Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Royer’s Collects Holiday Mail for Heroes

Over the past several weeks, Royer’s Flowers and Gifts collected thousands of cards and beautifully colored holiday images from customers and community groups as part of the Red Cross’ Holiday Mail for Heroes Program. Dena Eberhart (l), Royer’s Human Resources Manager, is shown here with Kathy Doran (r), Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces Regional Program Manager, with some of the collected cards and pictures.

Red Cross volunteers will distribute these cards, plus those collected from other area community organizations, to military personnel across the 22 counties served by the Red Cross Central Pennsylvania Region.

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 American Civil War. Since then, American Red Cross staff and volunteers 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 members of the United States Armed Forces, their families, and our veterans.

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.

Monday, September 21, 2015

State Troopers Receive Lifesaving Awards

Pennsylvania State Police Rockview Criminal Investigator Trooper Brian Wakefield and Trooper Trevor Danko were presented with The American Red Cross Lifesaving Award during a special ceremony held at the State Police Barracks at Rockview in State College on Monday, September 21, 2015.

They earned their awards for their quick-thinking and quick-action during an investigation into a reported natural death at a home in Brenner Township this past June.

While removing the body from the residence, area funeral director Mark Heintzelman became short of breath and incoherent before slipping into unconsciousness. Both troopers were already springing into action to assist Heintzelman when he stopped breathing and lost his pulse. Without hesitation, the troopers administered CPR until an EMS crew arrived to transport Heintzelman, who has since made a full recovery, to Mount Nittany Medical Center.

By providing lifesaving CPR to Heintzelman at the first sign of his distress, Troopers Wakefield and Danko played a pivotal role in the man’s ultimate survival. Congratulations on receiving your awards, and thank you for your service and commitment to the community.

Pictured Above l-r: Red Cross Training Specialist Kelly Schaeffer with Trooper Trevor Danko, Criminal Investigator Trooper Brian Wakefield, and the person they saved, Mark Heintzelman.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Red Cross Partners with CommunityAid in Lancaster

The American Red Cross is proud to strengthen its partnership with CommunityAid as they prepare to open their newest facility in East Hempfield Township, Lancaster County. The thrift store, which is set to open on Wednesday, November 18, will help CommunityAid meet its primary purpose of raising funds for distribution to local schools, churches, synagogues, temples, and other nonprofit charitable organizations.

Over the past two years, the Red Cross has been the beneficiary of close to $200,000 in grants from CommunityAid, money that represents the proceeds from donated items sold at their area thrift stores.

“We are extremely proud to be a CommunityAid partner and are grateful for the opportunity to stand with them as they expand their presence in Lancaster County,” noted Red Cross Central Pennsylvania Regional CEO Ellen Kyzer. “We know this newest location will be a great success and a great asset in their ability to affect positive change on even more people in our community.”

The Red Cross was one of three area nonprofit partners present as CommunityAid offered tours of its Lancaster County store on Thursday, September 17, 2015. Glenn Chandler, CommunityAid Founder and CEO, used the opportunity to present grant checks to the partners, including a $10,000 gift to the Red Cross.

Kyzer added, “We are thankful for the impact CommunityAid has had on our ability to serve people whose lives have been touched by area disasters. Their generosity and support can be seen in the faces of the adults and children we serve day-in and day-out.”

Pictured Above - Red Cross Central Pennsylvania Region Chief Development Officer Barb Taylor at the presentation of the CommunityAid grant award.

Pictured Below Top - Representatives from the Red Cross, Water Street Mission, and the ARC of Lancaster County join with CommunityAid to celebrate the November opening of the new thrift store.

Pictured Below Bottom - CommunityAid Founder and CEO Glenn Chandler addresses the group at today's gathering in Lancaster County.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Red Cross Launches Hero Care Network

Last week, The American Red Cross launched a new online option to give military families more flexibility and expanded access to help during times of crisis. This online service is being made available following input received from military families.

More specifically, this new feature enables military families to:
  • securely initiate a request for Red Cross emergency messages from computers, tablets or smartphones.
  • use the online option from anywhere in the world 7 days/week, 24 hours/ day, 365 days/ year (same as with the toll-free number).
  • to monitor the message status as it goes through the verification and delivery process.

Military families needing to initiate a message can still do so via the toll-free number (877-272-7337). Or, they can do so through the new Hero Care Network online portal, which can be accessed by visiting redcross.org/HeroCareNetwork.

The Geneva Conventions and International Humanitarian Law

Thanks to money received from a special grant, Red Cross Mid-Central Pennsylvania Chapter Executive Director Stephanie Fost, along with Red Cross intern Kristen Garrity, participated in a special workshop focusing on the Geneva Conventions and International Humanitarian Law in Syracuse, New York, on Wednesday through Friday, September 9-11, 2015.

International Humanitarian Law (IHL), which includes the Geneva Conventions, is at the core of the global Red Cross network. For more than 20 years, the American Red Cross has promoted IHL through chapter-based courses aimed at building a public understanding of the rules governing armed conflict and war in order to protect human life and dignity in the worst of circumstances. 

This train-the-trainer style workshop introduced Exploring Humanitarian Law, a Red Cross program designed to fit seamlessly into a wide-variety of secondary and post-secondary courses, including history, international studies, political science, human rights, peace/conflict studies, anthropology, psychology/sociology, pre-law, military science, and security studies. Engaging primary source materials, including news accounts, photos, videos, letters, and hands-on activities, work together to connect students with current events. Students who participate benefit by improving their analytical skills as they explore different perspectives on the rules of conflict, the effect war has on human life and human dignity, and their personal connections to it.

Fost and Garrity returned from the experience energized and eager to share what they learned with the rest of their colleagues. Their hope is to be able to promote to area educators the program and its high-quality lesson plans and primary source materials.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Red Cross Canvasses Harrisburg Community

Two hundred American Red Cross and United Way of the Capital Region Day of Caring volunteers joined forces with the Harrisburg Bureau of Fire to install roughly 550 smoke detectors and educate area residents on the importance of home fire preparedness during a special event held on Friday, September 11, 2015.

“Seven times each day someone dies in a home fire,” noted Red Cross Board Chair Karen Deklinski during her opening remarks at Harrisburg Fire Station #2. “When a fire occurs, you have two minutes to safely evacuate your home. Having working smoke detectors and family escape plans that are learned and practiced can greatly increase your chance of making it to safety should a home fire occur.

“The Red Cross is excited to be partnering with the United Way of the Capital Region and the Harrisburg Bureau of Fire in our effort to educate residents on the importance of home fire safety. It’s great to see so many volunteers working together in the community to help us reach our goal of reducing the number of home fire injuries and fatalities by 25%.”

She went on to thank UGI, PinnacleHealth, Phoenix Contact, and the entire Harrisburg Bureau of Fire for their support of the event.

She concluded with a special thanks to the Red Cross volunteers “who are here today, and who are out in the community 24-hours per day, 365-days per year, helping people whenever and wherever needed.”

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UGI Donates $100,000 to Red Cross

As 200 volunteers gathered in Harrisburg to take part in a Home Fire Preparedness Campaign Event on Friday, September 11, 2015, UGI presented the Red Cross with a donation of $100,000 to be used in its efforts to reduce the number of home fire injuries and fatalities by 25% over the next five years.

The event started with a moment of silence to recognize the people who lost their lives in the September 2001 terrorist attack. A brief speaking presentation that featured comments from the Red Cross, UGI, and State Senator Rob Teplitz followed, before the group started their day of service that was part of the United Way of the Capital Region Day of Caring.

“Safety is a priority for UGI,” noted Paul Szykman, UGI Vice President of Rates and Government Affairs. “We are pleased to support, both financially and with our employee volunteers, The American Red Cross Fire Prevention and Awareness Program which focuses on preventing home fires, which take such a toll across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

Karen Deklinksi, Red Cross Central Pennsylvania Board Chair added, “UGI’s commitment and dedication to the Red Cross allows us to serve families throughout Central Pennsylvania, and we are extremely thankful for their partnership.”

Senator Teplitz concluded the special check presentation by making a special point to thank all those gathered for volunteering their time to make the community safer by participating in the fire safety event.

Pictured above (l-r) - Brian Enterline (Harrisburg Bureau of Fire Chief), Paul Szykman (UGI Vice President of Rates and Government Affairs), Ellen Kyzer (Red Cross Central Pennsylvania Region CEO), Karen Deklinski (Red Cross Central Pennsylvania Board Chair), and Rob Teplitz (Pennsylvania State Senator).

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Chambersburg Fire Safety Event

Close to 20 people from the Red Cross, Chambersburg Fire Department, and Bopic, Inc. came together in Chambersburg as part of the Red Cross’ effort to reduce the number of fire injuries and fatalities by 25% on Tuesday, August 25, 2015. Working in teams the group canvassed the community, installing close to 150 smoke detectors and educating the residents on the importance of fire preparedness.

Friday, August 14, 2015

PACB Donates $74,000 to The American Red Cross

Members of the Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers (PACB) Executive Committee presented The American Red Cross with a check for just under $74,000 during a special presentation at the Red Cross Office in Harrisburg on Thursday, August 13, 2015. The donation, which will be used to support Red Cross disaster services in Pennsylvania, came from a fund originally intended to provide relief for Johnstown Flood victims. After years of inactivity on the account, PACB decided to broaden the scope of this investment to help current disaster victims and made the gift in support of our efforts in the community.

“The community banking industry in Pennsylvania cares deeply about the communities we serve. The dollars that make up today's contribution were raised in the wake of a devastating flood. This money was raised to serve people in Pennsylvania who are impacted by disaster. Clearly, the American Red Cross is the organization best positioned to help people and communities when disaster strikes. We are happy to come alongside of the Red Cross to advance our common mission,” noted Nick DiFrancesco, President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers.

Following the formal presentation to Red Cross board members and staff, the group had the opportunity to tour one of the Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles and learn more about how their gift will impact Red Cross services in the 22 counties served by the Central Pennsylvania Region.

“Last fiscal year, the Red Cross assisted close to 800 families – just under 4,000 individuals – who experienced personal disasters throughout our region,” stated Red Cross Board Chair Karen Deklinski. “Since all disaster services are provided free of charge to our clients, we rely on the financial support of individuals and our corporate partners to provide us with the resources necessary to help families and communities in times of crisis. This extremely generous donation will have a huge impact on our ability to fulfill our mission.”

Pictured above (l-r): Red Cross board member Bud Bollinger, Red Cross Regional CEO Ellen Kyzer, Red Cross board member Paul LeVan, PACB President and CEO Nick DiFrancesco, Red Cross board member Adam Long, Red Cross board Chair Karen Deklinski, Red Cross Regional Disaster Services Officer Chris Weidenhammer, and PACB Executive Committee members Terry Foster (Executive Vice President and CEO of MCS Bank, Lewistown), Dennis Cirucci (President and CEO Alliance Bank, Broomall), and Fred Henrich (President CSBank, Coatesville).

Pictured below (l-r): Chris Weidenhammer, Nick DiFrancesco, Terry Foster, Ellen Kyzer, Karen Deklinski, Dennis Cirucci, and Fred Henrich.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Red Cross Installs Smoke Detectors in Columbia

Close to 20 volunteers, including members of the Columbia consolidated Fire Company and employees from York SERVPRO, came together to install smoke detectors and educate residents on the importance of fire preparedness during an event held in Columbia (Lancaster County) on Saturday, August 8, 2015. The free smoke detectors are part of the Red Cross’ effort to reduce the number of fire injuries and fatalities by 25% over a five-year period.

“Fire is the biggest disaster threat to American families—not floods, hurricanes or tornadoes,” noted Chris Doty, Red Cross Disaster Program Specialist. “When a fire occurs, you have two minutes to safely evacuate your home. By working with the local fire department to target at-risk communities, we are able to provide free smoke detectors and other potentially life-saving fire safety information that can give people a fighting chance should they ever find themselves in a home fire situation.”

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Red Cross Canvasses Bellefonte Community

Members of the Kish Community Action Team joined with other Red Cross staff and volunteers to participate in a Fire Preparedness event held in Bellefonte on Saturday, August 1, 2015. Close to 30 people canvassed the community, going door-to-door to install free smoke detectors to those who needed them, while educating the residents on the importance of fire preparedness. This event, which was made possible in part by the generosity of Ben Franklin Technology Partners, was part of the Red Cross’ effort to reduce the number of fire injuries and fatalities by 25% over a five year period.

“Right here in Centre County we remember three Bellefonte structures that have been devastated by fires in the past - the DoDe, Garman Theater, and Bush House,” noted Red Cross Mid State Executive Director Stephanie Fost. “Today, the Red Cross wants to try to change that story with our Home Fire Preparedness Campaign. Walking door-to-door with our friends and neighbors, we’re probably smiling because of the time spent together, but we also know that we might save another historic structure or, more importantly, a life. That is the best way the Red Cross can make a difference in our communities.”

St. John's Church on East Bishop Street graciously permitted the Red Cross to use their parking lot as a staging area and allowed the group to borrow their tables and chairs for pre and post event activities. Thank you to the people of St. John's, the volunteers, and all the residents who allowed us access to their homes. Due to the hard work of many, the Red Cross was able to install roughly 100 smoke detectors in under four hours.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Adams Electric Supports Local Heroes

Adams Electric Cooperative CEO and General Manager Steve Rasmussen (pictured right) presented American Red Cross South Central Pennsylvania Community Volunteer Leader Nikki Shariat and Executive Director Matt Leininger with two checks totaling $10,000 on Monday, July 27, 2015. The money donated is in support of the South Central Red Cross’ Heroes Program, which recognizes local individuals for their heroic and selfless acts performed in either Adams, Franklin, Fulton or York Counties.

“We are pleased to support the American Red Cross and its efforts to recognize those dedicated individuals who go above and beyond in service of those in need,” stated Rasmussen. “The Red Cross and Adams Electric support a mission of improving the lives of those who live in the communities we both serve.”

The generous donation included a matching gift from CoBank, a cooperative bank that operates an annual “Sharing Success” matching donation program with its client electric cooperatives.

Adams Electric will also be working to help reduce the number of fire injuries and fatalities in the area by partnering with the Red Cross in bringing the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign to the local area. Through this joint effort, teams of Red Cross volunteers will canvas communities, installing smoke detectors and delivering fire prevention information to area residents.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Hindu Community Supports Red Cross Relief Effort

The Harrisburg Organization for Hindu Religion and Culture presented a check for $1,453 to the Red Cross to support the earthquake relief effort in Nepal.

“Everyone in our community was watching what was happening to the people of Nepal,” noted Yadu Acharya, Executive Director of the Organization for Hindu Religion and Culture. “When the idea came up to raise money for earthquake relief…we all trusted the Red Cross to make the connection.” 

Pictured - American Red Cross Central Pennsylvania Region Chief Development Officer Barb Taylor (second from left) with l-r: Organization for Hindu Religion and Culture members Madhav Baskota, Yadu Acharya, and Chuda Dahal.

Friday, July 10, 2015

White Rose hosts 5th Annual Golf Tournament

The White Rose Bar & Grill hosted its 5th Annual Golf Tournament in support of The American Red Cross South Central Chapter at the Outdoor Country Club in York on Friday, July 10, 2015. Over 130 golfers took to the links in a best ball scramble format that was played on a perfect summer afternoon. Prior to the start of play, Chapter Board President Patrick Ball thanked the participants for their support of the Red Cross. He also took a moment to recognize White Rose owner and fellow Red Cross board member Tom Sibol for his leadership in the event. Over the course of the past several years, Sibol’s efforts have raised close to $25,000 for the Red Cross.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Red Cross Receives New RAV4 from Bobby Rahal Toyota

The American Red Cross Central Pennsylvania Region received a 2015 Toyota RAV4 from Bobby Rahal Toyota during a special presentation held at the dealership in Mechanicsburg on Tuesday, July 7, 2015. Graciously donated by Bobby Rahal Toyota, the vehicle will now be used as part of the Red Cross’ emergency response operation, which assists thousands of people in the 22 counties served by the Central Pennsylvania Region.

“The Bobby Rahal Automotive Group and owners Pat and Ron Ferris are known for their philanthropic efforts in the community,” stated Red Cross Board Chair Karen Deklinski. “This vehicle is a priceless addition to our fleet and will enable us to better serve our clients in times of need.”

Bobby Rahal Automotive Group President John Rickards was joined by Toyota District Manager Emilio Isidoro-Ortiz in presenting the keys to representatives from the Red Cross. Rickards noted that while the Red Cross might be second responders to a disaster scene behind fire, police and EMS, they are the first responders for the people needing assistance following a disaster.

American Red Cross Central Pennsylvania Regional CEO Ellen Kyzer commented, “Here in Central Pennsylvania, the Red Cross responds to an average of one fire call every day. Over the past year we assisted over 750 families in times of crisis. Thanks to the extreme generosity of Toyota, and specifically the crew at Bobby Rahal Toyota, our ability to reach our clients where they are has been greatly improved.”

Pictured above left to right: American Red Cross Central Pennsylvania Region Chief Development Officer Barb Taylor, Regional CEO Ellen Kyzer, Board Members Bud Bollinger and Angela Leopold, Board Chair Karen Deklinski, Bobby Rahal Automotive Group President John Rickards, and Toyota District Manager Emilio Isidoro-Ortiz.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Red Cross Partners with Penn State for Bleed Blue Campaign

Since 2010, The American Red Cross has partnered with Penn State in offering Bleed Blue, a campaign designed to increase awareness of the constant need for blood and the lives touched by the donations that are collected. Last year alone there were more than 100 Bleed Blue Drives, resulting in over 3,600 units and 525 first time donors.

From August through November, donors are encouraged to attend Bleed Blue Blood Drives that will be held throughout the area. All donors will be entered for a chance to win a pair of tickets to a Penn State home game, which includes special club seating and on-field recognition during the game as a Red Cross Bleed Blue Donor!

The Red Cross Bleed Blue Team (pictured) gathered for an official kick-off event on Tuesday, June 30. Dates and locations of Bleed Blue Drives will be posted once they become available.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Red Cross Receives $25K Grant from CommunityAid

Red Cross Central Pennsylvania Regional CEO Ellen Kyzer (pictured) was presented with a $25K grant check from CommunityAid during a special event held at Colonial Park Mall in Harrisburg on Tuesday, June 16, 2015. CommunityAid awarded over $400,000 to area nonprofits during the event.

“The partners receiving checks today are doing so much good in our communities,” noted Glenn Chandler, CommunityAid Executive Director. “All we ever wanted to do was to help them to do more by removing some of the financial burden.”

The primary purpose of CommunityAid is to raise funds for distribution to local schools, churches, synagogues, temples, and nonprofit charitable organizations. They accomplish this by partnering with area businesses and organizations that agree to host clothing collection bins. Items donated through the bins are sold at one of three area CommunityAid thrift stores, with the proceeds being returned to the community in the form of grants.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Local Girl Scouts Donate Comfort Kits

Girl Scout Troop 10368 in Middletown visited the Harrisburg Red Cross office to drop-off 200 Comfort Kits (100 adult and 100 child) that they had assembled on Saturday, June 20, 2015. They also brought additional items to be used in future kits.

Comfort kits are handed out to individuals and families following all types of disasters and contain items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, washcloths, razors, and deodorant. Children’s kits, depending on the age for whom they were meant, might have diapers, baby lotion, pacifiers, coloring books, and crayons.

“To collect the items the girls did a presentation at our monthly community meeting, asking their sister troops to donate specific items or cash,” commented Marilyn Taylor, the troop’s leader. “We made a flyer that the girls handed out to all of the troop leaders detailing what was needed. The girls then took the flyers home to pass out to friends and family.”

Marilyn noted that one of the girl’s aunts posted the flyer at her place of employment and received two bags full of items and $80 in cash donations to be used on additional items! Another girl created a stand at a family picnic and raised $60.

“Initially, the girls decided to use $200 of their troop’s funds for a shopping trip to purchase some of the items,” Marilyn stated. “When we realized even after receiving a lot of donations from our sister troops and family members that we were still short of what was needed to fulfill our goal, the girls decided to skip their year-end trip and use that money to purchase the rest of the items to complete the kits.”

Before the girls unloaded the kits from their car, Disaster Program Specialist Chris Doty explained how they would be used. He then gave a tour of the emergency response vehicles.

Marilyn concluded, “The Red Cross helped a lot of families in the Middletown area during Tropical Storm Lee in 2011, and the girls wanted to give back to help other families during their time of need. One of our girls said it best when she told me, ‘They help people in need, so we have to help them to help people.’”

Friday, June 19, 2015

Volunteers Help Out in York

Twelve community volunteers visited the Red Cross office in York as part of The United Way’s Day of Action on Friday, June 19, 2015. The group washed five Red Cross vehicles inside and out, wrote and sent thank you cards to recent blood donors, called blood donors to remind them of upcoming blood donation appointments, and sorted and organized items for comfort kits.