Friday, July 25, 2014

Chapter Announces 2015 Gala Chair, Vice Chair

Maria Triplett, left, and Erin Rasinen, right, will lead the 2015 Wrapped in Red Gala steering committee.
The results are in from the 4th Annual Wrapped in Red Gala and Red Lounge. The Louisville Area Chapter’s signature event raised $157,000 for community disaster programs through sponsorships, ticket sales and auction purchases. Thanks to our 2014 Chair Randy Blevins, Vice Chair Maria Triplett, the Wrapped in Red steering committee and volunteers who donated their time and expertise to make the event a success!

Louisville Area Chapter Board Member and 2014 Gala Vice Chair Maria Triplett will be leading the 2015 Gala. Maria is President and Owner of TSI Paving—a family owned and operated business providing services in the areas of pavement maintenance, storm water drainage repairs and sanitary sewer repairs for residential, commercial and industrial clients. In addition to her service on the Louisville Area Chapter Board of Directors, Maria is a member of the National Association of Women in Construction and the Executive Womens Golf Association.

Maria will be joined by Vice Chair Erin Rasinen who has chaired the Gala design and d├ęcor committee for the past four years. Erin began her career with Messer Construction in 2004. In 2012, Erin was promoted to senior management at Messer and is now a partner in the firm. She is involved in many industry and community organizations, and serves on the board of directors for the Louisville Chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction, the Kentuckiana-Post of the Society of American Military Engineers, the Sacred Heart Academy Alumnae Association and Kentucky Derby Festival.

If you are interested in serving on the Wrapped in Red Gala planning committee, becoming a Wrapped in Red sponsor or donating an auction item, please contact Amber Youngblood at (502) 561-3711 or

Thursday, July 17, 2014

My Volunteer Experience with the Red Cross

Abu Sufiyan interviews a woman living in a portion of Bangladesh often affected by floods and river erosion. The interview was part of a case study he completed while working for Concern Worldwide in 2009. The case study assessed the affect of interventions by non-profits and volunteers following a disaster and what additional assistance was required.
 The following was written by Red Cross volunteer Abu Sufiyan.

I began my volunteer service with American Red Cross in June of 2014. I recently graduated from University of Louisville with a specialization in Disaster Management. I joined the Red Cross volunteer service to use my newly open time to contribute to the lives of disaster affected people. I am excited to use my knowledge and experience in a new and practical environment.

First, I met with the communication team of the Louisville Area Chapter of the American Red Cross. I was introduced to the blog and social media of the chapter and discussed the different volunteer opportunities with the American Red Cross. I expressed my interest in interviewing people and writing stories about the feelings, needs, and experiences of the community members in the aftermath of a disaster.

I have been volunteering ever since I was in college and one of the activities I have always enjoyed was helping others and service to the community. When I first learned about volunteer opportunities in American Red Cross, I was very much interested as the organization is bringing real change in the lives of disaster affected people every day. I believe that everyone should dedicate some time for service to humanity. As Gandhi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

I am originally from Bangladesh, a country that is not only poor but also affected by cyclones, floods, and other coastal hazards almost every year. After viewing the sufferings of people while I was working for an international humanitarian organization, I decided to take a career path that will alleviate the sufferings of people in a disaster situation. I have completed my doctoral dissertation on the differential of disasters on the poor in the Gulf Coast region. From my experience from two countries, I understand that the sufferings of the people are not much different in the aftermath of a disaster, and people need utmost help to return to the normal lifestyle.

Later I was introduced to the online learning opportunities at the Saba website of the Red Cross. I have already completed eight courses on disaster management. It is quite interesting that new volunteers can take courses in the comfort of their home. I feel that the courses on disaster services, diversity, sensitivity, and awareness, disaster assessment, disaster planning and public affairs were really informative and provide practical knowledge about disaster services. I am willing to continue my volunteer services with the American Red Cross.

We are excited to welcome Abu to the Red Cross team! For more information on becoming a Red Cross volunteer at the Louisville Area Chapter, visit

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

National Volunteer Week - Tony Tobbe

Tony Tobbe (right) receives the 2013 Exceptional Volunteer Service Award
Volunteer Tony Tobbe began his volunteer service with the American Red Cross in June of 2011. After retiring from GE, Tony joined the Red Cross to add something significant to his newly open schedule. He is now a cross-trained volunteer serving in both our Disaster Services program as well as our Blood Services program.

Tony is both a Disaster Action Team member and a Disaster Response volunteer. In his three years with the American Red Cross, Tony has responded to numerous house fires and emergency situations here in Louisville. He deployed for Hurricane Isaac and Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and the Oklahoma Tornadoes and massive Colorado flooding in 2013. All together Tony has served 836 hours with our Disaster Services program.

Tony has also donated 1180 hours of his time to helping ensure a stable blood supply in our region. As a Blood Services volunteer, Tony not only volunteers at local blood drives, but also assists as a Blood Driver, couriering blood and blood products to and from locations as far away as Evansville, Indiana. In 2013, he received the 2013 Exceptional Volunteer Service Award for the River Valley Blood Region. And to top it off, he is a long time blood donor himself!

When he is not working with his Red Cross team, Tony spends time with his wife, children and grandchildren. He is also a University of Kentucky Committee 101 member, so he spends quite a bit of time driving down I-64 to help usher UK athletics events in his coveted blue coat.

To register to become a Red Cross volunteer and to see Red Cross volunteer opportunities in your area, visit

National Volunteer Week - Annaliese & Bill Griffin

Annaliese and Bill Griffin
The following is from a 2010 interview with volunteer Annaliese Griffin. Annaliese has now been volunteering at the American Red Cross for 29 years, and her husband Bill for 25 years. WDRB recently ran a special segment on Annaliese’s past as a volunteer and German immigrant with Anchor David Scott. He learned about Annaliese’s story through his years donating at the American Red Cross East End Blood Donor Center.  

Annaliese & Bill Griffin
I will be volunteering with the Red Cross for 25 years this summer and for Bill it will be 21 years. Soon after I came to America, Bill’s mother was seriously ill and dying. The doctor only gave her a few days to live and her only wish during this time was to see her youngest son, who was deployed in Germany during WWII, one last time. I was telling my neighbor this story and I didn’t know then that he was a high-ranking employee with the American Red Cross.

He was able to call Washington and get my brother-in-law home in just 24 hours to see his mother and spend that time with our family. We were so appreciative of what the Red Cross did for us then. That’s why we volunteer with the Red Cross now.

I (Annaliese) started with WSYL (We Speak Your Language) as a German translator and then Bill and I were disaster volunteers and helped out at other big American Red Cross events like the golf scramble and the Gatsby Ball. Now we volunteer at the bloodmobiles and the Donoramas, and I volunteer about twice a week at the East End fixed site. I work in the refreshment area and Bill works as the greeter.

To register to become a Red Cross volunteer and to see Red Cross volunteer opportunities in your area, visit

National Volunteer Week - Sara Shelton

Crossing Generations members Ainsley Jones and Sara Shelton promote the Wrapped in Red Gala & Red Lounge.
Sara Shelton joined the Red Cross in 2009 as a member of our Crossing Generations Society. Sara is a young professional and works for Triangle Talent as a Senior Producer. She travels frequently, primarily to state fairs and music festivals, to promote concerts and work with bands directly.

Sara’s impact has included assisting with the development and planning of our Wrapped in Red Gala, chairing the Red Lounge committee, setting up blood donation opportunities and CPR/First Aid trainings for young professionals, and more. She is currently the Chair of our Crossing Generations group and was previously the Director of Recruitment and Retention. During the March 2012 tornado relief efforts, she recruited other young professionals to help cover telethons, benefit concerts and other fundraising opportunities. She shadowed a Red Cross response vehicle the day after the storms. Finally, she believes in what she asks others to do—she is a blood donor, financial donor and is trained in CPR/First Aid.

To register to become a Red Cross volunteer and to see Red Cross volunteer opportunities in your area, visit