Thursday, December 8, 2011

Week 15: Pet Preparedness

Earlier this week, the Louisville Area Chapter responded to a fire that completely destroyed a Louisville home. Thankfully, the family was able to escape, but the family dog was unable to make it out in time.

The National Pet Owners Survey compiled by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association in 2011 revealed that more than 30% of U.S. households own a dog or cat. Pet owners know well how quickly a four-legged friend becomes part of the family and how devastating their loss can be.
Just as you can help prepare your family for disaster, you can help make sure your pet has the best chance of survival should a disaster take place. In your disaster kit, or in a separate kit, collect items for your pet such as:

  • Pet food
  • Extra water
  • Food/water bowls
  • Mediations and medical records in a plastic container

Also keep toys and a photo of you with your pet(s) should you be separated during a disaster. Visit for more on preparing your pet for disasters including a video on building your own Pet First Aid kit.

Download 21 Weeks to Prepare Shopping List

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Week 14: Dining in Disasters

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Now, what to do with all of those leftovers . . . . I'm no expert in turkey recipes, but I do know a great way you can re-purpose those left over utensils. You might need a fork or two to help eat all of the food you've been packing in your disaster kit. I'm not against eating with your hands, but having a plate and fork is a little more sanitary. #justsayin –oops! Wrong social media site. Paper towels, napkins and plastic cups can also be useful during a disaster, so if you're out of storage room in the kitchen, go ahead and stock a few things in your kit.

You might have noticed I only focused on one week in this post. Don't worry, I'm not shorting you. Au contraire, next week's post (week 15) will be completely dedicated to preparing for our furry friends.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Batteries Not Included

Let me know if this scenario sounds familiar to you:

It's around 8 p.m. on a weeknight and after a long day at work, you've settled in to enjoy some primetime TV. McDreamy is preparing to run a CT scan on the cheerleader who thinks she has superpowers while emergency room workers are freaking out about two men with large neck wounds resembling vampire bites . . .? Something like that.

Suddenly McDreamy's face is replaced with that of the local weatherman. The storm that initially warranted only a ticker tape has now escalated to a show interrupting level. Before you can make sense of the yellow, green and red blobs on the radar, the TV flickers out along with the rest of your power. After finally unearthing your keys (which carry the only flashlight you own—you know, the one you got for free at the health fair at work) you click it on only to discover the batteries are out. If only you had an extra set of batteries.

This has happened to the best of us. Even having four or five flashlights in the house doesn't guarantee working batteries. Having extra flashlights and batteries on hand can help prevent crises like the above scenario or be your hero when the remote control stops working. Check out weeks 12 & 13 of 21 Weeks to Prepare for more tools that might come in handy during a disaster.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Giving thanks to our military

In light of Veterans Day, I would like to take a minute to thank the men and women who proudly and bravely represent and defend our country. Thanks to those who fight and those who have fought in the past. Because of your service, I can safely and freely enjoy my life from the comfort of my home in the grand 'ol U.S. of A.

The American Red Cross has worked closely with the armed forces since the organization's inception in 1881. That work continues through the Service to Armed Forces Emergency Call Center which provides emergency communications for military and their families. This month, Louisville Area Chapter employee Barbara Locklear was named Caseworker of the Quarter for all four call centers (others include Fort Sill, OK, San Diego, CA, and Springfield, MA). These centers serve all U.S. military members around the world.

Louisville Area Chapter CEO Keith Alvey and Manager of the Louisville Call Center site Joann Risky present caseworker Barbara Locklear (center) with a certificate of recognition.

Barbara has only been with our call center since July, but in that short time she has managed nearly 1,500 cases, assiting soldiers and their families as well as National Guard and Reserve members and veterans. She has quickly become known for her excellent customer service, and we are so proud to have Barbara as part of our team!

In honor of our military members, the Louisville Tiffany Circle Society of Women Leaders is spearheading a local effort to collect signed holiday cards for the Holiday Mail for Heroes program. During the month of November, Oxmoor Center and Mall St. Matthews are providing space for shoppers to particiapte.

Mall St. Matthews
Saturday, November 12
11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
located near Dillard's for Women

Oxmoor Center
Saturday, November 19
11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
located near Santa Claus in the Sears wing
If you are in the area on either of the dates, please stop by to help reach our local goal of 5,000 signed cards. For more information on the Holiday Mail for Heroes program, please visit Follow the program on Twitter at #holidaymail.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

21 Weeks to Prepare: Weeks 10 & 11 Daylight Savings Time

We started this journey in September when the sunshine was plentiful and shorts and tank tops were necessary to survive 90 degree temperatures. As we move into shorter days and cooler weather, remember to update your disaster kit accordingly. Scarves, gloves, hats and earmuffs are great sidekicks during winter months and will be your best friends during winter storms (especially if the power goes out.)

My hero
Another great item to consider adding to your kit is a box of hand warmers. I first learned of these wonderful devices while standing on the sidelines of a high school football game freezing my fingers off. You can throw them in the bottom of your shoes as well to warm your feet.

Sunday is Daylight Savings Time and is the perfect time to update your disaster kit. While switching out clothing options, remember to check foods for expiration dates. Something else you'll want to update this weekend with your clocks and kit are your smoke alarms. Check to make sure that your alarms are in working condition. Even if your battery is still working, go ahead and buy and extra one to have on hand.
This post is the halfway mark to a completed disaster kit, and we would love to see what you have put together! If you have any photos of your kit so far, please share them here or on our Facebook page.

Download 21 Weeks to Prepare Shopping List

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Volunteer Recognition Luncheon

Today the Louisville Area Chapter is honoring the many volunteers who donate their time to fulfilling the Red Cross mission. Over the past year, our volunteers have travelled across the country responding to hurricanes, wildfires and floods. They have helped train thousands in life-saving skills like CPR and First Aid. Some used their own training to help save a life.

“Our volunteers do amazing things each and every day in our community,” says Manager of Volunteer Services, Paul Beede. “Oftentimes, they are too modest about their service. This awards luncheon is one way that we can recognize our highest performing volunteers and convey how much we appreciate their work.”

Nearly 30 volunteers will be awarded for their dedication to both chapter and blood services at today's event. Three nominees are up for the Clara Barton Honor Award for Meritorious Volunteer Leadership:

Allen Corbin, a board member and leadership volunteer for the Oldham County Service Center, has been involved with the Red Cross since 1999, helping develop preparedness programs and coordinate fundraisers such as the Heroes Campaign and Chef Challenge.
Jacob Rutledge was part of a team of UPS workers who helped clean up the Louisville Hurricane Gustav shelter in 2008. Since then he has spoken at many events on behalf of the Red Cross and is the current Chair of the Crossing Generations Society.
Husband and wife Gary and Julie Foster are co-chairs for the Bullitt/Spencer County Disaster team. The pair are mentors to new disaster volunteers and support Red Cross fundraisers such as the annual Golf Scramble and Valentine’s Gala in Bullitt County.

Nominees for awards such as the Volunteer Rookie and Virginia T. Keeney Volunteer of the Year will also be recognized. Thanks to all of our volunteers for generously donating their time and passion to our cause!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Weeks 8 & 9: Not a happy camper

Some might say I'm not a "true" Coloradan. Growing up on the Eastern plains, I never experienced skiing, hiking (in the Rockies) or camping. On occasional visits to my home state, I would like to eventually snowboard and hike the Barr Trail to the top of Pikes Peak, but I don't think I'll ever have an urge to camp in the mountains—or anywhere else for that matter.

It's not that I lack a sense of adventure, I just value the finer things in life, like, for instance, running water. We use it not only to drink, but to wash our hands, bathe, brush our teeth, etc., etc. These are all things to consider when building your disaster kit. Your favorite shampoo/conditioner, deodorant to keep you fresh (and so clean, clean) and a toothbrush and paste to keep the cavities and scolding from your dentist at bay.

While writing this post, I came up with a fabulous idea for collecting toiletry items for your kit. When you're not on the road, consider storing your travel kit in your disaster kit. This will save you cash and time when you're packing up to visit Grandma or to go on a weekend trip. You can also bring your multi-purpose kit along if you decide to go camping, you know, if you like that sort of thing.

Download 21 Weeks to Prepare Shopping List

Friday, October 14, 2011

Partnership approaches 50th Anniversary

This year’s Metro United Way campaign marks the 50th anniversary of the partnership between Metro United Way and the Louisville Area Chapter. In 1961, representatives from the chapter and Metro United Way (then known as the Community Chest) met to arrange a more effective fundraising campaign to benefit both organizations. They called the campaign the “United Appeal.” Since the partnership began, it has helped raise more than $78 million for the Red Cross allowing the chapter to focus more of its efforts on delivering its humanitarian services.

“The partnership is stronger now than it ever has been, and it continues to make our community stronger as a result,” said Chapter CEO Keith Alvey. “We look forward to continuing the partnership for years to come.”

The American Red Cross workplace campaign to benefit Metro United Way begins Monday, October 17. Over the years, we've had some crazy "FUN"draisers. Check out some of our photos from 2010.

Quack, Quack! Employees paid to duck each others offices. We have our fair share of pranksters at the LAC.

Raggedy Ann. Employees participated in a crazy hair contest.

As the chapter's unofficial photographer, I'm looking forward to some great photo ops this year. ;) To learn more about Metro United Way, its mission and funded agencies, please visit their website.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Weeks 6&7: Two kits in one

If you have ever attended the state fair, Pegasus Parade or other sizeable event in the Louisville Area, there is a good chance that you have seen and possibly even received help from a member of the Red Cross First Aid Services Team (FAST). The team of 50 members attends more than 100 events each year to provide First Aid to an average of 3,200 people.

While we love our FAST members, they will not always be around with their endless supply of band-aids, gauze and antiseptic wipes. This is why the Red Cross encourages everyone to keep a First Aid Kit in their home, car and even at work. A great place to keep said First Aid Kit is in your new Disaster Kit. During disasters, you or a loved one might suffer injuries that need tending to before help arrives.

Check out weeks 6&7 of our 21 Weeks to Prepare shopping list for items that could come in handy in case of an injury. Also keep in mind medications and special needs for yourself or others in your family.

Download 21 Weeks to Prepare Shopping List

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Weeks 4 & 5: TP to the Rescue!

If you follow our blog, you might recall local disaster volunteer, Joe Brennan, sharing his packing method before heading to South Dakota to assist flood relief efforts:

“Within 20 minutes, I can pack,” Joe says. “I have it all in a box—everything from toothpaste, to toilet paper, to shirts. When I give an orientation, I tell people, “You never know.”

I'm guessing the part that caught my attention also caught yours—toilet paper! I, for one, would have never thought of it before my conversation with Joe. His philosophy is a good one to follow when building your disaster kit. Also pack soap and hand sanitizer. It might be a while before you have access to a proper wash room, so this is crucial in preventing the spread of germs.

Download 21 Weeks to Prepare Shopping List

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pet Therapy Program grows (four) legs in Fort Knox

Brenda Adams and her Golden Retriever, Valentine, graduate from the Fort Knox Pet Therapy program.

Fort Knox went to the dogs on September 15, as 12 pups graduated from Pet Therapy training. Under the wing of the Clark County Red Cross Chapter in Southern Indiana, the Fort Knox Service Center is starting four programs in which the trained pets will provide comfort and companionship to others including soldiers on base.

Puppy Tales at Barr Memorial Library in Fort Knox encourages kids to read by giving them an opportunity to spend time with participating dogs.

Wounded Warriors takes trained pets into hospitals where they visit injured soldiers.

Welcome Home to the Troops takes trained pets to greet soldiers who are returning from deployment overseas.

K9 Assisted Therapy, undertaken by dogs and trainers with the help of an occupational therapist, will provide pet therapy to soldiers including those who have suffered brain injuries and others who are dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Brenda Adams hopes the K9 Assisted Therapy program will be able to provide the same kind of comfort to others as her dogs did with her late father.

After suffering a stroke, Brenda's father stopped speaking and lost interest in his previous hobbies. The one thing that brought him out of his shell was Brenda's dogs. When she noticed his attentiveness while watching her dogs, Brenda further encouraged her father's involvement eventually organizing a dog training contest for him to focus on accomplishing a goal.

This is the same kind of therapy the group is hoping to provide for the soldiers—creating a bond between the soldier and pet therapy team in a non-hospital or clinic setting. If you are interested in becoming involved with any of the Fort Knox Pet Therapy programs, please contact the service center at 502-624-2163.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9/11—Sharon Thompson

(The following is a narrative from the chapter's Director of Volunteer and Youth Services, Sharon Thompson who was part of relief efforts following the attacks on September 11th.)

In one sense, it is hard to believe that it has been 10 years since the horrific disaster of September 11th because I can close my eyes and be transformed back there in an instant.

September 11, 2001, began as a normal day of work, but within minutes of hearing about the planes striking the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, I knew I would be deployed on disaster assignment.

In the early morning hours of September 13th, I boarded a private jet with three American Red Cross volunteers and the Captain of the USS Louisville and we took off for New York. A quick stop at Andrews Air Force Base to drop off the Naval Captain and we were airborne for an assignment that would change our lives.

My family had taken a vacation to New York several years before, and I knew that what I was about to see was not what my memory was. My first glimpse of the [World Trade Center] was one I will never forget—fire so intense that the flames were boiling and leaving a smoke plume as far as one could see. I was surprised that after 48 hours, the fire was still burning.

We set up one headquarters in Princeton, NJ, across the river from New York City, and began the task of trying to make contact with the families from Tower II and trying to get enough workers in to assist. In the first 48 hours on the ground, offices were set up, personnel came by any means they could, since no planes were flying, and a “village” was set up by the Port Authorities so the families could come to one location and meet with all the various agencies assembled to help them. Security was extremely tight and special badges were issued.

Initially, in the evenings, I would attend candle vigils showing support for the families and sharing in the hope of the world, that survivors would be rescued. As the hours ticked by, the sense of hope faded and the reality began to grip everyone that there would not be rescues and may not be any remains to recover.

I visited “ground zero” the next morning where we had set up a Respite Center, so workers could eat, shower, rest and contact home through computers. It was set up in the “Wall Street Journal” building, and that is where I felt the greatest impact of the tragedy.
Walking through the ashes, smelling the acrid air from the fires and seeing the destruction that had crippled a city and wounded a nation overwhelmed me with sadness and anger that one man, one group or one country could have done this to innocent people … who had simply gone to work that day.

A few days before I returned home, I visited Princeton University for a couple of hours. Quickly, I noticed that life was continuing on for the students; riding their bikes (there must have been 2,000 bikes), rushing to class, talking, laughing with friends. I even sat on a park bench and watched the induction of the new President or Chancellor of Princeton University with the stage filled with everyone in full regalia. I remember thinking ... life does go on.

My stay was 23 days and filled with numerous opportunities to help those in need ... a task I did not take lightly. I felt that I was the hand to hold, the one to listen or the one to stand in silence as a casket was wheeled to the front of a church … that I was representing not only the American Red Cross but the thousands of Americans whose hearts were broken from this tragedy.

Upon arriving in Louisville, I was greeted by my husband and oldest son, who I hugged a little longer being thankful I was home yet sad because so many people would not have a loved one to hug. As we drove to the hospital where our oldest granddaughter had just had her tonsils removed, I watched the hustle bustle of traffic and LIFE.

I have been asked what does this day mean … ten years later. I remember saying that history was written that day, and the children who lost parents or relatives would one day read about it in their history book. I hope that September 11, 2001, does not become simply a date in a history book but a memory of tragedy, sadness, hope and grief that gripped a nation and a Red Cross worker from Elizabethtown, KY.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Remembering 9/11 - Woody Miller

When Woody Miller expressed an interest in aiding relief efforts following the 9/11 attacks, his employer said yes. It was, as Woody put it, important to our country. As an American Red Cross volunteer he was able to deploy to New York City in mid-October.

More than a month after the attacks, the pile of debris that once stood as the twin towers continued to smolder. Workers at ground zero worked around the clock hauling away debris and recovering the remains of those lost. The possibility of survivors was long gone, but families still had a shot at closure.

"Whenever they recovered a body, there would be sirens," Woody said. "It was a touching moment because everybody knew what it meant. It was sort of a moment of relief for the families."

In the midst of a bleak situation, the Red Cross set up two Respite Centers on either side of ground zero, offering workers meals, a dormitory to catch up on sleep and counselors to provide emotional support. They served hundreds of meals each day.

Woody kept mementos from his time in NYC including his hard hat, mask and ID which he had to wear at all times for safety and security clearance. (More Photos)

As night manager for Respite Center North, or the "Oasis" as volunteers called it, it was Woody's responsibility to provide an escape for ground zero workers.

"We tried not to talk about Ground Zero at all,” he said. “We tried to make it a celebratory location."

Volunteers at the "Oasis" made it a point to celebrate birthdays. They decorated for Halloween and made good use of a popcorn machine. There was a computer area where workers could stay in touch with their families. One volunteer set up a display of cards from children around the U.S. thanking recovery workers for their service. Some would write back to the children thanking them for their warm wishes during such a dark time.

When he returned home two weeks later, Woody shared his story with family and friends who were curious of his experience. The Board of Aldermen (now Metro Council) recognized Woody and other Red Cross volunteers for their efforts in February of 2002, but like many others who helped, Woody feels that the opportunity to serve was a reward in itself.

"I just remember how the spirit of the workers was incredible," he said. "New York has a bad reputation as a cold and disheartening place, but people were warm and grateful for help. The opportunity to be a part of it was an honor."

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Week 2: Agua Vida

Anyone who has watched 127 Hours (I <3 James Franco) might have an idea of the most important item to keep in your disaster kit. It's not rocket science, but it is something that can be easily overlooked.

Most Americans have multiple sources of water in their homes, but during a disaster, it may be difficult to find clean water. Keep your family hydrated by stocking water in your disaster kit. The Red Cross recommends storing a 3-day supply (1 gallon per person, per day). That's 12 gallons of water for a family of four. The 12 gallons are spread throughout your shopping list, but stocking up now is a great way to work out.

Also work on collecting a few canned goods and snacks. A grumbling stomach is never fun, especially during a disaster. Everyone loves a good bargain, so keep an eye out for sales while grocery shopping.

P.S. Don't forget to start your weather radio fund! $1.75/week

Download 21 Weeks to Prepare Shopping List

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Week 1: Comb your home

During week 1, you won't need to spend a dime. You might not know it, but your home already contains many of the materials you need in a disaster kit. Take, for instance, the kit itself. While a kit is most often depicted as a back pack, you can use any easy-to-carry container. Maybe you have a tote or large covered trash can. And if you choose to use a bag, it doesn't need to be new. Maybe you or your kids have an old backpack or duffel bag that can be used. Once you choose your container, tour your house to find the following items:

  • a set of clothing and sturdy shoes for each family member*
  • copies of important papers (birth certificates, ID, insurance policies, passports, etc.)*
  • a 3-day supply of medications in a childproof container
  • contact information (current list of family phone numbers and e-mail addresses, including someone out of the area who can be reached if local lines are out of service)*
  • map (mark an evacuation route from your local area)*
  • cash in small bills (ATMs and credit cards won't work with the power out)*
  • spare keys
  • spare glasses or contacts and solution
  • books or toys
  • *place item(s) in waterproof container or bag

    Remember to check off each item on your list as you go. In the coming weeks, you might find other items around the house that you can put in your kit. It's always a good idea to check your cabinets before heading to the store. Just make sure to also check expiration dates ;)

    Download 21 Weeks to Prepare Shopping List

    Thursday, August 25, 2011

    21 Weeks to Prepare

    When disaster strikes, there is rarely time to think about what you need to grab in order to survive. If you are lucky, your home and family will walk away unscathed. The next day you'll go back to work, chauffeuring to school and practices, thinking about what to cook for dinner. Others aren't so lucky. The disaster destroyed their home and memories. They don't have food, clothing or shelter let alone a car to get them around or a stove to cook meals.

    At the Red Cross, we like to prepare for the worst. You might call us pessimists, but if our knack for getting the community ready for worst case scenarios helps one family recover following a disaster, or, more importantly, survive during a disaster, then we are happy to serve as your glass half-empty friend.

    Starting next Thursday, September 1, we will kick off 21 Weeks to Prepare—a social media campaign to help families and individuals build their own emergency disaster kit. Originally created by a team of Red Cross workers in Bowling Green, KY, 21 Weeks to Prepare breaks up the task of building a disaster kit to help everyone prepare in a way that is economically friendly.

    On Thursdays leading up to our 21st week (January 19, 2012) we will blog on a group of items you can buy to build your disaster kit. Our twitter page will also post items and tips. Please help us spread the word, and follow our blog and twitter page for weekly updates. Together, we can help prepare Kentuckiana!

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    Chardonnay & Charity

    My first interaction with wine was not exactly a positive experience. The astringent, red, house wine of Harlaxton Manor left a bad taste in my mouth, triggering a boycott during my four-months studying abroad. It was during a wine tasting party over a year later that I discovered my love for fruity and crisp Rieslings. Since then, I've even branched out into a few reds. I invite anyone (of age, of course) to expand their own wine boundaries at the August 25 summer gathering of Louisville Uncorked.

    Louisville Uncorked is a social event held seasonally in various locations. While it is mainly a great way to have fun and network, the Host Committee of Uncorked also chooses a non-profit to benefit from the proceeds. This time around, the American Red Cross will have the honor of receiving collected donations. If you would like to attend to help support the Red Cross and have a good time, visit Uncorked's website to RSVP (REQUIRED) and learn more about the rules of the event.

    With only four events a year, the Uncorked calendar fills up quickly, but the resolve of Crossing Generations member Brian Settles paid off. Brian, an attorney with Fultz Maddox Hovious & Dickens PLC, hopes the event will help promote Red Cross services and expand the membership of Crossing Generations, the chapter's young professionals group.

    Crossing Generations is a self-governing society that engages young professionals in the mission of the Red Cross. Member benefits include networking, personal and professional development, and mentorships with board members. Some have even gone on to join the Red Cross Board of Directors. The group is always looking for new members and meets on the second Tuesday of each month. If you or someone you know is interested in joining, please send an e-mail to

    Wednesday, August 3, 2011

    AmeriCorps team ends Year-of-Service

    AmeriCorps members Alissa Harbison and Meghan Powers spent the past year helping the Louisville Area Chapter educate the community on disaster preparedness.

    The month of September is quickly approaching, and that means members of our AmeriCorps program are wrapping up another year of service. It seems fitting that the group's term begins and ends in September a.k.a. National Preparedness Month. Throughout the past year, our AmeriCorps have delivered more than 2,500 disaster education presentations at schools, businesses and health fairs, teaching people of all ages the importance of disaster preparedness. All told, the group helped educate 15,000 Kentuckiana residents.

    While they are dedicated to preparing the community, our AmeriCorps also help respond to disasters like home fires and floods providing immediate assistance for those affected in the areas of client casework and disaster assessment. They travelled to the far ends of Kentucky, some even to Alabama where tornado struck communities are still recovering.

    As a former AmeriCorps, I know serving might not be the easiest thing you ever do, but it can be the most rewarding. Daily tasks can go from tedious to exciting, leisurely to back-breaking, evoking a range of emotions in a matter of days, sometimes hours. That being said, I would like to congratulate the 2010-11 crew on completing all of the above and more. Their hard work has helped create a safer Kentucky and Southern Indiana and I wish them all the success in the world as they move on to the next chapter of their lives.

    On Friday, July 29, this year’s team celebrated with a Professional Development Seminar meant to help prepare the group for their next career steps. Speakers from Fifth Third Bank, Red Cross and the Peace Corps focused on financial empowerment, resume writing, preparing for interviews and Peace Corps career options. For pictures from the event, please visit our Flickr page.

    Thursday, July 28, 2011

    Attention all Pet Parents!

    "The second worst thing that can happen to a pet is for it to get sick or injured; the worst thing is when that pet's caregiver has no clue what to do."

    American Red Cross volunteer Sara Beavin and her husband rescue animals with special needs, so she first became interested in Pet First Aid to help take care of her own pets. When she discovered that the Louisville Area Chapter didn't offer the course, she took it upon herself to become an instructor and develop the program. In 2005, Sara obtained instructor certification and has been running the local program ever since. In addition to being an instructor, she has also invested in training materials including canine and cat mannequins for students to practice CPR and rescue breathing.

    On Saturday, I had the opportunity to take the class with Sara and learned quite a few things that will come in handy as a pet parent. For instance, in case of a head, neck or back injury, a cookie sheet can serve as a backboard to transport your cat or small dog. And plastic wrap is a great way to keep them in place without damaging their fur—something your pet will definitely appreciate.

    In this video, Sara discusses why it's important for pet parents to learn how to care for their pets in case of an emergency, and also offers a few tips to prepare just in case Milo or Otis get into trouble.

    The Louisville Area Chapter 2011 Pet First Aid Schedule
    Aug. 23 from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
    Sept. 28 from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
    Oct. 11 from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
    Nov. 5 from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
    Dec. 28 from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.

    Call 1-877-519-5967 to register for a Pet First Aid class. Also, prepare yourself and your pets before disaster strikes using this Pets and Disaster Safety Checklist.

    Monday, July 18, 2011

    My Little Orphan Gaffney

    Stowaway Gaffney tries to tag along on vacation by hiding in my overnight bag.

    Monday June 6th was, for the most part, an ordinary day. After work, cooking dinner and wheezing through Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred, my fiance and I settled in for a night of clearing out the DVR. Little did we know, it would be the last time it would be just the two of us hanging out.

    Just after 8pm, our new bundle of joy arrived in the form of a tiny, white, blue-eyed kitten whom we later named Gaffney (see D2: The Mighty Ducks in Vol. 4 of the Dictionary for Obscure 90s references). She had been abandoned on a door step along with the rest of her litter. A friend of ours took her in, but Gaffney was not a fan of said friend's pups.

    Less than an hour later, she was the Little Orphan Gaffney no more, and we were the proud adoptive parents of a crazy, rambunctious, "inquisitive" 4-week-old kitten. Aside from the obvious benefit of having a new companion that loves unconditionally (oh wait; that's dogs) we also have an alarm clock that we never have to set, an organized closet and a cleaner house in general since Gaffney is unopposed to ingesting anything she finds on the floor.

    It is for this reason that I thought now might be a good time to take the Red Cross Pet First Aid class, you know, just in case Gaffney decides to eat something she shouldn't or for some odd reason, doesn't land on her feet when jumping from table to chair to bookshelf.

    This Saturday, July 23, the Louisville Area Chapter is offering a Pet First Aid Course from 10am-3pm. I will be in attendance, and you can be too. Call 1-877-519-5967 to sign-up. Deadline to register is today, June 19. If you don't have time this Saturday, you can register for the next Pet First Aid class on August 23. I hope to see you Saturday!

    Actress Colombe Jacobsen-Derstine as Julie "The Cat" Gaffney in D2: The Mighty Ducks.

    Area Red Cross Aquatics Programs

    Hot summer days can be unbearable, but there are ways to find relief. One popular refuge is, of course, the swimming pool! We have an entire week of high temperatures coming our way, and what better way to spend it than by hanging out poolside or at the lake.

    For those of you looking for swimming lessons, the American Red Cross offers a variety of aquatic programs including Learn-to-Swim courses and lifeguarding. Here is a list of authorized providers in the Louisville region.

    • Baptist East/Milestone Wellness Center, 750 Cypress Station Dr. - (502) 896-3900 x132

    • Aquatics Management Corp., Website - (502) 471-0826

    • Jewish Community Center, 3600 Dutchmans Ln. - (502) 238-2740

    • Kentuckiana Pool Management, Website - (502) 394-9759

    • Lakeside Swim Club, 2010 Trevilian Way - (502) 454-4585 x225

    • Metro Parks Mary T. Meagher Aquatic Center, 201 Reservoir Rd. - (502) 897-9949

    • Ralph Wright Natatorium at U of L, 2216 S. Floyd St. - (502) 852-3691 OR (502) 419-3959

    • Anderson Aquatics, 7962 Wilson Rd. - (502) 624-6217

    • Shelby Co. Parks & Recreation, 717 Burks Branch Rd., Shelbyville, KY - (502) 633-5059

    • YMCA Floyd Co. Branch, 33 State Street., New Albany, IN - (812) 283-9622

    • YMCA of Harrison Co., 198 Jenkins Court N.E., Corydon, IN - (812) 734-0770

    Enjoy the water, and don't forget to take a look at these Red Cross water safety tips before jumping in.

    Friday, July 15, 2011

    The Last Midnight Show

    Last November, I blogged about the convenience of a wand when it comes to preparedness. (A fashionable beaded handbag with an extendable curse doesn't hurt to have around either. Talk about the world's best disaster kit.) Along with millions of other Harry Potter fanatics, I braved the midnight show one last time to see the conclusion of the series.

    While it was likely the last midnight show I'll ever attend, I figured I would pass on a few preparedness tips for those who are filling theaters across the world this afternoon and evening. Here are a few things you should bring along when attending a Harry Potter movie.

    ~Tissues. I will stop there just in case you haven't read the books. Note: Guys included. You know, to get that salt out of your eyes.
    ~Water Bottle. Let's face it. Unless you arrive over an hour early and hop into the concession line first thing, you're going to risk missing the show for that half gallon-refillable fountain drink. Pack some water instead. (small enough to fit in your bag of course.) Toss in a bag of M&M's or trail mix while you're at it.
    ~Sweater. While it is 90 degrees outside, that usually means it's about 50 in the theatre or any other public location.
    ~Pack of cards. Unless you have a smart phone--I think I'm the only person in the world who doesn't--you will likely get bored standing in line for an hour. Personally, I prefer Phase10. This of course is not as critical if you have . . .
    ~A friend. or 2 or 3. One of the best parts of the movie is sharing your reactions and opinions afterward.

    And, without further ado, the most important thing to bring along . . .
    ~Common Courtesy. Proclamation Theatre Decree No. 1 :
    No line cutting, cell phone ringing, bright lights from texting, or unecessary loud chatter will be tolerated. Perhaps Umbridge should take up ushering at the movies.

    Monday, June 27, 2011

    Local volunteer joins relief efforts in Joplin

    Yet another of our Louisville Area Chapter volunteer's deployed this past weekend to help a disaster affected community. On Saturday morning Israel Pinkney, a retired Army veteran, hopped on a plane to Missouri where he will join the relief efforts in Joplin. The town was hit by a catastrophic tornado in May that took the lives of more than 150 people. Israel is now among the more than 800 Red Cross workers who have responded to the relief operation in Joplin.

    This month marks Israel's one year anniversary as a Red Cross volunteer. In that short time, he has become a familiar face attending monthly meetings, volunteering at the Pegasus Parade and local health fairs, and, of course, helping respond to local disasters. During an onslaught of spring storms, Israel was deployed to Radcliff, KY where he worked in a shelter for displaced families.

    While in Joplin, Israel will be part of mass care, helping provide shelter and food for those whose homes were destroyed. The Ozarks Red Cross is providing the community with frequent updates on Red Cross response. Please visit their blog for the most up to date information on Joplin relief efforts.

    Friday, June 24, 2011

    Red Cross "Ham" Radio Club competes in ARRL Field Day

    Do you ever wonder what you would do during a disaster without electricity? What about without your cell phone? How do emergency personell communicate to help those in need? During disasters like the tornadoes in Alabama and Joplin, power lines and cell phone towers are taken out in a matter of seconds leaving members of the community without normal means of communication. When this happens, our friends in Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) step in and help provide emergency communications for the affected areas free of charge.

    On June 25 & 26 amateur radio operators around the world are participating in the American Radio Relay League’s (ARRL) Field Day. The event will test response efforts by amateur radio operations and their local clubs during a disaster or emergency that impacts the communications infrastructure.

    To participate, operators must support communications off of emergency power from 2 p.m. EST on June 25 through 2 p.m. on June 26. The American Red Cross Radio Club (W4ARC) will be set up at the Buffalo Trace Red Cross, 7477 State Road 64, Georgetown, IN from 1—10 p.m. June 25 and from 7 a.m.—1 p.m. June 26. Other radio clubs participating will be at the Pioneer Village City Hall in Northern Bullitt County, as well as locations in Nelson, Hardin, Shelby and Breckenridge Counties.

    All clubs are competing for points, so if you have time, please stop by one of the locations to sign in. Additionally, sites will have a radio station set up as a “Get On The Air” station where visitors can test out their commentator skills on air! Extra points are awarded for visitors who have never operated an amateur radio.

    For details on the location nearest to you, please visit

    Thursday, June 23, 2011

    Louisville Volunteer Deploys to Iowa

    As severe storms continue to plague Kentuckiana, communities across the nation are dealing with wildfires, tornadoes and flooding. One such area is Council Bluffs, Iowa. There, flooding has been so prolonged that the local newspaper created a special website for flood stories and tips. On Friday, local disaster volunteer Mike Sewell will join Council Bluffs residents in their flood relief efforts.

    Mike became a Red Cross volunteer in 2009, just before the August 4th flood. Since then, he's worked on four other disaster operations including last month's flooding in Paducah, KY. When there's not a disaster going on, Mike stays busy by taking courses in disaster training, working as a logistics associate and serving as a member of the Disaster Action Team (DAT), a job that allows him to perform his favorite Red Cross activity--Client Casework.

    Mike working on a disaster relief operation in Paducah, KY in May of 2011.

    Just 15 hours away from completing his BA in Social Work, Mike has always wanted to work in a field that offers lots of social interaction and the opportunity to help others. With Client Casework, he gets do both. He is the first responder when a family is affected by a home fire or other disaster. He helps them with their immediate emergency needs including food, shelter, and--a crucial part of recovery--emotional support.

    While in Iowa, Mike will work in any number of areas including damage assessment, client casework, bulk distribution or warehousing. Since this is his first time responding outside of Kentucky, he is a little nervous about his trip, but anxious to put his training to good use.

    "I'm looking forward to serving clients and meeting new people," Mike said. "I always make friends when I go out. That's one of the reasons I like going."

    For updates on the Council Bluffs flooding along with other Red Cross relief efforts, visit the Disaster Online Newsroom.

    Monday, June 20, 2011

    Louisville Tiffany Circle Nationally Recognized

    Earlier this month, members of the Louisville Area Chapter Tiffany Circle Society of Women Leaders attended the annual Tiffany Circle Summit in Washington, D.C. Each year the summit offers an opportunity for Tiffany Circle members to gather and share best practices.

    Co-Chairs Jill Howard and Mary Rivers were joined by first year members Diane Davis, Mimi Heuser and Kathy McHargue at the two-day event which offered speeches from former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Ambassador of Japan Ichiro Fujisaki and a performance by country singer Wynonna Judd.

    Louisville members received a special surprise during their trip when they were honored with the “Best Practices for a Mid-Size Chapter” award. The women have worked hard this past year, generating more than $650,000 for American Red Cross services.

    “It was great to be able to show new donors how valuable the Louisville Chapter is nationwide,” said Tiffany Circle Member and chapter liaison Diane Davis. She attributes their success to seeking guidance from chapters with more experience.

    The Tiffany Circle is a society of women leaders and philanthropists who each invest $10,000 annually to their local American Red Cross chapter. Members of the Tiffany Circle provide living examples of Red Cross virtues in their local communities, by ensuring that the Red Cross has the ability to help people prevent, prepare for and respond to life's emergencies.

    The Louisville Tiffany Circle plans to have their annual meeting July 11th. There they will go over funds and plan activities for the upcoming fiscal year. For more information on the Tiffany Circle, please contact Diane Davis at

    Monday, June 13, 2011

    One Number, One Call Center, One Red Cross

    For several years, the Louisville Area Chapter has acted as a call center hub for hundreds of Red Cross chapters across the U.S. When military members needed to return home for an emergency such as the loss of a loved one or the birth of a child, it is likely that they were assisted by a caseworker in Louisville.

    Today, Monday, June 13, our call center will become one of four in the world, responsible for supporting the American Red Cross Emergency Call Center Enterprise (ECCE). The four centers—located in Louisville; Fort Sill, OK; San Diego and Springfield, MA—will serve 1.4 million active duty military members and their families along with members of the National Guard and Reserves.

    Before the call center consolidation, the Louisville Area Chapter provided service for many chapters across the U.S. Areas served by the LAC are marked in the map above by a red dot or outline.

    Along with streamlining the call centers, military families will now be able to use one number to send an urgent message to a service member. That new number is 1-877-272-7337. The number is toll free and can be used worldwide.

    The transition is meant to improve service delivery to the military members and families seeking assistance, as well as allow chapters more time to focus on military outreach programs. For more on American Red Cross Emergency Communications Services, visit

    Monday, May 23, 2011

    Safe and Well

    Since March 31, the American Red Cross has responded to 25 large disasters across the United States. That statistic was true before this past weekend when Mother Nature struck once again, spawning tornadoes in Kansas, Minnesota and Missouri. Like the tornado that struck Alabama almost one month ago, the tornado that hit Joplin, MO left behind destruction and many fatalities.

    Disasters like these often lead to the loss of power and means of communication, making it a challenge to check in on loved ones in affected areas. To help alleviate this problem, the American Red Cross developed the Safe and Well website. There, individuals can register themselves as “safe and well” following a domestic disaster. The website is accessible via computers and smart phones.

    Once individuals have registered, they have the option of entering a brief custom message which can include information on how loved ones can contact them. Registrants also have the option of sharing the custom message via Facebook and Twitter, making the site a one-stop shop for notifying loved ones of your safety. When registration is complete, loved ones can then search for those affected on the website.

    The Safe and Well website is a great tool during a disaster, but it’s important to spread the word before disaster hits. Please visit to learn more about Safe and Well and please share with your friends and family.

    Saturday, May 7, 2011

    Across the country

    Here flood waters rise in West Point, KY, one of the Kentuckiana areas hit hardest by extensive rain in April.

    The month of April lived up to its showery reputation this year, causing destruction throughout the U.S. by way of flooding and severe storms. Workers from the American Red Cross Louisville Area Chapter are responding, not only at home, but throughout Kentucky and Alabama.

    In Paducah, KY, flooding from the Ohio has kept residents out of their homes and Red Cross workers from completing damage assessment in the hardest hit areas. A shelter opened on April 25th and has hosted at least 19 people each night. Many Red Cross workers from the Louisville Area Chapter have deployed to Paducah to provide support in areas including damage assessment, client casework and fundraising. In the photo to the right, Bill Franz from LATA Kentucky presents a $6,600 donation on behalf of LATA Kentucky and its management team to Diane Davis (third from left), senior philanthropy advisor, and Kerry Graul (fifth from left), site director, of the American Red Cross surrounded by members of the American Red Cross team in Paducah, KY.

    LAC volunteers, Paul Stensrud and David Vandermullen travelled to Cullman, Alabama in a Red Cross Emergency Communications Response Vehicle (ECRV). The vehicle is equipped to set up emergency communications in areas where power and phone lines are out of service. Entire communities remain without power after tornadoes ripped through the state in late April. The vehicle will allow the Red Cross disaster operation to adequately provide assistance to those affected by the disaster.

    As the Midwest flooding and tornadoes in the South have proven, disaster can strike at any time. Please prepare yourself and your family before disaster hits. Visit for more disaster preparedness tips.

    Monday, April 11, 2011

    Get to Know: Deneen Cooper

    Deneen Cooper
    Business Capacity Development Manager
    (Former Volunteer)

    Roles: Promoting Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) purchases; increasing volunteers and volunteer participation; promoting new 2-year certification for CPR/First Aid

    Hobbies: Studying for Masters Degree in Conflict Resolution Management; spending time with her family

    During the summer of 1994, Deneen Cooper received a phone call that started her interest in life-saving training. Her grandfather, who lives seven miles from Hodgenville, KY, was experiencing a heart attack. The nearest hospital was 25 miles away in Elizabethtown. To Deneen’s family, it felt like an eternity before the ambulance arrived, but they busied themselves by keeping her grandfather calm and gathering his medications.

    “It was like total chaos,” Deneen said, “but everybody took a piece of it, and we made it work.” During the emergency, the family did not have to perform CPR, but they took the experience as a life lesson.

    “Within the month we had a CPR class at church,” she said. “I told my Dad, ‘If you’ll go with me, somebody needs to know what to do next time.’”

    Soon after the experience, Deneen started volunteering as a Heath & Safety instructor. Now, 14 years later, she has also served as Health & Safety Coordinator in Elizabethtown and Chapter Executive in Bowling Green. Her present position in Louisville focuses on training individuals in the workplace. She builds relationships with current and potential customers and shows them that the Red Cross is a “one-stop shop” for their training needs.

    In 2001 her sales pitch became a best practice at Red Cross national headquarters. That year, she received the Marjorie Jordan Employee of the Year Award. While Deneen is proud of the award, she considers her greatest accomplishment to be getting the Red Cross vision and message out to the community.

    If you or someone you know is interested in receiving life-saving training for the individual or workplace, call 502-561-3605.

    Thursday, April 7, 2011

    LAC volunteers donate 90K+ hours in 2010

    For more than 30 years, Red Cross workers have set up seating at the Pegasus parade for 450 elderly persons and people with disabilities who may not otherwise get to enjoy the event.

    Each year the Independent Sector assigns an estimated dollar value to an hour of volunteer time. For 2010, the estimated value was $21.36, meaning that volunteers at the Louisville Area Chapter spent nearly $2 million worth of time giving back to their community.

    Whether they are responding to a house fire at 3 a.m. or teaching a life-saving health and safety course at 3 p.m., volunteers are an invaluable component of the Red Cross organization. They dedicate their time and efforts to helping the community prepare for and respond to emergencies.

    April is National Volunteer Month, and the Louisville Area Chapter gives thanks to all volunteers for their dedication to the Red Cross mission. Check in throughout the month of April, as we pay tribute to a few of our extraordinary volunteers.

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011

    Louisville Volunteer Deployed to North Dakota

    Red Cross volunteer Joe Brennan visits with a Louisville resident during a canvassing project to promote fire safety and prevention in 2009.

    Louisville Area Chapter volunteer Joe Brennan has been deployed on numerous disasters, exposing him to the aftermaths of floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and ice storms. His extensive experience makes it no surprise that he’s a master of speed packing.

    “Within 20 minutes, I can pack,” Joe says. “I have it all in a box—everything from toothpaste, to toilet paper, to shirts. When I give an orientation, I tell people, “You never know.”

    Yesterday afternoon, he packed up once again, boarding a flight to North Dakota where he will assist a fellow Red Cross Chapter responding to flooding. As a mental health specialist, Joe helps ensure that those affected by disaster receive the emotional support they need to make it through trying experiences. Once he assesses the situation and becomes familiar with local resources, he can take action to prevent additional stress.

    Joe says letting people know that their reactions are normal is one of the most important things he can do, but he insists the real support comes from family and friends. Knowledge of partner organizations also helps in offering referrals for long-term support.

    While deployed, Joe will also support Red Cross workers. Disaster workers are deployed anywhere from a few days to four weeks, and the stress of the operation can take its toll.

    “Sometimes things get to you, and you have to pull yourself away from it,” he says. To keep himself positive, Joe reads, goes on walks and even does Tai Chi.

    Disaster operations are demanding, but Joe says he loves the opportunity to meet and work with new people from all over the country and all walks of life.

    “There’s no upmanship,” Joe says of working on disaster operations. “People are just people doing their job. They’re there to help others, and that’s the bottom line.”

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

    Local creative ideas raise $ for Japan

    Friends Ina Miller, Andrew Wood, and Jordan Daly (pictured here with Red Crosser Lisa Grider) stopped by the Red Cross on Tuesday to turn in money donated by their friends.

    Last Saturday night, hundreds of Red Cross supporters gathered at the Louisville Marriott Downtown to dance, mingle and celebrate the Red Cross mission. Little did they know another party in honor of Red Cross was going on in St. Matthews.

    Under the glow of the Supermoon, Jordan Daly and his roommates threw an “80’s Spring Break” themed party as a last huzzah before moving into a new place. At the suggestion of his friend Ina Miller, the party became a fundraiser for the Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Relief fund. By requesting donations from the parties 40+ attendants, the group was able to raise $250.

    Local organizations are also doing their part to help raise money for relief efforts. The Greater Louisville Regional Japanese Saturday School (GLRJSS) used their creativity to start “Cranes of Hope.” The cranes are constructed using the Japanese paper art form Origami and sold for $1 a piece.

    CORRECTION: The Louisville Orchestra has partnered with GLRJSS to host a free concert with suggested donations benefiting the relief fund. The concert takes place Saturday, April 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2825 Lexington Road, in Louisville. GLRJSS will host pre-concert activities beginning at 6:30 p.m. For more info and directions, visit the event website.

    Thanks to these groups and everyone else who has donated to the relief efforts! Check out this release for the latest on Red Cross efforts in Japan.

    Wednesday, March 16, 2011

    Need something to do this weekend?

    Aside from a few war battles, the legalization of gambling in Nevada and the birth of Bruce Willis, March 19 is, historically speaking, quite an uneventful day. This March 19th, join the Louisville Area Chapter as it gives winter a proper send-off.

    Red Cross chapters across the nation are honoring Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords with Save-a-Life Saturday, March 19, 2011. As part of the event, the Louisville Area Chapter is holding two FREE classes to teach essential CPR and first aid skills from 10-11 a.m. at the following locations:

    Main Office
    510 E. Chestnut St.
    Louisville, KY 40201
    (50 student max.)

    Southwest Jefferson County Branch Office
    Medical Office Bldg. I - Suite 310
    9702 Stonestreet Road
    (40 student max.)

    Classes are first come first serve. Register online or call 561-3605.

    Saturday night, members of the community are invited to the Louisville Marriott Downtown for the inaugural Wrapped in Red Gala to celebrate the American Red Cross Louisville Area Chapter and its community services. Cocktails, dinner and dancing to "The Atlanta Allstars" are just a few things guests can look forward to.

    It's not too late to buy tickets! Visit our website to purchase tickets to either the gala or the Red Lounge--a side event featuring hors d'oeuvres, complimentary cocktails and dancing to DJ Fluid and "The Atlanta Allstars." Proceeds from both events benefit the chapter's community disaster programs.

    It's been six years since the chapter's last gala event "The Great Gatsby." Visit the nFocus website for an exclusive interview with Madeline Abramson, Wrapped in Red Co-Chair.

    As you walk from the Marriott to our official after party at Prime Lounge, don't forget to keep an eye out for the supermoon. As long as the skies are clear, it shouldn't be too hard to spot.

    Thursday, March 3, 2011

    WARNING: Do not try this at home

    Home destroyed by tornado in Eminence, KY on February 28, 2011.

    Monday morning’s are always rough for me, so you can imagine my displeasure at being woken up by an unyielding wailing noise at 4:30 a.m. this past Monday. After a few minutes of falling in and out of sleep, I realized that it wasn’t the neighbor’s dog or the alarm clock keeping me from REM, but the local weather siren.

    Once I realized what was going on, I immediately turned on the TV for more information. Almost the entire Kentuckiana area was under a tornado warning. Knowing that the threat of a tornado was VERY highly likely, I woke my significant other and we . . . stayed in bed watching the weatherman frantically attempt to keep up with the fast-moving storm.

    It’s not that I don’t know how to respond to a tornado warning. As a former disaster educator and resident of eastern Colorado, I know exactly what you are supposed to do during a tornado warning. Lying in bed is not recommended.

    I must admit, I have always been terrible about following instructions, especially when it comes to tornado warnings. Perhaps it’s because ever since I saw the movie Twister, I’ve secretly aspired to be a storm chaser. I like to see what’s going on. In any case, please, as the old adage goes, do as I say, not as I do. During a storm, it just might safe your life.

    Take, for example, the couple in Oldham County woken by the phone alert system. They immediately took shelter in their basement. Moments later, a tree came through their roof, landing right in their bed. If they had ignored the alert, as I did, they might not be here today.(full story)

    March is notorious for stormy weather. Take time to educate yourself on how to react during tornadoes and thunderstorms, and please, leave the storm watching to the experts.

    Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    Shelbyville teacher receives Certificate of Merit

    Certificate of Merit recipient, Amy Wells, poses with the owner of Jacobs Ladder, Shelbyville Mayor Tom Hardesty and representatives from the offices of Senator Rand Paul and Congressman Brett Guthrie.

    Maria Jacobs, owner of Jacobs Ladder Preschool in Shelbyville, KY, requires that all teachers be CPR/First Aid certified. That requirement paid off last August when teacher Amy Wells helped save a child's life using her American Red Cross training. Amy had just received her re-certification in CPR/First Aid when 3-year-old Kaden Fritter began choking on a snack. She used back blows and abdominal thrusts, skills she learned at the Red Cross, to dis-lodge the snack and help save Kaden's life.

    Tuesday morning, members of the Shelby County Service Center had the honor of awarding Amy with a Certificate of Merit. The certificate is the highest honor the American Red Cross awards to community members who use their Red Cross health and safety training to help save or sustain a life. The certificate was signed by President Barack Obama and Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, chairman of the American Red Cross. Shelbyville Mayor Tom Hardesty and representatives for Senator Rand Paul and Congressman Brett Guthrie attended to help celebrate the award.

    After the incident, Amy used her skills once again to assist a child experiencing a seizure. In spite of the challenges her job poses, she loves working with kids and plans to continue teaching at Jacobs Ladder. "It's like a home to me here at Jacobs Ladder," Amy said. "It's a warm place to work at and the kids are awesome. I wouldn't trade it for anything."

    See more pictures of the award ceremony on our Flickr page.

    Wednesday, February 2, 2011

    Der Frühling kommt

    Feb. 2nd may seem like any other ordinary day, but after the never-ending snow and below freezing weather that has overtaken Kentuckiana this winter, I was anxious to see the results of one famous groundhog's first post-hibernation expedition.

    Punxsutawney Phil's prediction may seem like a silly tradition, but for people who take the event seriously, the results can play a significant part in decision making during upcoming weeks. For instance, knowing when winter will end can help determine when to go on vacation, when to pack up your sweaters/snow boots and, most importantly, when you can go outdoors for anything other than work or food.

    Before everyone gets too excited about ‘ol Phil’s prediction of an early spring, let’s take a moment to appreciate winter’s highlights including:

    • The holidays
    • Hot chocolate
    • Shopping for sweaters and boots (which you pack up for 8-9 months)
    • Snowball fights
    • The Superbowl
    • Snow days (for some of us)

    And let’s not forget my personal favorite, not having to mow the lawn. So as we anticipate the early arrival of spring, remember to enjoy winter’s benefits. While there may not be many, you only get to enjoy them a few months out of the year.

    Thursday, January 27, 2011

    Surprise message for NAT program

    As most non-profit workers can tell you, working for an organization that focuses on serving the community is a reward in itself. Each and every day, Red Cross workers help people who have been affected by disasters and members of the armed forces experiencing family emergencies. They also train community members in preparedness and response to emergency situations.

    That being said, every now and then, a little positive reinforcement helps remind us of the importance of our mission. Members of the Louisville Area Chapter's Nurse Assistant Training (NAT) program got just that on Monday when they received an e-mail from Jack McMaster, President of Preparedness Health & Safety for the American Red Cross.

    In the e-mail, he thanked Sarah Ivers, NAT Coordinator, and Susan Crowell, NAT instructor, for their dedication to the program. McMaster's e-mail came as the result of a message his office received from a recent NAT student, Sheila Meadors. Her e-mail read the following:

    I just wanted to take a moment to thank the Red Cross for having such wonderful staff. At my local chapter in Louisville KY, I have been attending [NAT] classes. Ms. Sarah Ivers (class coord.) and Susan [Crowell](instructor) have been outstanding, supportive, and professional. There is just not enough good things to say about these ladies.
    Thank You for all your help. I have been blessed by such great people. Could someone please forward this to the highest level? Complaints are frequent these days...compliments are rare.. Pass this one on.

    Sheila Meadors

    Kudos to Sarah and Susan for their hard work, and congratulations on their recognition from national! For more information on the Red Cross NAT program, call 561-3605.

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011

    First time blood donor

    You know that feeling you get when you've done something good? It's like nothing anyone says or does can set you off in the wrong way, not quite walking on air, but there is that added jump and maybe even the hint of a smile for the rest of the day. That is exactly how I felt today after I donated blood for the first time.

    Having been at the Red Cross for over a year now, my blood donation was long overdue, but that didn't make me any less nervous. Luckily, the greeter, canteen worker, and ... blood collector? collections assistant? resident vampire? I'll have to ask for a title next time. They all made me feel at ease with their smiles and friendly dispositions. The warm bowl of chili they served also helped.

    After filling out the paperwork and doing a short questionnaire, I was ready to roll up my sleeves. I've heard people tell stories about getting stuck a few times before they find a good vein, so I braced myself for the worst. I barely felt the poke when it was inserted. Actually, the worst part was when she removed the tape holding down the tube. It took my tiny veins a while to fill up the bag, but eventually I had donated my first pint of blood.

    It made me feel even better when I learned that there is currently a blood shortage due to blood drive cancellations caused by winter storms across the U.S. If you would like to add a little hop to your step by donating blood, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit to schedule an appointment.

    Monday, January 10, 2011

    Crossing Paths

    At last month's Donorama, 1,500 people donated over 1,300 pints of blood to help save lives. While the American Red Cross is the single largest supplier of blood in the United States, what many people don't know is that it is congressionally chartered to respond to all Americans struck by disasters and provide emergency communications and support to military families stationed all over the world. The Red Cross also offers training in life-saving skills including First Aid and CPR.

    If you would like to learn more about the Red Cross and its work in the Louisville community, please attend one of our free Crossing Paths luncheons at the Louisville Area Chapter, 510 E. Chestnut Street. The luncheons are held at noon the second Wednesday of each month and are open to the public. Food is served at noon followed by a presentation and tour of the Louisville Area Chapter. The program wraps up at 1pm. Below is a list of upcoming dates.
    • January 12
    • February 9
    • March 9
    • April 13
    • May 11
    You can register for a luncheon at or RSVP to Lynn Romans at 502-561-3626 or

    Wednesday, January 5, 2011

    Haiti: One year later

    A week before the one year Anniversary of the Haiti earthquake, the American Red Cross continues to maximize usage of donor dollars to help re-build the country. Last year the American Red Cross raised over $475 million. More than half of that has been committed to assisting in the following areas:
    • Food
    • Water
    • Emergency Shelter
    • Livelihoods
    • Health Services
    • Disaster Preparedness
    Moving forward, the Red Cross is looking at assisting with long-term recovery especially in terms of permanent housing.

    An added challenge to recovery is the cholera outbreak, which the Red Cross has spent $4.5 million on to purchase soap and chlorine tablets to hand out while training individuals in cholera treatment and prevention. This, along with other obstacles, has made progress much slower than initially anticipated, but the Red Cross will be in Haiti until the last donated dollar is spent. For more information on Red Cross work in Haiti, go to