Sip, savor, socialize at upcoming Hops & Vines Festival Oct. 27

City Club Raleigh is hosting their second annual Hops + Vines Festival for their annual Charity Classic on Friday, Oct.27, from 7 p.m.-10:30 p.m.Charity-Classic-Poster-2017-FINAL

Dedicated to giving back to the community, City Club Raleigh presents Hops & Vines, a beer and wine festival to benefit the latest research and development supporting Augie’s Quest and the ALS Therapy Development Institute, the ClubCorp Employee Partners Care Foundation and the American Red Cross of Eastern North Carolina Region – an organization that is currently working to raise funds for disaster relief for those affected by the hurricane season. One hundred percent of the proceeds benefit the charities.

To heighten the NC community presence, City Club Raleigh’s executive Chef Troy Stauffer and his culinary team have teamed up with local vendors and farmers (Cheney Brothers, Fresh Point Produce, Heritage Farms, Joyce Farms and more) and local brew. Guests will expect a grand culinary adventure of craft beer, fine wine and fabulous appetizers. In addition to the event, there will be live DJ music and exciting experience packages for auction.
“The past few months, our neighbors have needed us more than ever. Fires have robbed families of their homes. Floodwaters have submerged communities. And major hurricanes have driven people away from their neighborhoods. And through it all, the Red Cross is there,” said Barry Porter, regional CEO of the Red Cross in Eastern NC. “We are so honored to have the City Club support the Red Cross this year and help us prevent and alleviate suffering in the midst of these disasters.”
The City Club Raleigh event is open to the public. Event cost is $45 per ticket; $80 for a two pack and $150 for a four pack. To RSVP, please visit http://classic.als.net/cityclubraleigh

For more information or to make reservations, contact City Club Raleigh at 919.834.8829.

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Volunteer calls Red Cross her favorite organization

Since January of 2017, Ann Smith, a retired nurse, has been giving back to her community by volunteering with the American Red Cross from coast to coast.

In the winter, Ann spends her time in North Carolina, and in theAnn Smith photo summer, she and her husband live in Washington State. But one thing is consistent – no matter the state, she dedicates her time to the Eastern North Carolina Red Cross.

On the East Coast, Ann volunteers as a Disaster Action Team (DAT) member, Disaster Health Services (DHS) team member, helps with volunteer recognition and appreciation, and chips in during local blood drives.  And when Ann is on the West Coast, she works remotely as a DHS team member and assists with volunteer recognition.

In her primary volunteer role with Red Cross health services, it’s Ann’s job is to come in after a crisis like a home fire or storm and help people replace their medications and/or medical equipment.

Ann recently returned from Houston where she helped victims of Hurricane Harvey. “The number of people in need was shocking…it really made me think about what’s important in life,” Ann said. “I met many people, from all walks of life, that lost everything they owned because of the hurricane. All were incredibly thankful for even the smallest kindness shown to them and any resource [the Red Cross was] able to provide them.”

Ann chose to become a volunteer with the Red Cross because she said the volunteer-driven organization directs 91 cents of every dollar raised to those in need. And volunteers carry out 90 percent of the humanitarian work of the Red Cross.

“The Red Cross volunteers that I have worked with have all been enthusiastic, generous, kind and caring people. In Houston, I met volunteers…from nearly every U.S. state as well as from Mexico, and [were of] all ages. The young volunteers to the elderly, were all dedicated to getting the job done and doing so in a supportive and positive manner,” Ann said.

When asked what her proudest moment is to-date as a Red Cross volunteer, Ann said it’s “every time a client says, ‘thank you or God Bless you for helping me.’ I am happy that I am able to help them.”

Through volunteering, Ann makes a difference in people’s lives. You can too. Sign up to volunteer today at redcross.org/volunteer.

Story by Nichole Nettleton / American Red Cross

‘If you can bring relief…your mission is complete’

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Moe Darden is no stranger to the Red Cross ― or to responding to hurricane disaster relief missions.

He began volunteering with the Red Cross following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He’s since helped those affected by Hurricane Sandy, and has now added Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria to the list.

Moe, along with three other Eastern North Carolina Red Crossers departed for Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Sunday, Sept. 24, en route to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, to render aid to those affected by recent back-to-back hurricanes.

“If you can bring relief to a 3-year-old who lost his blanket in a storm, then your mission is complete,” Moe said.

The crew of volunteers each said they wanted to bring back a sense of normalcy and comfort to those who’ve lost homes and loved ones because of Hurricane Maria.

Mycaela Crouse, disaster program specialist for the Central NC Chapter of the Red Cross, began volunteering with the Red Cross at age 16, and said she was fully prepared to help in Puerto Rico. “The idea of giving back is so rewarding. The chance to do that every day is a gift,” she said.

 

And new volunteer Duy Phan, said he wants to help because he lost his home to a flood three years ago and understands the pain of starting new.

While on the islands, the team of volunteers will be focused on quickly distributing supplies such as food, water and clean-up materials to residents.

 

Stay tuned for updates on Eastern NC volunteers and the work they are doing on the ground in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

From arms of war to arms of compassion

“This is my calling.”  Hurricane Irma was the first deployment for Tetoya Gibson.  She was taking personal leave from her job as an Air Force aircraft armament technician, a tech sergeant at Seymour Johnson AFB in North Carolina.  Gibson, from Goldsboro, NC, started in her home state, deployed in an EmergencyIMG_1485y Response Vehicle, and made her way down though South Carolina and then to Georgia.

By Saturday, September 16, she was working at a major bulk distribution site at the College of Coastal Georgia in Kingsland.  An indication of the major damage to the area was the long line of cars moving patiently and stopping periodically for supplies in the drive-through setup.  Gibson happened to be working alongside fellow members of the military from several branches.  Her job was to pass out bleach, trash bags, work gloves, water and Red Cross comfort kits.

“I’m having the best time,” she said.  “I’ve met so many great people.”

She’s a veteran with 18 years of service. She’s planning to retire from the Air Force in two years.    The Red Cross is her new passion.

“I’m going home because I’m out of personal leave.  As soon as I get some more, I’m going to go again. To be able to serve my country in two ways is a blessing.”

Red Cross Prepares for Hurricane Irma – Issues Safety Steps, Calls for Volunteers

Hurricane Preparedness

Sept. 7, 2017, RALEIGH – The American Red Cross continues to help people impacted by Hurricane Harvey while getting ready to respond as powerful Hurricane Irma nears the United States and its territories.

Hurricane Irma is the most powerful Atlantic Ocean storm on record and people in the possible path of this storm should monitor weather reports and get prepared now.

In North Carolina, the Red Cross is establishing a statewide relief operation based in Charlotte, working closely with government officials and community partners to coordinate potential response efforts. In addition, supplies are now being staged across the state so they can be dispatched quickly should shelters be opened.

“The Red Cross continues to monitor Hurricane Irma closely and is prepping as if the storm will be destructive in North Carolina,” said Barry Porter, regional CEO of the Red Cross in Eastern NC. “We encourage the community to take the next few days to prepare their homes and families.”

Hurricane Safety Steps

Find a shelter by visiting redcross.org or by downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App. The Emergency App also puts real time information about the storm and hurricane safety tips at your fingertips. The app is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps. You can also follow these safety steps:

  • Continue listening to local area radio, NOAA radioor TV stations for the latest information and updates.
  • If your neighborhood is prone to flooding, be prepared to evacuate quickly if necessary.
  • Follow evacuation orders and do not attempt to return until officials say it is safe to do so.
  • Head for higher ground and stay there.
  • Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way.
  • Turn around, don’t drown. If driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
  • Keep children out of the water.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it’s harder to see flood danger.
  • Make sure you have a plan and supplies for your pets. Download the free Red Cross Pet First Aid Appfor emergency preparedness tips, a pet-friendly hotel locator and an animal hospital locator.

During the storm:

  • Stay indoors.
  • Don’t walk on beaches, riverbanks or in flood waters.
  • Use flashlights in the dark if the power goes out. Do NOT use candles.
  • Turn off the power and water mains if instructed to do so by local authorities.
  • Don’t forget your pets. Bring them indoors and maintain direct control of them. Prepare an emergency kit for your pets, including sturdy leashes or pet carriers, food and water, bowls, cat litter and pan, and photos of you with your pet in case they get lost.

Find more information on preparedness on redcross.org.

VOLUNTEER: The Red Cross is currently seeking volunteers to help those affected by Hurricane Irma. To volunteer, please visit redcross.org/volunteer to complete a volunteer application and see what opportunities are available.

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 redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

Sandhills Chapter volunteer has a ‘heart for this job’

In the Sandhills Chapter of the Red Cross, Lois Croxton volunteers about 45 hours a week helping community members in need.

Volunteers are the backbone of the American Red Cross, making up about 90 percent of the workforce. Croxton is one of those key volunteers. Her volunteer roles span multiple areas of the Red Cross, from children’s disaster preparedness teacher, to disaster casework manager.

As a casework manager, much of Croxton’s work involves listening to victim’s stories, advocating for their cause, and directing them to the right resources for recovery.

“You have to have the heart for this job,” Croxton said as she reflected on some of the cases she has received, and the trauma many of her clients have experienced.

But to Red Cross volunteers and staff members in the Sandhills, they say Croxton is the perfect person to work one-on-one with families who’ve experienced disasters.

“She has exactly what is takes to be a Red Crosser. She is caring, has a gentle heart and knows how to talk with people. She is dedicated and takes ownership of what she does,” said Pat Smart, Red Cross disaster program specialist in the Sandhills Chapter.

Sandhills Chapter Volunteer Specialist, Tracey Kohut, echoed similar comments. “Lois Croxton is very reliable, very knowledgeable, and very valuable to the American Red Cross,” she said.

Despite the affects she’s had on others in the chapter, Croxton said volunteering has made the most powerful impression on her own life.

“I’m not so much giving to the Red Cross as the Red Cross has given to me. [Working with the American Red Cross] gave me my life back,” Croxton said.

Croxton’s journey to becoming a Red Cross volunteer began seven years ago. She underwent a knee surgery that went awry and left her physically disabled and bedridden for two years. She said she felt helpless in her life.

Croxton went from being a busy mother of three, volunteer in the community, and fulltime school teacher, to being unable to perform many day-to-day tasks.

“To be as active as I had been – raising a family, working full time, volunteering, etc., and then nothing, became depressing,” Croxton said.

In that time, she visited numerous doctors, trying everything recommended in an attempt to become mobile again. Without success, Croxton began to question her usefulness.

“I couldn’t drive because, even though it was my left knee, I couldn’t find a place in the car to put my leg that didn’t cause a lot of pain,” Croxton said. “I hated the way I felt, and didn’t know what to do about it.”

After two years of searching for a cure, Croxton finally found a wrap that allowed her to become somewhat mobile again.

“God must have finally said it is time for you to get back on your feet and go forth into the world again,” she said.

Though it was still painful for her to move around, she managed to drive again. Now she wanted something to do. On a whim, Croxton visited the American Red Cross to learn about volunteer opportunities.

She recalls walking in the Red Cross and feeling that she could be of use. So, she interviewed, filled out her paperwork, and embarked on her volunteer journey.

After working the front desk for a while she was approached by the disaster services team.

While working in disaster services, it became apparent to staff that Croxton also had a knack for computer programs. She worked with multiple programs, which helped keep track of data from home fires, to families being served, and available shelter information.

“I felt I could use my brain again and [working with computers] let me know I still had one,” she said.

Croxton has now been volunteering with the Red Cross for five years.

“I honestly never even considered that I would be as involved as I am. It just sort of grew with every passing day,” Croxton said. “I think I was just meant to be here.”

To learn more about how to volunteer with the Red Cross, like Lois, visit redcross.org/volunteer.

Story by By Andrea Gulley/ American Red Cross

Fayetteville Red Crosser preps for six-month deployment to Horn of Africa

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Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces Manager Jeannette Salcedo is packing her gear and saying her goodbyes before embarking on the 32+ hour trip from Fayetteville, NC to Dijbouti, Africa, where she will serve with Red Cross for six months.

Jeannette will be stationed  at Camp Lemonnier, as the only Red Cross staff member on the base. There, she will deliver emergency communication messages from military family members to troops stationed at the base. She will also teach CPR and First Aid, as well as children’s disaster preparedness courses.

Jeannette speaks with the Red Cross about her upcoming deployment to Djibouti, a developing country located on one of the world’s largest shipping routes, bordering Somalia and Ethiopia.

Q: How were you selected to deploy to Camp Lemonnier?

A: I am a mobile staff member for [Red Cross] Service to the Armed Forces (SAF), as such we deploy the same as the military.

Q: What do you think a typical day in Djibouti will look like?

A: HOT!!! I am a certified First Aid/CPR Instructor and a Pillow Case Project Instructor. I will be holding classes to get folks certified. I will also be handling emergency communication messages for the military. Djibouti is a one-man station, so I will be the only Red Cross staff member. [I also expect to be] working out [in my downtime].

I am looking forward to meeting our ally partners in the area and [creating] some fun events to help boost morale.

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Jeannette Salcedo deployed to Afghanistan for five months with the American Red Cross in 2013. 

Q: This is not your first time deploying with Red Cross. You spent five months in Afghanistan in 2013. What was that like? 

A: On Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, we were a four-member team.  We worked around the clock handling emergency communication messages.  We were scheduled 9-hour shifts, but usually worked 10-to-12-hour shifts, seven days a week. We overlapped our schedules so we could assist one another and get caught up on the queue. My shift was 3 p.m. to midnight, but I came in early to assist if needed and usually stayed until 1 a.m. After work, I would go to the gym and workout, go to the USO facility and use the free phones to call home.

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Jeannette Salcedo (right) on Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan in 2013.

We also had some morale building events to give our [military members] a break from being on 24/7.  As a team, we would go meet the various units on Bagram to introduce ourselves and let them know what we do. We did an Armed Forces Radio broadcast once a month just to update everyone and remind them Red Cross is there.

 

Oh, and [it was] HOT!!

Q: Is there anything  you are looking forward to doing in your free time while in Djibouti?

A: As SAF, we are embedded with the [military] and we are their responsibility, as such we are not allowed to leave the camp. I would like to be able to meet some of the local people and perhaps volunteer in some capacity.

Q: The primary languages in Djibouti are Arabic and French. Do you expect there to be any language barriers?

A: No, not really. In my experience, people in other countries speak English as a second or third language. The Americans have been in the country for some time so I am sure the local population is at least familiar with English. I certainly hope so because my French is limited to a few phrases and I do not speak Arabic at all.

Q: How are preparing for your six-month trip?

A; I live in an apartment so I am packing up all my belongings and putting them in storage until I return. I will suspend service for my cell phone, cancel utilities, etc. Spending as much time I can with friends and family, especially my two grandchildren, Madison and Jacob. They are my moon and stars!

Q: You have two sons and two grandchildren.  How are they feeling about your deployment?

A: My sons Miguel and Jose’ are very proud of me and what I do.  They think it’s great that I am willing to go to these “not so glamorous places” to help out the military. My grandchildren are 8 and 5 so they really just understand that “Gran” will be gone for a long time.

Q: What are you packing?

A: I will be sending packages in advance, which will contain hygiene/toiletry items: body wash, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc. I will also send ahead a first aid kit, sewing kit, towels, and sheets. In my suitcase, khakis, Red Cross polos, sleepwear and pictures of my family and friends.

I will be wearing the military battle uniform six days a week so I do not have the need to pack much in the way of clothing.

Q: Is there anything you hope to gain from this experience?

A: I hope to broaden my exposure to different cultures and gain further experience relating to people from different cultures and points of view. I want to be there for our troops to assist in any way possible, and to bring them a little bit of home.

Q: Are there any local foods you are looking forward to trying?

A: So during our deployment briefs, we are warned against eating anything from the local economy as they do not have the same health standards as we do, and you can become very ill.

Q: Is there anything else we should know about your deployment?

A: Djibouti, Africa is still a Third World country with all the health risks that entails. Raw sewage, dumping of chemicals and lack of proper plumbing.

To find out more about what American Red Cross does for Service to the Armed Forces visit, www.redcross.org/military. 

Story by Andrea Gulley/American Red Cross