Thank You

October 27, 2008

This is the final post for the Hurricane Ike Online Newsroom. While this is the last post, the recovery and relief efforts will continue. We would like to thank the hard working Red Crossers in the field who made this disaster operation, as well as this website, successful. To all those in the affected areas, we wish you a swift and complete recovery.

National media contacts: Please contact (202) 303-5551 for additional public affairs information.

Local media contacts: Please contact your local chapter for additional public affairs information.

For Red Cross assistance or for any other inquiries, please contact 1-800-RED-CROSS.


Postcard from the Field: Eric Sanchez lends an “Amazing” hand

October 27, 2008

Eric Sanchez helps with cot cleanup in Texas

American Red Cross volunteer Debbie Kemp of the Washtenaw County Chapter in Ann Arbor (MI), and Eric Sanchez work together on cleaning and packing up cots that were used in the megashelter in Houston which housed as many as 1,200 Hurricane Ike evacuees. Sanchez, who won the Season 11 “All Star Amazing Race,” and several contestants from the reality television shows “Survivor,” “Big Brother,” and “Amazing Race” were on hand Sunday (October 26) to help with cot cleanup. In times of disaster, the American Red Cross provides food, shelter, disaster health and mental health services, bulk distribution of home and health products, and advocacy and referral services.


Postcard from the Field: American Red Cross Day

October 15, 2008

October 6, 2008 was proclaimed to be American Red Cross Day in Baytown, TX, by Mayor Stephen DonCarlos; in recognition of the “overwhelming acts of kindness and support; and countless hours and dedication” to the Baytown community. This same recognition was awarded to the North Carolina contingent of Southern Baptists.

The super dynamic duo helped get the Baytown kitchen running and serving a record number of meals, with many accolades from clients and staff. The Baytown kitchen had served 671,000 meals as of October 8, 2008. With a combined total of 53 years with Red Cross Disaster Relief, Tony and Tony worked well together from the start and left the operation as good friends.

When presented with the award the men remarked that the award was not for their efforts, but for ALL the people who really made it happen. Describing the nickname given them by their co-workers, “The Dog and Tony Show”, the guys smiled and shook their heads. “Yeah, that’s pretty true – it just depended on which one of us was running the show!”


Postcard from the field: Duane Betz

October 13, 2008

Residents of the Houston/Galveston area have seen the work being done by the Red Cross and they want to help.

Duane Betz, Commodore of the Galveston Bay Cruising Association, stopped by the disaster relief operation headquarters recently to deliver a $1,878 donation that his group raised during a recent sailing race. The race, said Bez, “was a way to help the sailors get a feeling of a return to normalcy and to benefit all affected by the storm.”

During his visit to the relief operation headquarters, Glen Lockwood, job director, thanked Bez for the group’s efforts and provided a tour of the site.


Postcard from the Field: Josephine Smith, Client and Volunteer

October 10, 2008

The lovely lady in the hat you see assisting with mobile feeding operations is Josephine Smith, 83 years young. Josephine was born in Chambers County, Texas and has called Anahuac her home for more than 82 years.

Hurricane Ike brought Josephine to the Red Cross as a client, and she soon became a volunteer. “I have lived in Chambers County my whole life; I know ALL these people, I just had to help my friends.” Josephine feels blessed to have survived and to be able to give back.


Postcard from the Field: Saundra Romero, Volunteer

October 6, 2008

Saundra Romero, a Red Cross volunteer from the Oregon Pacific Chapter, appreciates how her co-workers pitch in and support her efforts. She wanted to help with this year’s hurricane response needs and only had one week of vacation at the time. Her co-workers at UMPQUA, a community development corporation, pitched in and through their generous donations, Saundra, received an extra 40 hours of vacation time.

“I think it’s wonderful that they stand behind me, especially since I’m their only tech person. This gives them an opportunity to support the Red Cross through me.”   Based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana at the Red Cross disaster relief headquarters, Saundra provides computer and phone support for other workers.

Saundra’s extended community has supported her in the past too. In 2005, the community of Roseburg, Oregon, came together and raised five weeks pay to support Saundra while she volunteered to assist victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.


Postcard from the Field: Rita Underwood, American Red Cross Volunteer

September 30, 2008

Rita Underwood

Rita Underwood from Wichita Falls, TX, has been a volunteer with the American Red Cross for the past 20 years. She is currently assisting victims of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in Louisiana. Rita said, “It never hits home until it’s one of your own. The Red Cross was there for me and my family 54 years ago when our family home burned down; 50 years ago when our next family home was hit by a tornado; and again 20 years ago when my son needed blood to save his life. I am just so proud to be a volunteer.”

In her spare time, Rita sings the National Anthem at sporting events.