Thursday, February 14, 2013

Red Cross Responds to Five Fires in Niagara County

Volunteers provided shelter, food, clothing & support to 16 people since Feb 1

BUFFALO, NY, February 14, 2013 – The American Red Cross, Serving Erie & Niagara Counties has responded to five separate fires in Niagara County since February 1. Volunteers from the Disaster Action Team (DAT) provided immediate emergency assistance to 16 people affected by these incidents.

In the early morning hours of Friday, February 1, the Red Cross was called to assist seven people displaced by a fire at an apartment complex on Lafayette Avenue in Niagara Falls. On Saturday, February 9, volunteers assisted a single mom and her child following a fire on Pound Street in Lockport. On Tuesday, DAT members responded to an apartment fire on State Street in Middleport, assisting two adults from separate units. Wednesday, two adults and one child received assistance after a fire on Niagara Street in Niagara Falls, and Thursday our volunteers responded to a call to assist two adults following a fire on Mapleton Road in Pendleton.

Red Cross assistance typically includes vouchers for temporary housing, food and clothing, as well as providing emotional support for those displaced by the fire. The affected families then meet with caseworkers in the days following their respective disasters to work out a longer-term recovery plan.

The Disaster Action Team is a group of specially trained volunteers who respond to the scene of a local disaster when called upon 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. For more information on becoming Disaster Action Team member, please call (716) 878-2140 or visit

The American Red Cross, Serving Erie & Niagara Counties spends an average of just over $1,000 when responding to a single house fire affecting a family of four.  To make a financial donation to help families such as these affected by house fires and other, please visit, call 1-800-REDCROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to charge a $10 donation to your cell phone bill.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Thanks and good luck, "Senator!"

It's not every morning that my daily media search for Red Cross mentions leads me to the sports section. So I was a little surprised this morning that entering "Red Cross" into the Buffalo News search engine led me to the article on the Buffalo Bills releasing Nick Barnett and George Wilson. But I shouldn't have been.

First, some quick background. In my previous career as a television sports producer, we called George Wilson "The Senator" because of his speaking skills. The safety was always one of our "go-to guys" in the Bills locker room because we know he would always answer our questions thoughtfully and respectfully. There are a number of sports reporters and broadcasters in Western New York whose jobs got a little more difficult now that Wilson is gone.

Former Bills safety George Wilson with Communications
Coordinator Jay Bonafede at Ralph Wilson Stadium
blood drive in December
But the media aren't the only people in town that will miss George Wilson. As the article above points out, he was named the team's Walter Payton Man of the Year twice for his work in the community. That work included serving as a spokesman for Red Cross blood drives at Ralph Wilson Stadium. I spoke with him at the drive in December, which brought in over 350 units of blood, and he could not have been more gracious.

Change is constant in the world of sports, and new players will come in to fill these spots on the Bills roster. But George Wilson (and Nick Barnett, whom we never dealt with but by all accounts is also a great guy) will be missed here in Western New York. We thank you for all you've done, and wish you luck in the future!