Thursday, November 19, 2015

Red Cross Receives $25,000 from Rutter’s

Todd Rutter, President of Rutter’s Dairy, presented the Red Cross with a $25,000 donation during the Red Cross South Central Pennsylvania Spirit of the Heroes Breakfast held in York on Thursday, November 18, 2015. The donation marks the end of the “Vote with your Dollars” campaign hosted by Rutter’s over the past few months.

In the campaign, customers with Rutter’s rewards cards were encouraged to pick their charity of choice from seven area nonprofit organizations listed on the Rutter’s website. All purchases then made by “voting” customers from July through October were counted as “points” for the charity of choice, with the top three point-earning charities earning $25,000 donations.

The Red Cross is extremely grateful to Rutter’s and their rewards cards customers whose support enabled a third place finish in the campaign.

Red Cross South Central PA Recognizes Local Heroes

The American Red Cross South Central Pennsylvania Chapter presented eight awards to fifteen individuals during the Spirit of the Hero Breakfast held at the Wyndham Garden York Hotel on Thursday, November 19, 2015. This annual event honors individuals from Adams, Franklin, Fulton, and York Counties for their heroic and selfless acts.
This year’s award recipients include:

Captain David Bowman, Captain William Sleeger, Firefighter Kenneth Swartz, Firefighter Kevin Westover, Firefighter Joseph Portner, Firefighter Shawn Firestone, Firefighter Donald Newcomer (category – Fire Fighter)

Firefighters from The York City Department of Fire Rescue Services Station Number 2 didn’t need to travel far to save two people earlier this spring. While working in the fire house, the men noticed a large commotion occurring on the street just outside their front door. What looked to be a large fight quickly escalated as shots rang out – two people had been hit.

As some participants in the fight started to disperse and others still congregated on the street, and with no idea where the shooter might be, the firemen left the safety of their building to render aid to the individuals laying on the pavement outside. These men did not wait for the protection of the police, who were quickly notified of the violence. Rather, they immediately stepped in to assist.

Once on the street, they rendered first aid to the individuals, one of whom had been shot in the face, the other with a wound to the leg that was bleeding profusely. Their bravery played a large role in the survival and ultimate recovery of the two victims.

Officer James Brunner (category – Law Enforcement)

A member of the Eastern Adams Regional Police Department, which serves the residents of New Oxford Township and New Oxford Borough, Officer James Brunner was on patrol when a vehicle was observed to be operating recklessly at a speed in excess of 100 miles/hour.

Officer Brunner and his partner attempted to stop the vehicle, but the driver refused all efforts and continued to speed through the town’s streets. As the suspect’s vehicle made its way into an intersection, it crashed into another motorist, causing both cars to come to rest in an area off the roadway.

It was at this time that the vehicle which caused the accident caught fire. With the driver trapped inside, Officer Brunner sprang into action, risking his own life to save the trapped individual. Prying the driver’s door open, Officer Brunner managed to pull the individual to safety as the flames overtook the entire vehicle. His quick thinking and quick response saved the driver from certain death, enabling the person to escape with only moderate injuries.

Officer Michael Gessner and Officer Steve Gebhart (category – Law Enforcement)

Penn Township Police Officers Michael Gessner and Steve Gebhart were working the overnight shift when they were dispatched to an apparent apartment fire in late May of this year. Arriving first on scene, Officer Gessner noticed thick, heavy smoke pouring out of the structure.

Exiting his cruiser, he quickly ran into the burning building, where he found an adult male laying unconscious inside the doorway of the apartment unit where the fire originated. Realizing he needed assistance in removing the man from the building, Officer Gessner called for Officer Gebhart, who had just arrived on scene.

The two officers worked together to carry the man to safety and while Officer Gebhart rendered first aid, Officer Gessner went back into the building to make sure no one else was trapped inside.

With the smoke becoming too thick to continue, and with the fire department now on site, Officer Gessner exited the building. The victim has since made a full recovery due in large part to the heroic actions of Officers Gessner and Gebhart.

Jackie Bortner (category – Community Impact)

The students at York’s William Penn Senior High School, like many inner city schools across the nation, come from homes that struggle to meet their daily needs. A high poverty rate makes it difficult for many families to secure housing, adequate clothing, and even food.

Realizing the problem and understanding the impact it can have on students’ ability to learn and grow, Jackie Bortner decided to help. After meeting with members of the school’s administrative team and forming a coalition of area businesses and individuals looking to make a difference, “Hoodies for the Holidays” was born.

The result was amazing. Every student at William Penn received a school hoodie, an article of clothing that provided warmth and proved to be the only gift many would receive during the holiday season.

Jackie then took the success of the initial project and expanded it to create the school’s Resource Room, a place that provides not only clothing, but also food that students in need can take home to get them through the weekends.

David Dranbauer (category – Good Samaritan)

There was an arsonist on the streets of Hanover earlier this year, setting fires in both Hanover Borough and Penn Township. Eight fires had already been set, leaving the community on edge as to what would happen next.

David Dranbauer was in his yard when he saw a man walk into a garage down the street. Running from the garage a short time later, David noticed smoke coming from where the man had just been. As he ran toward him, David stopped the eman, asking him what he had done.

The man attempted to punch David, who quickly placed him in a chokehold before dropping him to the ground, holding him in place as his neighbor called police. As he waited for police to arrive, David asked the man why he did it, to which he responded that setting fires made him feel alive.

David’s heightened awareness of his surroundings, coupled with his willingness to take action, likely saved the area from additional fires.

Dr. Sonam Ruit (category – Medical)

A native of Nepal, Dr. Sonam Ruit of Martin Foot and Ankle in York, was heartbroken when word of the massive earthquake to his homeland reached him here in the United States. Confirming that his family back home had survived the devastation, Dr. Ruit decided he needed to do what he could to help those who had lost everything in the initial quake and its aftershocks.

Dr. Ruit called on area hospitals to donate any medical and surgical supplies they had available. He also solicited funds. He personally donated money and paid for the shipping of what he collected.

Traveling to Nepal in June, he delivered the items and funds he managed to raise. He saw patients and performed surgeries. The money raised was used to help build homes, purchase clothing, and secure school supplies needed in some of the worst hit areas. Dr. Ruit’s effort made a huge impact in some of the nation’s poorest communities, his determination helped many people get on the road to recovery.

Ke-Shon Riley (category – Good Neighbor)

Ke-Shon Riley knows the outcome of his young life could have been a lot different. As a middle school student in York, he was hanging with a rough crowd. His friends were becoming involved in things in which they shouldn’t, and it wouldn’t be long before Ke-Shon joined them.

As luck would have it, the Salvation Army After School Program took hold of him before the temptations of the streets could. Ke-Shon found that he liked everything about the program. Realizing the impact it was having on his life, he became a volunteer during his high school years. And now, in his first year since graduation, has taken a staff position with the program.

Ke-Shon knows that the safe, fun, and loving environment of the after school program helped him to grow into the fine young man he is today. He credits the staff for never giving up on the kids and working with them to overcome life’s challenges. As an employee, he hopes to have the same impact on the younger kids who participate today.

Lane Reever (category – Animal Hero)

Lane Reever met Buddy on his trainer’s farm. The two became close, which is why he knew he had to do something when the trainer decided to place the pony up for sale at auction because he was unable to afford Buddy’s eye cancer surgery.

Raising money that he hoped would secure him the pony, he attended the auction with his family, where he was given the opportunity to ride his friend for what many believed to be the last time, Lane was extremely nervous. He shared his concern with Deb Dempsey of Izzy’s Love Horse Rescue, who he happened to meet that day.

Thinking Buddy’s fate had been sealed when a meat buyer held the high bid, the Reever Family quickly felt relief as Dempsey stepped in and outbid the other gentleman. With Buddy out of immediate danger, Lane raised enough money for the pony to have the cancerous eye removed.

Now living on the Reever Farm, Buddy and Lane spend most days together. They have also started to participate in Youth Rodeo events, where the two have made quite an impression for their ability to perform well together and for Lane’s determination to save an animal that most thought to be not worth saving.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Kathy Doran Recognized for SAF Commitment

Pictured: Kathy Doran (c) with l-r: SAF Mid-Atlantic Division Director Kathy LaFleur, Division Manager Amy Green, Red Cross Central Pennsylvania Regional CEO Ellen Kyzer, and Red Cross South Central Pennsylvania Chapter Board Chair Patrick Ball.

Kathy Doran, Red Cross Central Pennsylvania Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) Regional Program Manager, was presented with the SAF Legacy Award during the Region’s All Staff Meeting held in Hershey on Thursday, November 12, 2015. SAF Mid-Atlantic Division Director Kathy LaFleur and Division Manager Amy Green made the trip from Washington to personally recognize Kathy for her “dedicated service to the United States Armed Forces serving in support of the military operations in South Korea.”

While most people know Kathy for her extraordinary dedication to the Red Cross here in Central Pennsylvania, her commitment to the organization and – more specifically – to the SAF Program goes much deeper. For close to 25 years, Kathy has served as a volunteer, and now an employee, of The American Red Cross. She is always the first to arrive and the last to leave any event. Her calm demeanor, warm smile, and willingness to do whatever needs to be done is an inspiration to all who have the privilege to work alongside her.

“Frankly, I have many great memories – the people I have met, the places I have seen, and the ability to support our brave military. What a great job I have,” stated Kathy Doran when discussing her role with SAF.

Over the years Kathy has served on many bases both stateside and abroad – including two tours in South Korea, making a huge impact in the lives of our active military, veterans, and their families.

“I honestly appreciate being given this opportunity. It is truly an honor to serve in this capacity,” she noted.

The Red Cross legacy of service to members of the military began with Clara Barton providing comfort on the battlefields during the United States Civil War. Since then, American Red Cross staff have served in every major military combat or conflict operation around the world. They are among a select group who have proudly worn the Red Cross emblem to provide care and comfort to the members of the United States Armed Forces.

The Legacy Project honors and recognizes the legacy of Red Cross staff and volunteers who have served side-by-side with members of the United States Armed Forces. Since the program’s inception in 2010, the Red Cross has received nearly 500 nominations. The stories and memories many of these people bring are an opportunity for the Red Cross to engage the families and individuals who share the distinct experience of serving alongside members of the military during conflicts, wars, and humanitarian operations.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Together as One

The Boards of Directors from all four Chapters that make up The American Red Cross Central Pennsylvania Region joined together with the regional management team in Hershey for a special retreat on Saturday, November 7, 2015. The event marked the first time all four boards met as a regional group.

Excitement and laughter were definitely key components of the day, with everyone playing an active role in the various breakout sessions and panel discussions. The group shared successes and examined challenges, they offered one another advice and worked together to brainstorm ways to overcome obstacles. The positive energy and lively dialog made for a great day and a great experience that is sure to impact the Region and the people we serve in the months and years ahead.

view additional photos

Friday, November 6, 2015

Wohlsen Construction Celebrates Anniversary at Red Cross Office

In 1890, Herman Wohlsen, a German immigrant carpenter who settled in Lancaster, started what is today known as the Wohlsen Construction Company. Working with a well-respected architect, C. Emlen Urban, Wohlsen built his family home on West Orange Street in 1902.

Wohlsen Construction returned to its founder’s home, currently an office for The American Red Cross, to host a reception in honor of their 125th anniversary on Friday evening, November 6, 2015. Close to 70 people, including members of the Wohlsen family and Red Cross staff and volunteers, attended.

Congratulations on 125 years. The Red Cross was happy to be a part of the celebration.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Rachelle Freedman Named Volunteer of the Quarter

Red Cross Central Pennsylvania Chapter Volunteer Services Committee Chairman Mike Murphy presented Rachelle Freedman with a certificate for being named Chapter Volunteer of the Quarter during a brief ceremony held in the Harrisburg office on Friday, October 30, 2015.

Rachelle, Regional Community Outreach Team Lead, handles all presentation requests. She ensures that the scheduled volunteers have everything they need and she follows-up to make sure everything is returned in a timely fashion. Rachelle is constantly looking for better ways to improve our process and is making a huge impact in our outreach effort.

Judy Hurtt, the Administrative Coordinator who nominated Rachelle, noted, “Oftentimes I ask her if I’m putting too much on her plate, but before I know it, everything is done!” 

Congratulations, Rachelle, on being our Volunteer of the Quarter!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

168 Homes Receive Smoke Detectors During York Event

Close to 80 Red Cross and community volunteers joined forces with the City of York Department of Fire Rescue Services and Mayor C. Kim Bracey's office to install 627 free smoke detectors in 168 homes and educate the residents on the importance of home fire preparedness during an event held in the city's West End on Thursday, October 15, 2015. The event is part of the Red Cross' effort to reduce the number of home fire injuries and fatalities by 25% over a five year period.

"When a home fire occurs, you have roughly two minutes to safely evacuate," noted Red Cross South Central Pennsylvania Board Chair Patrick Ball when addressing the volunteers prior to the start of the event. "Working smoke detectors can increase your chance of escaping by over 50%, yet nearly 5 million homes in the United States do not have working smoking detectors."

Assembling on West Princess Street before being dispersed into the neighborhood in teams of four, participants also listened to remarks from Mayor Bracey, who has been a strong supporter of the program and the impact it has in the local community.

"I am pleased to join alongside The American Red Cross in their Home Fire Preparedness Campaign, to ensure the safety and awareness of our residents in the City of York, making certain that they are provided with the available resources that can assist in saving lives,” noted Bracey.

Following the opening presentation, volunteers went door-to-door, discussing with residents the importance of creating and practicing fire escape plans. They also offered to install free smoke detectors in any homes where working smoke detectors didn't currently exist.

Companies and organizations that provided the volunteer manpower for the Home Fire Preparedness event include:

  • Baker Tilly, Big Brothers Big Sisters of York and Adams County, CGA Law Firm, Family First Health, Glatfelter Insurance Group, KioWare, M&T Bank, Michael Allen (Penn State York), ROCK Commercial Real Estate, Rotary, Santander Bank, St. Matthew Evangelical Lutheran Church, Stewart & Tate, White Rose Credit Union, YMCA of York, York Traditions Bank, Salem Square Community Association, State Farm

view photos from the event

Friday, October 9, 2015

CommunityAid Donates $20,000 for South Carolina Flood Relief

Red Cross Central Pennsylvania Regional CEO Ellen Kyzer (pictured above front right) accepted a $20,000 donation to benefit the Red Cross relief effort in South Carolina from CommunityAid Executive Director and Founder Glenn Chandler (pictured above front left) during a brief ceremony held at the Mechanicsburg CommunityAid Store on Friday, October 9, 2015.

“It is estimated that the Red Cross relief effort in South Carolina will cost in excess of $4 million dollars. So far this week, the Red Cross has provided over 42,000 meals and snacks and 4,600 relief items to those impacted by the storm,” Kyzer noted. “On behalf of all who will benefit from this generous donation, I say thank you to Glenn Chandler and CommunityAid.

For the past several years, CommunityAid has been a strong partner with The American Red Cross North Central Pennsylvania Chapter, providing a steady and predictable funding stream as well as thousands of dollars in CommunityAid Clothing Care Cards. Recently, that partnership has expanded to Lancaster County, where CommunityAid is now working with the American Red Cross Central Pennsylvania Chapter.

Chandler stated, “We believe in helping our neighbors wherever and whenever there is a need. We are blessed we can help!”

Since 2009, CommunityAid has given more than $5.6 million in contributions to other organizations. This allows hundreds of partner nonprofits to grow their missions and help more people truly in need.

Pictured below: Red Cross Central Pennsylvania Regional Disaster Officer Chris Weidenhammer holds a sign thanking CommunityAid while on deployment to help those affected by the floods in South Carolina.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Red Cross Hosts Philipsburg Fire Safety Event

Over 50 American Red Cross and Centre County United Way Day of Caring volunteers gathered in Philipsburg for a Home Fire Preparedness Event on Thursday, October 1, 2015. Thanks to the support of Ben Franklin Technology Partners, over 200 free smoke detectors were installed in homes throughout the community as local residents were educated on the importance of home fire preparedness. The event was part of the Red Cross’ effort to reduce the number of home fire injuries and fatalities by 25% over a five year period. 

“Seven times each day someone dies in a home fire,” noted Red Cross Mid-Central Pennsylvania Chapter Executive Director Stephanie Fost. “When a fire occurs, you have two minutes to safely evacuate your home. Working smoke detectors can increase your chance of escaping safely by over 50%.” 

The Red Cross is excited to be partnering with the Centre County United Way and our friends at Ben Franklin Technology Partners in our effort to educate residents on the importance of home fire safety.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Three-Way Partnership Aimed at Fire Preparedness

The American Red Cross has partnered with Lycoming-Clinton Head Start through their STEP Early Learning Pathway and the Williamsport Bureau of Fire to educate residents on the importance of having working smoke detectors and home fire escape plans. This effort is part of the Red Cross’ campaign to reduce the number of fire related injuries and deaths by 25% over a five-year period.

STEP Head Start is committed to helping children and families succeed in school and in life by providing families with the tools needed to maximize their children’s and their own success. As part of this new initiative, Head Start home visitors in Lycoming and Clinton Counties assess the homes they visit to see if there are working smoke detectors. When a home is found to be in need, the home visitor works with the homeowner and the Red Cross to schedule an appointment.

If the home is in Williamsport, Red Cross volunteers and members of the Williamsport Bureau of Fire attend the appointment together. While the fire department installs free smoke detectors in the proper locations, the Red Cross helps the family to create a home fire escape plan. In other communities, Red Cross volunteers handle both the installation and the creation of the escape plan.

“Having working smoke detectors and family escape plans increases your chance of making it to safety should a home fire occur,” noted Red Cross North Central Pennsylvania Chapter Executive Director Tom Szulanczyk. “This partnership with Lycoming-Clinton Head Start and the Williamsport Bureau of Fire will save lives. We are proud to be working together to educate people on the importance of home fire preparedness.”

Pictured Above – Red Cross Disaster Program Manager Steve Leauber and Williamsport Bureau of Fire Inspector Mark Killian address a group of Head Start home visitors during a training held recently in Williamsport.