Friday, February 11, 2011

Dinner with Clara Barton!

We here at the Chapter are blessed to be able to work every day here in the beautiful Clement mansion.  Last night, we invited a few friends over for dinner!  Over drinks and a delicious meal catered by Brodo, guests at the Clement House Supper said goodbye to a long-time member of the team, while welcoming Clara Barton to Buffalo.  Well, sort of, anyway!

After 12 years with the Red Cross, Tracy Sawicki took over as Executive Director of The Peter & Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation last month.  Tracy returned to the Chapter last night, where she was honored for her immeasurable contributions to the Chapter over the years.  In appreciation of her efforts, our Executive Director, Nancy Blaschak, presented Tracy with a gorgeous portrait of the Clement Mansion painted by local artist Doreen Deboth.  Tracy is greatly missed here at the Chapter, but now she can have a reminder of her years here hanging on the wall in her new office!

As we said goodbye to Tracy, we also introduced the Clara Barton Society.  Named for the founder of the Red Cross, the Clara Barton Society honors individuals and families who generously donate $1,000 or more to Chapter's annual fund every year to support the lifesaving mission of the Red Cross.  Last night, the founding members of the Clara Barton Society were recognized and presented with a pin, a small token of our thanks for helping us serve the Western New York community.  To learn more about the Clara Barton Society and how you can become a member, contact Jerilyn J. Hickey at (716) 878-2383 or

As a relatively new member of the Chapter team, the highlight of the night for me was hearing long-time staff members share their stories of the Red Cross.  Nancy shared several stories, including one about some flash flooding in the town of Derby.  She was doing some grocery shopping with her family when the Red Cross was asked to open a shelter for people who had been forced out of their homes by the rising waters.  Nancy was close by, so she got to the location before our Disaster Action Team volunteers.  Several people had already come at the shelter, looking for help and nervously wondering what to do next.  When Nancy and her family walked in, one of the emergency personnel on hand recognized her and said, "The Red Cross is here!  Everything's going to be OK!"  Even though no food or emergency supplies were available yet, just hearing that the Red Cross was helping was enough to calm the nerves of the people who needed comfort.

It's stories like this that make me feel honored to be even a small part of this amazing organization!  Please take a moment to send your Red Cross Moment to  I look forward to hearing what the Red Cross means to you!

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