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