Wilmington Red Cross Feeds Residents with Power Outages

rco_blog_img_jamesThis story is by Public Affairs Volunteer, David Dennis.

As dawn broke Friday morning residents of Wilmington, NC again woke up to freezing temperatures and worse… No power.

Volunteer James Buckley hands a drink to Tina, a resident affected by the power outages.
Volunteer James Buckley hands a drink to Tina, a resident affected by the power outages.

Thousands were left draped in blankets or huddled by a fire as city workers scrambled to restore power as quickly as possible.  In a time of local crisis, community leaders turned to a reliable and familiar source, the American Red Cross.

James Buckley, a retired firefighter now volunteering with the Red Cross found himself spread out across the southeast the past few days. Buckley has been tasked with driving the Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle- ERV for short- throughout the southeast. In times of disaster the ERV gives out critical supplies like food, water and blankets to those in need.

On this particular day the ERV helped supply a hot breakfast to senior and disabled citizens in Grover Plaza. Fifty hot meals were generously prepared and packaged by Jeff Shea and his team at Golden Corral, located at 5211 College Rd South.

Citizens of Grover Plaza showed relief on their faces when the ERV arrived. Sam Holt was one of the first residents to come up to the truck. “We were without power for about 35 hours,” he said. “It’s so good to get a hot meal.”

Scott Whisenant shared similar feelings. ” I was very relieved (to see the Red Cross). We couldn’t cook (and) we lost the stuff in our refrigerator. It’s unreal.”

James hands boxes of food to resident Raheem who helps him unload the meals.
James hands boxes of food to resident Raheem who helps him unload the meals.

Tina Baysden, a Grover Plaza resident since 2002 took a hands-on approach and helped volunteers hand out food to residents unable to walk. “I think they (Red Cross) are awesome,” she said. They are concerned about the elderly and disabled.”

Like many residents Tina decided to brave the power outage and stay at her home. “I have three service dogs and they’re like family,” she said.

While many decide to stay home the American Red Cross urges anyone, especially the sick or elderly, without power to seek proper shelter in times of disaster. For tips on how to stay prepared, stay warm or where to find shelter in your area please visit redcross.org.

Kitten Rescued by DATs in Jamesville Home Fire

Last month, Jackie Gillam and Robin Toppin were called to the scene of a home fire in Martin County.  Both ladies are Martin County Red Cross disaster action team members in addition to being part of the volunteer rescue squad in Jamesville.

Jackie Gillam provides oxygen to a kitten pulled from a home fire
Jackie Gillam provides oxygen to a kitten pulled from a home fire

All of the residents had gotten out of the house safely and the homeowner was trying to round up her pets including some cats and dogs.  Robin noticed kittens on the front porch and the owner said she had completely forgotten about them due to the chaos of escaping the fire.  Robin alerted the rescue team and Jackie accompanied a fireman to the porch where they carefully retrieved the kittens one by one and brought them to a safe area away from the burning home.

Jackie, a big cat-lover, observed one of the kittens was lethargic and did not appear to be doing well so Robin rushed to the truck to get an oxygen tank.  Jackie held the oxygen mask to the kitten’s face and he was soon resuscitated.  All of the kittens survived the house fire and Jackie even graciously offered to foster them until the owners could get back on their feet.

After the fire was out and the scene secured, Jackie and Robin positioned to the role of Red Cross volunteer and met with the family whose home was destroyed.  They were able to offer the family assistance to help them recover from the disaster.

Being part of the volunteer rescue squad works hand in hand with Jackie and Robin’s roles as disaster action team (DAT) members for the Red Cross because once they have provided emergency support they can meet with the families affected by the disaster and provide assistance to take care of their immediate needs including shelter, clothing, food, supplies, referrals and emotional support.

“When we get a call (for the rescue squad), we always grab our Red Cross bags because we know we’ll probably need it,” said Robin

Jackie has been with the Red Cross for many years and has been serving as a mentor to Robin who just became a DAT in the last year.  “She’s a been teaching me the ropes, she’s a great teacher,” remarked Robin.

Jackie and Robin have been a great asset to the Greater Pamlico Area Chapter of the American Red Cross and to the city of Jamesville.





Become A Hero in 2014

rco_blog_img_heroturnageFor over a century, the Red Cross has been a community leader in emergency preparedness and response. Each year the President of the United States proclaims March “Red Cross Month;” local Red Cross chapters use this time to honor that longstanding tradition of heroism by recognizing local individuals whose extraordinary acts make them a hero. Our heroes personify compassion, selflessness and kindness.

The American Red Cross of Eastern NC 2014 Heroes Campaign will run through March and is an excellent opportunity for the local chapters to raise money that benefits Red Cross programs and services in their communities. The goal is to involve as many people from our community as possible.

Last year, board member, Larry Williamson, kayaked through the intracoastal waterways of eastern NC to raise money for the 2013 Heroes Campaign.
Last year, board member, Larry Williamson, kayaked through the intracoastal waterways of eastern NC to raise money for the 2013 Heroes Campaign.

People of all ages can serve as Heroes. Heroes pledge to raise $1,250 each for the Red Cross during this grassroots fundraising and awareness campaign which is held each March. If you’re up for this challenge, you can raise the money personally, as an organization, or by hosting a fundraising event. All money raised here stays here.

What’s in it for me? Glad you asked!

  • The best feeling in the world knowing that you helped change someone’s life, including your own.
  • Your picture or company/organization’s logo in the newspaper.
  • An invitation to a delicious kick-off breakfast!
  • A chance to make a big, lasting difference in our community.
  • Bragging rights!
  • An invitation to one of our celebratory events.
  • Heroes that raise $1200 or more can present their check on air at the WITN-7 American Red Cross telethon on April 9th in Greenville

Your gift will provide . . .

  • $2000 will provide Natural Disaster Shelter operations for a 24 hour period
  • $1250 will provide a family of 4 a 2 night hotel stay, food and clothing after a fire
  • $1000 will educate 250 military personnel and their families about the services provided by the Red Cross
  • $500 will provide clothing and shoes for a family of 4 after a disaster
  • $200 will provide groceries and food for one weekend
  • for a family of 4 affected by a disaster
  • $150 will provide disaster comfort kits and Clean up kits for a family affected by a fire or flood

Ideas of how to raise money

  • Car Wash
  • Bake Sale, Chicken or Spaghetti dinner
  • Golf Tournament
  • Soliciting a business to donate $1,250
  • Raffle off a special item
  • Loose change drive at a local business or school
  • Jeans or TShirt day at your place of employment ($5.00 to wear jeans or $10 to wear Red Cross TShirt with jeans)
  • *Mail a letter to 40 of your closest friends to donate $50-$100 for the Red Cross to help you become a Hero

Retail and Restaurant challenge: sell Red Cross squares for $1 each, or “Keep the Change” buckets placed at the registers

  • Neighborhood garage/yard sale
  • Civic club challenges
  • Garden or Tea party in your home
  • Donut sales through Krispy Kreme®

Create your Online Heroes Page

  • Tips for Success with your Online Fundraising Page:
  • Share your Heroes page on social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter.
  • Be sure to enter your off-line gifts so they are counted toward your totals!
  • Don’t forget to ask your donors if they (or their spouse) work for a company with a matching gift program.

For more information about the 2014 Red Cross Heroes Campaign email Summer Woodard or call 910-355-3800.

Miracle on the Hudson Speaker Comes to Eastern NC

Dave Sanderson
Dave Sanderson

When US Airways Flight 1549, or “The Miracle on the Hudson,” ditched into the Hudson River on January 15, 2009, Dave Sanderson knew he was exactly where he was supposed to be. The last passenger off the back of the plane on that fateful day, he was largely responsible for the well-being and safety of others, risking his own life in frigid water to help other passengers off the plane. Despite the hazards to himself, Sanderson thought only of helping others, and emerged from the wreckage with a mission: to encourage others to do the right thing. In this stirring presentation, Sanderson shares the story of Flight 1549, revealing the inner strength it took to make it through the day, and how teamwork, leadership, and state management can help overcome any obstacle.rco_blog_img_dave

Dave Sanderson will be coming to eastern NC as a speaker for three Red Cross Heroes events- in Wilson, Rocky Mount and Wilmington.  He will begin his tour at the Wilson Heroes Kickoff Banquet on February 25 at Wilson Country Club.  The second stop will be on March 15 at the Cape Fear Red Cross Gala & Auction at UNCW Burney Center in Wilmington.  His final appearance will be at the Rocky Mount Heroes Banquet on March 25 at the Rose Hill Conference Center.  For more information on the Wilson and Rocky Mount Heroes Banquet’s contact the Frederick E. Turnage Chapter of the American Red Cross at 252-977-1720.  Visit the Cape Fear Red Cross Gala & Auction website for more information on this event.