Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Red Cross Hero Care Mobile App

The American Red Cross has a long history of supporting military members, veterans and their families. Now, the Red Cross has launched a new, free Hero Care App to provide instant access to vital Red Cross services anywhere in the world. Whether you’re the parent of a child joining the military, a military member, spouse or a veteran, the app will guide you to valuable resources and services that can help alleviate stress and provide important information right at your fingertips. The Hero Care App highlights the extensive array of services the Red Cross has available for members of the military, veterans and their families.

 •Some the important features of the app include:
o Request Red Cross emergency services including an emergency message or assistance with emergency travel or emergency financial aid.
o Securely and easily access information about their service member in the case of an emergency, including updated information as they move or change duty assignments.
o Access non-emergency Red Cross behavioral health assistance including financial assistance and free local workshops for military kids and spouses.
o Find local resources and information provided by trusted community partners like Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), Blue Star Families, Military Child Education Coalition, United Way, Goodwill, Easter Seals, and others.
o Locate information on key government resources such as MilitaryOneSource, VA Benefits and Services, Department of Labor VETS, the VA Caregiver Support Program, and SAMSHA Community Health Support Services.

  • Users can also connect with other Red Cross apps including the Emergency, First Aid and Blood apps.

 • Information in the app is available in both English and Spanish and a user can even use the app to share their own Red Cross stories and photos The Hero Care App is free of charge and available for both iOS and Android devices.

• To download to your smart phone or tablet, search for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store, text GETHEROCARE to 90999 to receive a link to download the app or go to

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Red Cross Begins Casework and Limited Financial Assistance for People in Louisiana

September 03, 2016

Register online at or call (855) 224-2490
WASHINGTON, D.C. — September 3, 2016 — The American Red Cross is beginning recovery casework to help connect Louisiana flood survivors with the services and resources that will help them to get back on their feet. For those who qualify, the Red Cross will also provide limited financial assistance of $125 per person (example: family of four = $500).
This recovery support begins even as Red Cross volunteers continue to operate shelters, serve meals and distribute critical relief supplies across much of Louisiana--support that will continue for the coming weeks.
“People in Louisiana are ready to take the next step, to try to get back to a normal life, to have a home again instead of staying in a shelter,” said Joshua Joachim, regional executive for the Louisiana Red Cross Region. “We encourage those affected to register immediately with FEMA for federal disaster assistance, which can be substantial. In addition, the Red Cross will make available trained caseworkers to help people locate other services and resources, and, if they qualify, limited financial assistance for immediate needs.”
“Red Cross financial assistance will be available to help those who don’t qualify for federal disaster assistance and who have had major damage to their homes,” said Harvey Johnson, senior vice president, Red Cross Disaster Cycle Services. “We believe this is the fastest, most efficient way to get a small amount of money into the hands of people who can then make decisions about what is best for their families. Plus, spending these funds here in Louisiana will also allow local communities to begin to recover from the economic loss the flooding caused.”
Red Cross assistance will be available to those who meet both of the following criteria:
1) They do not qualify for federal disaster assistance
2) They have had major damage or their home has been destroyed
People who may be eligible for Red Cross financial assistance should register online or call 855-224-2490. People who are deaf, hard of hearing or require accessible communications may text 571-422-1144. If someone is still in a shelter, Red Cross workers will help with their registration. After someone registers, the Red Cross will contact them within 48 to 72 hours.
Caseworkers will verify the person’s identity, the number of people in the household, cross-check the person’s information with federal registration records and validate the flooding damage to their home.
If qualified, people will be eligible for $125 per person to support recovery efforts. For example, a family of four will receive $500. For those who do not qualify for financial assistance, Red Cross caseworkers can still help to create recovery plans and locate assistance from other agencies.
The Red Cross recognizes that each family and each community will have different needs and require different support. Red Cross financial assistance can help families begin their recovery by providing funds which can be used for such needs as an apartment deposit, to buy clothes or food, or to cover immediate transportation expenses.
“This historic flooding caused a wide range of needs, more than any one organization can meet on their own,” Joachim stated. “The Red Cross is only one part of the broader network of both government and community agencies helping Louisianans to recover. While we can’t meet every need, we can work with our partners to ensure that we do our part to keep people safe and comfortable during these trying times.”
The Red Cross casework and financial assistance is in addition to the round-the-clock disaster support volunteers have been providing since the flooding began. As of Saturday, September 3, the Red Cross and our partners have:
Served more than 857,000 meals and snacks
Distributed more than 541,000 relief items
Provided more than 68,000 overnight stays in emergency shelters
Handled more than 31,000 calls from people seeking help
Provided nearly 29,000 health services and emotional support contacts
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Volunteers Recognized for Selfless Service in the South Plains

Volunteering is tough. I don’t necessarily feel selfish when I say that; Like many people who have to balance work, school, family and friends, the thought of giving what little of my time that is left away seems like a terrifying idea. Being as neurotic as I am, I’ve actually counted out the hours in my weekly routine and, not surprisingly, it’s hard to squeeze even a minute of something into my crazy life. Of course, I can say all this as someone who’s volunteered before. This isn’t my first rodeo - I’ve given my time to volunteer for academic clubs, charities, even as a date once. But, after meeting with the recipients of this year’s American Red Cross Volunteer Awards Ceremonies, I have this lingering suspicion in the back of my mind that I should re-evaluate what it really means to be a good Samaritan.

Of course, others volunteer for reasons much less selfish than my own; the recipients of this year’s many awards are proof of that. In total, these men and women have dedicated thousands of hours of hard work to the Red Cross with a simple end in mind - making the South Plains a safer community. It’s a calling that seems to span age, ethnicity and social status. Volunteers include retirees Gerald and Ethel Chambers, who have for years worked on the Disaster Action Team in Plainview, responding to catastrophes even at the dead of night, or Victor Martinez, who juggles presiding of the Texas Tech Red Cross Club, being a full time student, and preparing for medical school.

Volunteers and Staff, including Erin Imhoff, far right
For these volunteers, it seems like the spirit of giving is in their blood. One such volunteer is Erin Imhoff.  I had a chance to speak with Erin, recipient of both the Presidential Lifetime Service Award and the Disaster Preparedness & Response Volunteer Award. Just as fun trivia, how did she earn a award recognized by the President of the United States? Since 2007, Erin has donated over 4,000 (yes, thousand) hours to the American Red Cross. We chatted for a few minutes about the food, her awards, and then we went into the hard question. I had to know, why volunteer at the American Red Cross? I'm not sure what about her answer threw me off at first; the nobility of it or how simple it was. For Erin, volunteer at the Red Cross “because you can be someone’s hero.” In context, this week alone, four apartments in Lubbock burned, leaving eight people on the brink of homelessness; in Louisiana, communities are slowly recovering from one of the worst natural disasters in our nation’s history; world-wide, families are battling measles, a disease shockingly simple to prevent with the right vaccinations. For all of these tragedies, the Red Cross and it’s almost all-volunteer workforce have been there, giving a hero to those who need it most. Erin is one of those heroes, and to meet someone who sacrifices selflessly was a humbling experience.

Listening to these stories, of the impact that one person can have on so many lives, it’s hard not to feel motivated to do something good. Honestly, I don’t think I have what it takes to tack 4,000 hours of volunteer work under my belt, but maybe finding that hour or two won’t be so difficult next time I'm asked. Perhaps there’s a strange part of me that wants to be someone’s hero, too.

A special thanks to Rudy’s BBQ for catering the event. The food was on point.

Red Cross Staff, including North Texas CEO Keith Rhodes
2016 Volunteer Awards Recipients:

Presidential Lifetime Service Award - Erin Imhoff

Silver Presidential Achievement Award - Peter Farr

Bronze Achievement Award - Brittany Walker

Certificate of Dedication - Gerry Grant

Certificate for Outstanding Service – Stan & Betty Foster

Certificate of Appreciation - Weston Ward

Certificate of Appreciation – Miles Hardaway

Certificate of Appreciation – Ellen Wilson

Rookie of the Year Award - Peter Farr

Mentorship Award - Gerald & Ethel Chambers

Woodrow Wilson Youth Award for Exemplary Youth Leadership and Service - Victor Martinez

Administrative Support Volunteer Award- Jade Ngoc

Clara Barton Award for Meritorious Volunteer Leadership -  Dwain Cox

Community Spirit Award - Richard Alires

The Erwin Thal Philanthropic Award – Cynthia Jumper, M.D.

Disaster Preparedness & Response Volunteer Award - Erin Imhoff

Chapter Volunteer of the Year Award - Clarke Cochran

Chapter Exceptional Employee of the Year Award - John Cummins

Employee Rookie of the Year Award –  Jennifer Trengove

Employee of the Year – Judy Pevytoe

Steven Lara

Volunteer - American Red Cross

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

update on our response to the devastating floods in Louisiana

I want to provide a quick update on our response to the devastating floods in Louisiana, where local officials estimate that at least 110,000 homes were damaged. Although floodwaters have receded in parts of hard-hit Baton Rouge, many residents are still coping with ongoing flooding—and downpours are forecasted to aggravate conditions this week.

Thousands of people sought refuge in Red Cross shelters Monday night—more than one week after swiftly rising waters began ravaging communities. For Louisiana residents like Sandra, who escaped and lost nearly everything, these shelters are not only a place to sleep, but also a safe haven where compassionate volunteers provide meals, relief supplies, emergency information, health services and emotional support.

If you havloved ones or colleagues in impacted areas, please share our safety and cleanup tips, which include what to do when returning to flood-damaged homes.

Over 1,900 Red Cross workers from every state are involved in a massive response, including delivering meals and cleanup supplies where it’s safe to do so. The need is dire, especially for residents who are beginning the daunting process of mucking out their homes. They’re spending hours hauling saturated furniture, clothes and personal mementos to curbs outside—all while an intense stench of rotting fish permeates the air in many of these affected communities.

The Red Cross is committed to helping people in Louisiana recover from the floods—the worst natural disaster to hit the U.S. since Hurricane Sandy. We estimate this relief effort could cost at least $30 million, but as of Aug. 22, we’ve only received about $7.8 million in designated donations and pledges to support Louisiana.

Our work wouldn't be possible without dedicated our communities support. Please share this information with your networks to help us ensure Red Cross safety and response information is accessible to everyone who needs it. 

If you would like to become a trained Red Cross volunteer you can start that process today: 

If you and your family are able to make a financial gift to support this response you can do that right at your computer: 

All our thanks,

Laura S Hann