Volunteers Honored at Seniors Making a Difference Awards

Red Cross Volunteers Thuan Tran and Cam Nguyen show off their Seniors Making a Difference Award.

Red Cross Volunteers Thuan Tran and Cam Nguyen show off their award.

State Senator Lou Correa’s Seniors Making A Difference Awards honored two Red Cross volunteers at the recognition event June 28.

The awards went to outstanding senior citizens who volunteered their time, energy and talents to make a difference in Central Orange County.

Red Cross Community Ambassadors Cam Nguyen and Thuan Tran were recognized for their outstanding commitment to the Red Cross and their outreach efforts to the Vietnamese Community.

Honored Red Cross volunteers (left) stand beside State Senator Lou Correa (middle) at the Seniors Making a Difference Awards.

Honored Red Cross volunteers (left) stand beside State Senator Lou Correa (middle) at the Seniors Making a Difference Awards.

More than 300 people attended the awards celebration which included legislative updates, music and a tribute.

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No Cell Phone? No Thank You!

Imagine this: A disaster strikes. Cell phone towers are down. There is no access to the internet. This, to me, sounds like the end of the world. What am I supposed to do without my cell phone? Better yet, how will the Red Cross be able to do their job effectively without the help of modern communication?

Enter Disaster Services Technology, or DST, the unsung heroes of the Red Cross. This team of tech savvy volunteers is able to bring back communication through satellites; enabling the Red Cross to do what they do best-help people get through disaster.

Here, students from the DST training are seen setting up satellites.

Here, students from the DST training are seen setting up satellites.

Currently, there are 25 volunteers from our region (as well as L.A., San Diego and Sacramento) participating in a 3 day training. One of the ten trainings Red Cross National Headquarters is putting on. The best part: no background is required. That means any Red Cross volunteer can become part of DST.

Ed Finley, Customer Service Officer for DST with National Headquarters, said of the training, “They’re taking it from cradle to grave.” During a DST training, students experience what it would be like doing this job during an actual disaster (minus the actual disaster, of course).

Inspired to become a volunteer yourself? Visit redcross.org for more information.

A Red Cross volunteer is learning about satellite use and maintenence.

A Red Cross volunteer is learning about satellite use and maintenence.

Children’s Safety Festival

Earlier this month, the parking area of the American Red Cross offices in Santa Ana briefly became a holiday festival for families in need. Approximately 1,000 guests received toys, holiday stockings and books along with Red Cross disaster kits. NearlyPicture 094 400 youth from 40 Red Cross Clubs throughout the region collected close to 1,200 toys. They also created and managed more than 40 activity booths.

Children and parents alike gained valuable information from exhibits such as the Red Cross Preparedness Puppet Show, Edison and Electrical Safety, bike safety, Quake Cottage, disaster preparedness and earthquake drills, compression CPR training and a disaster kit scavenger hunt. They also enjoyed time with the local Orange County Fire Authority firefighters, refreshments from Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces volunteers and holiday carols by Red Cross Emergency Services members.

Youth from the Red Cross Clubs were supported by staff and volunteers from Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties along with AmeriCorps members. Santa Ana Councilman David Benavides also helped distribute children’s books with the team from Think Together.  Red Cross partners who contributed to the success of this annual event included Circle K, Disneyland, Edison International, Emulex, National Charity League, Orange County Fire Authority, Pacific Life, Printronix, Think Together and Westbound Communications.

US Olympic Committee Paralympics Warrior Games 2012

(note: the following was written by Mary Arteaga, a Red Cross volunteer in Orange County)

As soon as I learned there were going to be these Olympic style Warrior Games in Colorado Springs in the first week of May 2012, I knew I wanted to be a part of them.  I have been a Red Cross volunteer with Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) for the past 6 years and have come to think of these men and women as my true heroes.

First Lady Michelle Obama came to the Opening Ceremonies!  She is doing really great work to support our military and their families.  I drove down a day early to watch the cycling event.   Pedaling a bike for 18.3 miles is hard enough with two legs, astounding with only one or with a hand cycle.

I worked the Wednesday evening shift in the gym with the Wheelchair basketball games and was also able to watch a part of the Sitting Volleyball game between the US Marines and the team from the UK.  They really play all out.  Imagine playing volleyball with no legs!

These athletes are amazing to watch.  To have been injured so terribly – in some cases just a year or so ago – and now be able to participate in those sports plus Track and Field, Archery, Swimming, and Shooting takes determination beyond words.

Many of their families were there to cheer them on.  These families have made such tremendous sacrifices for our country.  They really are all heroes.  Hoo-ah!


One Century Later: Clara Barton’s Legacy

When asked, people can name one service of the American Red Cross.  Ask who the founder is, and few know.  But Clara Barton‘s influence and the results of her tireless efforts in America, however, is felt every hour still today.  Exactly one hundred years ago today, we lost one of the most inspiring people of our time, and her name is still not as well known as it should be.  But her legacy still lives on in the hearts of volunteers and staff throughout the nation.

Barton was a recording clerk in U.S. Patent Office in Washington, D.C. during the Civil War and realized how little help there was for the troops that had landed in D.C.  She took to the task of providing bedding, clothing, and food to those who were wounded.  After the turbulent events of the Civil War, she went to Europe on a personal vacation and was slowly pulled back into the humanitarian scene upon reading A Memory of Solferino, the memoir of the International Red Cross founder, Henry Dunant.  Barton assisted with the aid movement of the Franco-Prussian War, and returned to the United States with a distinct Red Cross spirit and a letter from officials of the Geneva Conventions asking the United States to join.  Though it took much convincing, Congress eventually signed to the Conventions in 1882.  Barton founded an association of the Red Cross in 1881, but Congress officially recognized the need for a humanitarian organization by issuing a charter in 1900 founding the American National Red Cross, which still stands.

Barton led the organization for 23 years before resigning and died years later.  Since then, Barton’s organization has evolved in its service delivery and structure, but one aspect hasn’t changed: the commitment to the protection of human dignity in times of conflict, disasters, and emergencies.

Red Cross Youth Volunteer Recognized with Community Award

(note: the following was written by Megan Pierce, an AmeriCorps member who is working as a youth adviser at our Orange County office this year)

Katherine Wu, 18, of Diamond Bar has been honored for her exemplary volunteer service with a state-level Certificate of Excellence from The 2012 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program. Katherine was nominated for this award by the American Red Cross- Orange County Chapter where she is the Youth Advisory Council Chair.

When asked to reflect on her role as the Youth Advisory Council Chair, Katherine revealed the following. “As the YAC Chair, I feel that it is my responsibility to guide and inspire my peers to collaboratively make our mark upon the community. I hope that I can help guide my fellow volunteers and change their lives the same way that my life has changed throughout my unforgettable experiences with the American Red Cross.”

Presented annually by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards honor young people across America for outstanding community service activities. More than 345,000 young people have been considered for these awards since the program’s inception in 1995, making it the nation’s largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer service.

March is Red Cross Month!

It’s March 1st, and that means for the next 30 days, we celebrate the country’s most proliferate humanitarian organization.  President Franklin D. Roosevelt first proclaimed March as Red Cross Month in 1943 as a fundraising vehicle for supporting our volunteers during World War II.  Nearly 70 years later, we continue to support our military and their families with courtesy and dignity, provide disaster relief around the clock to all parts of the country, and collect and distribute blood for the nation’s supply.  It’s no wonder that the Red Cross is such an important part of our country, and that’s why we’re proud to tell every person in every part of our nation that we are Red Crossers, and that we’ll be there whenever you need us–in fact, it’s in our charter established by Congress 112 years ago that we continue to spread the word so that everyone knows who we are.

Whether you’re a volunteer, donor, board member, a person who’s been touched by the Red Cross, or the general public, you know that the Red Cross is here for you–and we can’t do it without the generosity of our volunteers and donors.  We appreciate your support, and we would love it if you joined us in celebrating Red Cross Month–via Twitter, Facebook, or even here on our blog.  We encourage you to donate, seek out a new volunteer, or take a disaster/first aid class.

If you feel like the only activity you’ve done with us is the New Volunteer Orientation, we have lots of help needed!  Watch your e-mail inbox this week for the Volunteer E-Update.