Friday, January 18, 2013

Sandy thanks

Pete Swales (Center) with fellow Disaster Assessment team
members during one of his prior deployments to assist in
the Sandy relief efforts
On Sunday, volunteer Pete Swales of Springville will leave to help the Red Cross relief and recovery efforts in the areas hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy for a third time. Pete is the fourth Western New Yorker to do three deployments since the storm hit in late October, and is one of 47 people from this region who has volunteered their time and talents to help our neighbors devastated by Sandy.

Trust me, it is a sacrifice to pack up and leave your life, your family and friends, for weeks at a time to help people you've never met. And the work itself isn't always easy. So why do they do it? Because it can be extremely rewarding. Not sure what I mean? Check out just some of the notes of thanks the Red Cross has received from those who have received the assistance of people like Pete and the other 16,500+ volunteers from across the country who make our efforts possible:

Subject: Thank you

I have to thank the Red Cross. I live in Staten Island and was affected by Hurricane Sandy. There are many people here who were affected worse than me. But to see the Red Cross coming to my block to serve us food day after day brought tears to my eyes. We were without power for twelve days. We had to throw out a lot of food. We just received power last night but haven't had a chance to go food shopping yet. Whenever I heard the siren of the Red Cross truck I knew I was getting my hot meal. You have been here since a day or so after the storm and have fed many people who needed you. God bless you and your organization. Now I must get back to my nice hot meal that was just given to me from your truck.
Staten Island, New York 10312

Subject: Thank you

Sincere thanks to the Red Cross people from Kansas who were driving through Beach Haven, NJ today providing hot lunches to homeowners assessing damage and starting clean-up from Hurricane Sandy. Your support is greatly appreciated as well as uplifting during a very difficult time.  00156078
Whitehouse Station, New Jersey 08889

Subject: Thank you

I would like to thank all the red cross volunteers for all the help they provided me with at the Toms River shelter, and in the Monmouth Racetrack outside and inside, they helped me so much and I can't say enough thankyou's  They are all wonderful people and it made the tough time I went through much better!  Thanks to all involved!!!!!!!!!!!!  

Michelle Point Pleasant  Beach, New Jersey 08742

Subject: Thank you

I have recently returned from helping family in New York post-Sandy and wanted to write to say how helpful, compassionate, and intelligent your organization proved to me to be seeing them in action while in Queens, NY during the aftermath of this storm and the Nor'easter that followed it. I was so impressed and I witnessed this first-hand time after time. Thank you so much.
Venice, California 90291


Subject: Thank you

Thank you for the food at 555 shore drive oakdale ny 11769.
We were hungry.

scott barden
oakdale, New York 11769

Subject: Thank you

Thank you for all you have done for those who have suffered so much devastation in New Jersey.  Keep up the great work!  I am encouraging friends and family to give donations to the American Red Cross instead of exchanging Christmas gifts this year.
Neptune, New Jersey 07753


Subject: Thank you

To whom it may concern,

I would like to so THANK YOU and HAPPY THANKSGIVING for all of those who came to help us. Not only today but through those last three weeks... it is a huge help...especially for those who have children like myself... and those who are disables like my friends.... we want to say THANK YOU for being here for us ROCKAWAY RESIDENTS!
Rockaway Park, New York 11694


Subject: Thank you

Dear Red Cross

We were TRULY BLESSED to have members of your amazing organization provide us with food, water, blankets, snacks, but as important was the HOPE they inspired and delivered in our time of need. I was a contact person here at the 10 Pavilion Avenue location, and I was elected to serve as President of out Tenant's Association.

During this very chaotic time, I was so absorbed with getting the supplies brought to us, with such kindness and caring effort, that I never got to even write down the names of those "Red Cross Volunteer ANGELS," that came to our building, day after day making sure we had the necessities to keep moving forward with great HOPE, and that those days would surely pass. I know I signed a release form when they started taking some pictures, and I am hoping to get copies, IF possible, that we NEVER FORGET,, who came to us in our time of helplessness and incredible need.

These wonderful people were even concerned enough to take care of another senior building about 2 blocks from our building, for they did NOT EVEN have any power at all. Their generator had failed and broke down. Your superfluous staff went and made sure that all of the residents there, WERE ALSO cared for and attended to. We have been doing our best to advise everyone EXACTLY how important the RED CROSS is to everyone throughout the world, and not just in our location. May God Bless these incredible people and keep them safe, and hopefully you may be able to look into you database, so that we can send them our personal thanks, and appreciation. Again in closing, GOD BLESS THE RED CROSS, THE WORLD'S REAL HEROES, Amen!  

Long Branch, New Jersey 07740

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Executive Director Nancy Blaschak to Manage Sandy Recovery Project

46 WNY volunteers and staff members have deployed to assist relief efforts

Nancy Blaschak, Executive Director
of the American Red Cross, Serving
Erie & Niagara Counties
BUFFALO, NY, January 15, 2013 – Nancy Blaschak, Executive Director of the American Red Cross, Serving Erie & Niagara Counties, has been asked to manage the Superstorm Sandy recovery efforts of the Red Cross in New York City and Long Island. Blaschak will be leaving on Wednesday, and is planning on spending the next several weeks working out of the operational headquarters in Manhattan.

“The focus is now turning toward long term recovery, getting people impacted by Sandy into permanent housing and making necessary home repairs,” Blaschak said. “We have a great team here, so I have no worries leaving for a while to help out downstate. The Western New York Region couldn’t be in better hands.”

Blaschak is the 46th person from the eight-county Western New York region who has deployed to assist in the Red Cross relief efforts since Sandy devastated the East Coast in late October. Nine volunteers have returned for multiple assignments since the operation began.
Even as the Red Cross continues to provide food, comfort and assistance to thousands of people impacted by Sandy, the organization is working with government partners and other nonprofits as part of a comprehensive response to help Sandy survivors recover. This assistance could include assistance with home repairs, rent or utility deposits; helping fill out paperwork for insurance claims; and connecting people with social service and other programs for Sandy recovery.  For more information regarding the Red Cross response to Sandy, please visit

Monday, January 14, 2013

Keep the doctor away!

I was not here last Monday. Or Tuesday. A week ago Sunday, I literally couldn't move off the couch for about seven hours, and only showed slightly more life those next two days. I couldn't eat, my entire body ached. It was not a pleasant experience. And clearly, I'm not alone in getting sick this winter!

Some of the flu tips available through
our FREE first aid app
Widespread flu activity is being reported across much of the country and the American Red Cross urges people who have not yet gotten a flu vaccine to get vaccinated now. Trust me, I wish I had gotten mine! In addition, the Red Cross has steps people can take to prevent the spread of the flu virus during what the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says is the worst influenza outbreak in several years in the United StatesYou can access many of those tips any time on your iPhone or Android device by downloading our FREE First Aid app. Take from my first-hand experience--you'll want to do whatever you can to avoid getting this flu virus!

The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone six months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting someone against flu viruses. In addition to getting vaccinated, the Red Cross has some simple steps people can take to help prevent the spread of the flu virus. Parents can also practice these things with their kids to help keep them well:

·         Cover the nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, and throw the tissue away after use. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into the elbow, not the hands.
·         Wash hands often, especially after coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand-rub.
·         Avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth.
·         Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
·         Stay home if sick. 

If someone in the household does come down with the flu, the Red Cross wants everyone to know the best way to care for them:

·         Designate one person as the caregiver and have the other household members avoid close contact with that person so they won’t become sick.
·         Make sure the person stays at home and rests until 24 hours after the fever is gone.
·         Designate a sick room for the person if possible. If there is more than one sick person, they can share the sick room if needed. If there is more than one bathroom, designate one for those who are sick to use. Give each sick person their own drinking glass, washcloth and towel.
·         Keep the following either in the sick room or near the person: tissues, a trash can lined with a plastic trash bag, alcohol-based hand rub, a cooler or pitcher with ice and drinks, a thermometer and a cup with straw or squeeze bottle to help with drinking. A humidifier will provide extra moisture, making it easier for the sick person to breathe. Sick people should wear a facemask, if available, when they leave the sick room or are around others.
·         Give plenty of liquids (water and other clear liquids) at the first sign of flu and continue throughout the illness. People with the flu need to drink extra fluids to keep from getting dehydrated.
·         Treat fever and cough with medicines that can be purchased at the store. Remember, when children are ill they should never be given aspirin or products containing aspirin - especially with the flu.
·         If the person gets very sick, is pregnant or has a medical condition (like asthma) that puts them at higher risk of flu complications, call their doctor. They may need to be examined and might need antiviral medicine to treat the flu.
·         Keep everyone’s personal items separate. All household members should avoid sharing pens, papers, clothes, towels, sheets, blankets, food or eating utensils unless cleaned between uses.
·         Disinfect doorknobs, switches, handles, computers, telephones, bedside tables, bathroom sinks, toilets, counters, toys and other surfaces that are commonly touched around the home or workplace.
·         Wash everyone’s dishes in the dishwasher or by hand using very hot water and soap.
·         Wash everyone’s clothes in a standard washing machine. Use detergent and very hot water, tumble dry on a hot dryer setting and wash hands after handling dirty laundry.
·         Wear disposable gloves when in contact with or cleaning up body fluids. 

More information about how to help protect loved ones during this flu season is available on