Keeping it All in the Family

Story and photos by Bill Fortune/American Red Cross

SSgt Adrian Guerrero carried a large box full of donated items from the shelter to a large

adrian-guerrero-l-and-son-isaiah-carry-boxes-of-in-kind-items-from-the-westover-shelter-in-fayetteville

Adrian Guerrero and son, Isaiah, carry boxes filled with in-kind donations from Westover shelter to a truck that will carry them to a warehouse for further distribution.

truck. He joked and laughed as he carried the load, obviously enjoying the work and clearly enjoying the feeling he gets from helping others. Guerrero is originally from El Paso, TX and currently stationed at Fort Bragg. His career with the U.S. Army is nearing an end and he is very proud of his service. “I’m an HR [Human Resources] manager who has jumped out of perfectly good airplanes,” Guerrero said as he lifted another box. His attitude and humor were infectious and spread throughout the other workers.

SSgt Guerrero and his son Isaiah (19) have been helping the people affected by Hurricane Mathew since before landfall, driving in heavy rain and high water to deliver food and supplies to shelters. They have stayed with the response working every spare hour. “I like to help and so does my son,” he said. “It’s great when we can work together and see that it makes a difference.”

the-guerrero-family-helping-at-westover-shelter-in-fayetteville

The Guerrero family, Adrian(l), Corina and Isaiah helping at Westover shelter in Fayetteville.

Guerrero’s wife, Corina, is also a volunteer for the Red Cross. She had moved back to El Paso pending Adrian’s retirement to enroll their daughter in high school. When the storm hit she knew she had to help and quickly returned to North Carolina. Corina has been a Red Cross volunteer for more than four years. She began with the Service to Armed Forces program in Italy and when they returned to the states she continued as a disaster responder. Since she has been back in North Carolina the family has been extremely busy. “My son was hoping I would come back and cook for him,” she said with a tinge of guilt. “So far I have only been able to do that one time.”

adrian-guerrero-and-son-isaiah-carry-cots-and-in-kind-items-as-they-help-clear-the-westover-shelter-in-fayetteville

Adrian and his son carry a cot loaded with in kind donations at the Westover shelter in Fayetteville.

Despite being busy every day helping others the family is close and it was pretty clear they all care deeply about the Red Cross mission. It’s also clear that the Red Cross is proud to have them on our team.

If you would like to be part of the Red Cross just go to redcross.org and click on VOLUNTEER. Don’t have time and still want to support the Red Cross? Go to the same website and click on DONATE.

Advertisements

Tornado Response in Carteret County

Melvin Hoard thanks Red Cross CEO Bill Brent for the support he received after his house was destroyed by a tornado.

Melvin Hoard thanks Red Cross CEO Bill Brent for the support he received after his house was destroyed by a tornado.

The American Red Cross has been providing assistance to residents of Carteret County whose homes were damaged or destroyed by severe storms and tornadoes that hit the area on November 26, less than two days before Thanksgiving.  Caseworkers met individually with each of the 16 families to determine their immediate emergency needs and provided shelter, clothing, food, minor medical care, supplies, and emotional support.

Melvin Hoard, a resident of Atlantic Beach, received support from the Red Cross after the tornado ripped the roof of his home.  Hoard sustained some minor injuries and said he is lucky to be alive.

“I just can’t tell you how much the support of the Red Cross has meant to me and my neighbors,” said Hoard

IMG_20131130_130028_475

Volunteers canvassed neighborhoods affected by the severe storms and tornadoes to hand out disaster preparedness and response information and inform them of Red Cross services.

Teams of disaster workers canvassed the damaged areas following the storms to make sure people had access to the Red Cross services and information about preparing for and responding to emergencies.

After experiencing what it is like to survive a tornado, Hoard tells others about the importance of heeding storm warnings. “”If you hear a warning or a watch, treat it like it’s knocking at your front door,” advises Hoard.

American Red Cross disaster preparedness starts long before storms hit the area, beginning with keeping supplies and equipment on stand-by all year to help people in need. People are encouraged to take preparedness in their own hands by downloading Red Cross preparedness apps for mobile devices or visiting redcross.org/prepare to create a personal preparedness plan.

The Red Cross has been meeting with fellow community partners to help facilitate long term housing solutions for the families that remain homeless.  Hoard and other tornado victims are grateful for the outpouring of support from local organizations and community members.

“When I get back on my feet; I want to do something to help the Red Cross the same way they have helped me,” said Hoard.

IMG_20131130_102851_802

Volunteers Sonia Johnson (left) and Lanikai Morbley load up supplies to take to residents affected by the tornado.

All Red Cross disaster assistance is free and made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. A financial gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those in need.

To make a donation to the Red Cross visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Top 12 Holiday Safety Tips

Download the Holiday Safety Tips

1. Prepare vehicle for traveling to grandmother’s house. Build an emergency kit and include items such as blankets    or sleeping bags, jumper cables, fire extinguisher, compass and road maps,  shovel, tire repair kit and pump, extra     clothing, flares, and tow rope.

2. Drive the sleigh and reindeer safely. Avoid driving in a storm. If travel is a must, let someone know the destination, the route being taken to get there, and how long it should take to arrive.  If the car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along the route.

3. Help prevent the spread of the flu. Stay home if sick. Wash hands with soap and water as often as possible, or use an alcohol-based hand rub. Cover the nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, and throw the tissue away after use. If a tissue isn’t available,  someone should cough or sneeze into their elbow, not their hands.

4. Follow Santa’s fashion lead – dress in layers. In cold weather, layered lightweight clothing will keep a person     warmer than a single heavy coat. Gloves and a hat will prevent loss of body heat.

5. Use a Red Cross-trained babysitter when attending holiday festivities. Red Cross-certified babysitters learn to     administer basic first aid; properly hold and feed a child; take emergency action when needed and monitor safe play. Some may be certified in Infant and Child CPR.

6. Avoid danger while roasting chestnuts on an open fire. Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling  or broiling food. If leaving the kitchen even for a short period of time, turn off the stove. This is important because unattended cooking causes nearly 90 percent of all kitchen fires.

7. Be a lifesaver during the holidays. The Red Cross recommends at least one person in every household should take first aid and CPR/AED training.  Visit http://www.redcross.org/training for more information or to register for a course.

8. Designate a driver or skip the holiday cheer. Buckle up, slow down, don’t drive impaired. If someone plans on    drinking, designate a driver who won’t drink.

9. When the weather outside is frightful, heat the home safely. Never use a stove or oven to heat the home.            Never leave portable heaters or fireplaces unattended. Install smoke alarms.

10. Cut down on heating bills without being a Grinch. Get the furnace cleaned and change the filters. Make sure     furniture isn’t blocking the heat vents. Close off any rooms not in use and turn off the heat in those rooms. Turn down the thermostat and put on a sweater.

11. Home for the holidays? Travel safely. Check the tire air pressure and make sure the windshield fluid is full.          Be well rested and alert. Give full attention to the road – avoid distractions such as cell phones. If someone has car trouble, pull off the road as far as possible.

rco_blog_img_safety12. Resolve to Be Red Cross Ready in the New Year. Get ready now in case someone in the household faces an emergency in 2014.  As the holiday season moves into full swing, the Eastern NC Region of the American Red Cross urges families to follow simple safety tips to keep the season merry and to prevent holiday fires. During the winter   holiday season, the incidence and severity of home fires dramatically increases. In fact, according to the U.S. Fire    Administration, each year nearly 156,000 fires occur nationally during the holidays claiming more than 630 lives,     causing more than 2,600 injuries, and costing $936 million in property damage.  Many of these fires are caused by home heating sources, unattended cooking, and candles.

How Eastern NC Supported the Superstorm Sandy Response

Chris Nienow of Wilmington, NC (right) and Kerry Karusse (Emergency Communication Coordinator with ARES) worked to set up satelitte communications in Elizabeth City, NC during Superstorm Sandy.

Chris Nienow of Wilmington, NC (right) and Kerry Karusse (Emergency Communication Coordinator with ARES) worked to set up satellite communications in Elizabeth City, NC during Superstorm Sandy.

Click Here for the National One-year Superstorm Sandy report.

The Eastern NC Region of the American Red Cross supported Superstorm Sandy preparation and response here at home and throughout the northeast.  Before the storm hit, the Red Cross set up command centers staffed with local Red Cross workers in New Bern and Elizabeth City.

Four emergency shelters were opened which housed 82 residents whose homes were threatened by storm surge flooding.   In eastern NC, 71 local Red Cross workers sheltered, fed and distributed supplies to communities along our coast affected by Sandy.  A total of 1,900 meals and snacks were served to local residents in the storms wake along with 45 comfort kits containing hygiene items and 561 clean up kits.

After our communities’ needs were met, the local Red Cross shifted volunteers and resources to areas hit the hardest by Sandy including Virginia, New York and New Jersey. A total of 112 individuals from the American Red Cross Eastern NC Region deployed to assist with the Superstorm Sandy response.

Volunteer Charlotte Rodriguez of Jacksonville, NC (right) helps a group of young men get food and information about Red Cross assistance as they work to clean up storm ravaged homes in Breezy Point, NY.

Volunteer Charlotte Rodriguez of Jacksonville, NC (right) helps a group of young men get food and information about Red Cross assistance as they work to clean up storm ravaged homes in Breezy Point, NY.

Some of those workers took on multiple assignments going back for weeks at a time to help out in the northeast. These volunteers were involved with essential activities including shelter operations, feeding, client casework, distribution of supplies, damage assessment, and health and mental health services.

Five emergency vehicles from Red Cross chapters in Elizabeth City, Goldsboro, New Bern, Rocky Mount and Wilmington were driven to the northeast by teams of Red Cross volunteers to help with mobile feeding and bulk distribution of relief supplies.  These local chapter vehicles were utilized by the response operation for approximately 5 months.

The local community was an essential part of the Sandy recovery and response.  Approximately $750,000 in donations came from people here in eastern NC.  Those donations were put to good use in the communities most impacted by the storm.

Eight year old Rileigh Pedersen of Wilmington, NC sold cookies in her neighborhood to help victims of Superstorm Sandy and brought in a $208 check to the local Red Cross.

Eight year old Rileigh Pedersen of Wilmington, NC sold cookies in her neighborhood to help victims of Superstorm Sandy and brought in a $208 check to the local Red Cross.

As Sandy was making its way across the east coast, the Red Cross received a call to assist the survivors of the HMS Bounty. On Monday, October 29th, 2012, amidst treacherous waves and storm surge caused by Superstorm Sandy, the U.S. Coast Guard rescued 14 people from the HMS Bounty, a 180 ft. sailing ship that sank off the coast of Hatteras, NC. Representatives from the Eastern NC Region of the American Red Cross, in collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard, met with the 14 survivors to offer comfort and support after the rescue. Red Cross disaster workers provided the individuals with food, clothing, and shelter, and assisted with additional immediate needs to aid them in their recovery.

On April 11, 2013 at Elizabeth City State University, the American Red Cross honored the heroism, courage and selflessness of the HMS Bounty rescue mission by paying tribute to the men and women of the Coast Guard Air Station in Elizabeth City.  At the event, the Red Cross presented awards to 22 members of the Coast Guard who risked their safety to save 14 people during a hurricane.

Members of the Coast Guard in Elizabeth City, NC receive awards from the Red Cross for the HMS Bounty Rescue during Superstorm Sandy.

Members of the Coast Guard in Elizabeth City, NC receive awards from the Red Cross for the HMS Bounty Rescue during Superstorm Sandy.

In the midst of responding to Sandy, your Red Cross of Eastern NC was also preparing for and responding to disasters at home—we provide food and shelter, distribute supplies and provide other types of support to the victims of nearly 800 local disasters a year.

We are grateful for contributions from everyone in our community who saw the devastation caused by Sandy and were determined to ease the suffering.