steve Green lives in Greenville, NC, and he brought his entire family out to help the affected residents piece back together their lives.  “We have so much and they have nothing, so our faith compelled us to come and do what we could,” said Green.  “I brought my children because they need to see this.  If they don’t learn that terrible things happen to good people now, they won’t learn it later.”

Steve Green and Mike Stroud, members of Covenant United Methodist Church in Greenville, NC, carry away debris from tornado-affected areas of Beaufort County.

Steve Green and Mike Stroud, members of Covenant United Methodist Church in Greenville, NC, carry away debris from tornado-affected areas of Beaufort County.

In addition to having dozens of volunteers, the United Methodist Church also trains for such disasters.  “We run an Early Responder’s Training that helps try to prepare our members for what they’ll encounter and what affected residents need following a natural disaster,” said Don Evans from Apex, NC.  “Our training is invaluable, I believe, in that it introduces them to what they should expect, but you need to see it firsthand to truly understand the importance of your work and the scope of the need.”

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 122 other followers