New Bern Volunteer Recognized for Outstanding Service

New Bern, NC – On Tuesday, June 11th, 2013, the American Red Cross Coastal Carolina Chapter held its Annual Meeting at their new location in downtown New Bern. This year’s meeting recognized many of the volunteers who have helped the American Red Cross fulfill its mission in the community over the last year.  One volunteer in particular was  recognized for her service that spans over four decades.

Linda Eldredge was presented with the Lifetime of Service award. Many in the crowd held back tears as Linda was introduced and they listened to her compelling story. You see, Linda is not your typical Red Cross volunteer. This October Linda will celebrate her 44th year as an American Red Cross volunteer.

Linda first started volunteering with the Red Cross in 1969 as a dental assistant while her husband, Fred Eldredge, was deployed to Vietnam with the U.S. Marine Corps and she hasn’t looked back since. Averaging over 500 volunteer hours a year, Linda has surpassed the 22,000 volunteer hour mark and is still working as the Red Cross volunteer coordinator at Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station. Linda has given thousands of hours of service, all while, supporting her husband’s military career and raising a family.

Linda inherited the spirit of volunteerism from her mother who also volunteered with the American Red Cross and has passed this legacy of service to her granddaughter who volunteers with the Red Cross in Charlotte, NC. Linda credits her volunteer service as having “saved her life” at least twice. First as a military spouse coping with her husband’s various deployments in the Marine Corps, she found purpose and stability in her volunteer service and second as welcome distraction from chemotherapy treatments as she successfully battled cancer.

Linda still works two to three days a week at the Red Cross office on Cherry Point MCAS and is a leader in the Service to the Armed Forces Program as well as the Coastal Carolina Chapter. Linda’s lifetime commitment to serving the men and woman of the Armed Forces and their families is an incredible example of selfless service and unyielding determination and she is not done yet. Linda is looking forward to hitting the 50 year mark and says, “The best is still yet to come!”

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Greenville Catering Company Support Red Cross

Owners Brian and Rochelle of Rep Express Catering in Greenville.

Owners Brian and Rochelle of Rep Express Catering in Greenville.

GREENVILLE, NC – For the past 4 years, Rep Express has been an ongoing supporter both in financial donations and in-kind gifts to the American Red Cross of Eastern NC. From full in-kind support of the Pitt County Chapter’s annual Dinner Theatre, to financial donations through the annual HEROES campaign, owners Brian and Rochelle are active supporters of the Mission of the American Red Cross.

Most recently, the company implemented their new initiative, “Put your Money where your Mouth Is,” which allows customers to give back with each order placed by giving a % of the total sales as a financial donation to the American Red Cross. Rep Express caters to anywhere in Eastern NC from Elizabeth City to Wilmington. Contact them to place your order for catering at 252-353-7379 and tell them that you support the American Red Cross!

Rep ExpressRep Express Catering
The only caterer that offers you the chance to put your money where your mouth is…
This is something you will not find with any other caterer!  Upon ordering, you have the option to donate a portion of Rep Express’s profit to one of three charities!  You choose when you place your order!  Help us in make a difference and order from Rep Express Catering.  Tell your friends to order with us.  Post it, tweet it, yell it, and order it to make a difference right here in your local community.  If you’re going to eat, you may as well join us in putting your money where your mouth is…Order from Rep Express Catering and tell us that you would like a portion of your order to go to the American Red Cross.

Goldsboro Methodist Men Help House Disaster Supplies

The NC Conference for United Methodist Men has partnered with the local Red Cross and graciously offered the use of a warehouse in the Methodist Men’s Ministry Center (3MC) in Goldsboro for storing disaster relief supplies. The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) currently stores many of their disaster supplies in these warehouses.

Disaster relief supplies at the MC3 warehouse in Goldsboro.

Disaster relief supplies at the MC3 warehouse in Goldsboro.

“The onsite facilities manager has been very helpful, assisting us loading supplies onto pallets and using the forklift to move things into place,” said Leslie Gillette, Readiness and Logistics Manager for the Eastern NC Region of the American Red Cross. “This has been a great partnership.”

It is important to be prepared before disasters strike.  The Red Cross and partner organizations like UMCOR and local emergency management collaborate to ensure that supplies are positioned strategically throughout our communities. These supplies are part of a larger response plan that includes sheltering, feeding, and distribution of supplies before a disaster strikes and after it has occurred.

The Red Cross is utilizing the 3MC warehouse space to store 400 cots and supplies for preparedness kits.  Additional materials, such as blankets, coolers, clean-up and comfort kits, rakes and shovels will also be stored at this facility.

“Community disaster preparedness and recovery are more than any one organization can do on their own,” said Gillette. “That’s why local partnerships such as these are key.  We’d like to extend our thanks and appreciation to the Methodist Men for their support.”

MC3 warehouse used to store disaster relief supplies.

MC3 warehouse used to store disaster relief supplies.

For more information about the Red Cross and preparing for disasters, visit redcross.org.

 

 

Office Opens on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base

Story by Tara Humphries, Chair of the Board of Directors, Wayne County American Red Cross / Thursday, August 9, 2013

SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. – American Red Cross and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base representatives came together Friday, Aug. 9, to kick off a new chapter in an old tradition.

SAF Opening at SJAFB

Cutting the ribbon to open the new American Red Cross office on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base are (l-r) Col. Lamar Pettus, 4th Figher Wing vice commander; Col. Greg Gilmour, 916th Air Refueling Wing commander; Bill Brent, Red Cross regional chief executive officer; Josh Cain, regional director of SAF; Margaret Taflinger, lead SAF volunteer; and Tammy Forrester, community executive officer for Wayne/Greene and Lenoir County Red Cross Chapters.

Officials from the Red Cross, 916th Air Refueling Wing, and 4th Fighter Wing cut a ribbon and opened an American Red Cross field office on the base, continuing the commitment Clara Barton first made to members of the U.S. military more than 130 years ago.

After providing supplies and support to soldiers in the field during the Civil War, Barton was inspired to do more to alleviate human suffering and that led to her founding the American Red Cross. The mission was further reinforced by a charter granted by the U.S. Congress and that charge continues to drive more than 500,000 Red Cross volunteers like the ones who will staff the Seymour Johnson office.

Margaret Taflinger and her husband, Lt. Col. Norm Taflinger (USAF ret.), and Bill Hewitt, a U.S. Navy veteran, will staff the office 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

They will provide Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) core services to the men and women of Seymour Johnson and surrounding area. These services include education, information, referrals, family resiliency programming, and emergency services.

One of the leaders in the effort to open the office, Col. Greg Gilmour, the 916th’s wing commander, knows first hand about SAF.

“The Red Cross really provides services to our members. I saw it when I was with the Navy, and now with the Air Force,” Gilmour said. It was the Red Cross that contacted him with news that his grandmother had passed away. Later, when he was stationed in Turkey, SAF helped a colleague get home when his family needed him.

“That’s why I didn’t know why there wouldn’t be a permanent office on the base,” Gilmour said. “Having a presence here on base makes sense.”

“It is great to have y’all here,” he said, noting that the new office, which is located in the 916th’s headquarters building, is ‘down the hall from my office’.”

Office Opens at SJAFB

Margaret Taflinger, lead SAF volunteer, and Wendy Dyer, Service to the Armed Forces state manager for NC, VA and D.C., welcome a visitor to the new SAF office on SJAFB (l-r).

Joshua Cain, director of Service to the Armed Forces for the Eastern North Carolina Region, also pointed out that the office is “right around the corner.” Armed Forces members do not have to go off base to receive services.

“It is a great partnership with the 916th, that they are hosting our office so we can serve the entire base through our Service to the Armed Forces mission,” Cain said. “We’re here to meet the needs of the military and their families.”

“I personally feel that there is no greater calling or worthy cause than taking some time out to support the military and their families,” said Cain.

If military personnel or their families have a need during hours that the base office is not manned, they can go to the Red Cross office at 600 N. George St. in Goldsboro or call the local chapter number: (919) 735-7201. There is also a 24-hour hotline at 1-888-4-HELP-BAY (1-888-443-5722).

Red Cross Hires Local Veteran in Rocky Mount

Matthew Warren made the call to serve his country in the beginning of 2008. At age 19, and only one month out of boot camp, Warren was shipped to Sadr City, Iraq. In Iraq,Warren said he was privileged to be with “the best group of men to serve our country, Charlie Company 1-6 INF.”

New Response Specialist, Matthew Warren

New Response Specialist, Matthew Warren

Warren, from Rocky Mount, NC, was with the company for the last six months of a 15 month tour. In Iraq he held roles in operations. His tasks varied from leading patrols of 10-20 men to maintaining and preserving over $1 million in sensitive military equipment.

The American Red Cross made its way into Matthew Warren’s life like it does for so many others- swiftly and without pretense. After his first tour in Iraq, Warren was stationed in Germany awaiting deployment to Afghanistan. One day, without warning, Warren learned that he needed to get home quickly for a family member undergoing emergency surgery.

“They [Red Cross] helped me get home within 72 hours,” Warren said. “They even paid for my plane ticket telling me, ‘Don’t worry about it Matthew, just get home.’”Warren said that this was the first “imprint” that the American Red Cross made on his life.

Warren later concluded that this would not be his only encounter with the American Red Cross. “I realized I still had a calling to answer too,” he said. “I fought for our freedom but I still felt I needed something, so here I am at the Red Cross helping people find hope when all seems lost.”

 On July 29th, Warren was hired as a Response Specialist in the Frederick E. Turnage Chapter of the American Red Cross. Warren’s responsibilities with the American Red Cross will range from engaging volunteers to meeting and preparing with local directors for the upcoming hurricane season.

The American Red Cross plans on adding many more veterans like Matthew Warren. In 2012 the American Red Cross made a commitment to hire 1,000 veterans by the end of 2014.  In a recent nine month stretch, from the middle of 2012 to the beginning of 2013, nearly 6 percent of all American Red Cross hires were veterans.

Matt Warren (left) with fellow Red Cross volunteers and staff.

Matt Warren (left) with fellow Red Cross volunteers and staff.

In honor of this pledge, the American Red Cross and the Department of Veterans Affairs recently signed a memorandum of understanding which signified the commitment of the American Red Cross to hire veterans.

The American Red Cross is also in partnership with VA for Vets, an organization started in 2011 that helps veterans in their career search after they return home.  VA for Vets enables veterans to successfully join the civilian workforce after they return home from their deployments.

By backing their commitments with action the American Red Cross continues to demonstrate their desire in helping veterans reintegrate successfully back into the workforce. To find out more about the Red Cross and their service to the Armed Forces please visit redcross.org.