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Spend Some Summer R&R with the Red Cross

Summer vacation may sound relaxing, but between packing for your trip to the beach and organizing barbecues, some of us might need a break from our summer break.

What’s the solution? It’s as simple as choosing your day. Make an appointment, kick back in a comfy chair, roll up a sleeve and donate blood. It’s a great activity (sunnies and beach towel optional) to add to your summer plans. The entire process takes about an hour; the actual blood donation takes about eight to 10 minutes. It’s perfect to fit in some much needed R&R (rest and relaxation)!

Giving blood isn’t just an appointment. It’s an activity that helps saves lives, which can easily fit before heading to the pool or grabbing ice cream. In fact, all eligible donors are encouraged to make and keep donation appointments to help maintain the summer blood supply and prevent a shortage.

Get an idea of what we mean with a peek at two Red Crossers giving blood in full summer regalia.

Reporting for Duty: A Retired Army Colonel at the Red Cross

Col Ben old photo

In October of 2010, Retired Colonel Benjamin F. Robinson retired from a second career in civil service. The following week, Robinson walked through the front doors of the American Red Cross and said he was ready to volunteer. No time for relaxing – he had work to do.

“There was no way I could sit at home and watch As the World Turns. I always said if I had the opportunity to pay back the Red Cross, I would,” Robinson said.

col ben closeup

For four years now, Robinson has been volunteering three days a week with the Red Cross Service to Armed Forces, answering those very calls. While he describes it as an intense learning program, he is intrigued by the daily efforts of the surrounding staff and volunteers.

Read the details of how Col. Ben first encountered the Red Cross during his mother’s illness, how he worked with the Red Cross during his time in Vietnam and more with the full scoop on redcross.org.

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I Think The Onion Has a Crush On Us…

I’m a huge fan of The Onion – it’s a great place to get some fake news and a giggle or two. However, I have recently noticed a growing trend of Red Cross specific articles…

Allow me to present the following evidence showing that The Onion may in fact, have a not-so-secret crush on the Red Cross:

1) STUDY: Nearly Half of Americans Can’t Swim

The article was based on the results from our Swimming Survey

swim

2) Then they published an article about Beach Safety Tips

Curious, we think they must have LOVED reading our own beach safety tips and decided to add a few of their own? Or maybe they were inspired by our aquatics program founder, Commodore Longfellow – aka “The Amiable Whale” (we’re sure inspired by this guy!).

longfellow

3) Apparently the best Lifeguards out there are named Blake and Kayla


Nation’s Blakes Cruise Easily Through Lifeguard Tryouts

Now, their latest piece of Red Cross love – that is actually a good reminder that we should all give blood during the summer.

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So thank you, The Onion, we love you right back – even though your love for us is a little weird.

Capturing the Hearts of American Teens with International Humanitarian Law

I think I may be turning into an IHL nerd (Does that exist? Like a band nerd?). I just got an e-book copy of the Geneva conventions.

Soren, IHL Action Campaign Participant and New Roots Charter School Student via Facebook

In a world of ever-decreasing attention spans and instant connectivity, it takes something special to capture the hearts and minds of American teenagers and young adults. But getting them captivated about international humanitarian law? For three whole days? That’s really special.

Launched in 2013 by the American Red Cross, the IHL Action Campaign gets young people (ages 14–24) to learn about international humanitarian law by creating peer education campaigns to raise awareness about the rules of war. Focusing on the topics of child soldiers and international justice, this year’s campaign saw 26 teams of high school and college students—supported by eight different Red Cross Chapters—participate in the program. The top six teams went on to Washington, D.C. for the IHL Youth Leadership Summit where students presented their projects, developed their leadership skills, and increased their knowledge about international issues related to IHL.

Here’s just a few things that the students said after a whirlwind three-day experience that included simulation activities, panel discussions, and a powerful keynote by South Sudanese refugee, Deng Abiel.

“From thought provoking questions on gender, to the wonderful Deng Abiel discussing his life as a resettled refugee in the United States, to the panel on refugee organizations, the guest speakers reminded us all why we are here. We are active in IHL for our communities, the communities far away from us, and most importantly, humanity. Humanity is a very abstract word, and yet, this is such a great medium to be able to remind us and others that in spite of our differences, we are all human, and deserve identity, dignity, and security.”

-Joshua, Bradley University, Central Illinois Regional Chapter

Watch the video about Bradley University’s campaign here.

“I learned that there are so many ways to communicate an idea to people, and affect them in such a way that they are interested in learning more and finding a way to be active for a particular cause…The goal for all of these incredible campaigns is to not only make a difference, but to get other people to care and want to do something too. It is awesome to be able to get more people in the Orange County, CA community involved and interested in topics that are important to reflect upon.“

-Daniella, Oxford Academy, Orange County Chapter

How Do You Prepare for Hurricanes…in Haiti?

You might know how to prepare for a hurricane in the United States, but have you ever wondered how countries like Haiti prepare?

The 2014 hurricane season is here, and with the help of the American Red Cross, Haitians are cleaning ravines to prevent flooding, discussing evacuation routes, and testing their storm sirens.

The people in the neighborhood of Carrefour Feuilles help give a glimpse into the preparation details.Haiti hurricane flag

Joel Wilson Raphael, a resident of Carrefour Feuilles, was trained by the Red Cross to warn his neighbors about incoming weather. Using flags and sirens provided by the Red Cross, Joel and other volunteers take charge of sounding the alarms – which lets people know when severe weather is on the way.

Discover more unique preparations in Carrefour Feuilles on redcross.org.

A Unique Piece of History: Clara Barton’s Trunk Bed

Clara Barton’s inspiration for starting the America Red Cross was cultivated while caring for the sick and wounded on Civil War battlefields. As a unique artifact from her time behind the lines goes on display, it’s a great reminder to appreciate stories told through any medium – whether it’s on paper, through a photograph or even a foldaway bed.

Bed unfolded sideways

WHY THIS BED? Barton was determined to carry out the work she saw as necessary to help get supplies and medical care to the Civil War battlefields – so determined that she convinced the government and the Army to give her passes to go behind military lines.

According to Red Cross records, Barton’s situation led to an order to a firm in Philadelphia for a trunk bed, to be acquired by Barton for her use in battlefield relief.

CONSTRUCTION AND HISTORY Also called a camp bed, the piece is constructed to fold into a traveling trunk, complete with a wooden frame and tooled leather. To use the bed, Barton would have opened up the trunk into three sections – hinged on the short sides of the trunk as it opens – to reveal heavy canvas attached to the frame with nails.

Through conservation work on the bed in 2004, a sealed compartment was accessed to reveal slender poles that attached to the bed, and bright blue mosquito netting used as a canopy for additional protection.

sideview bed bluenetting

 

THE MOVE While Barton was not a trained nurse, she provided medical care for the wounded during the Civil War. Therefore, the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, Maryland is a fitting location to display the bed in one of their galleries as part of a loan agreement with the Red Cross. This is the same museum that manages the Office for Missing Soldiers, an effort Barton started and ran out of the third floor of a building in Washington, D.C. after the Civil War ended.

  • Read more about Barton’s story and the bed on redcross.org.
  • Watch the move from the Red Cross to the museum on the Red Cross YouTube channel.
  • Stay tuned to the National Museum of Civil War Medicine to find out when the bed goes on display.

 

Fourth of July Throwback: Service to the Armed Forces

This Fourth of July, we remember and commemorate all of the service members who sacrificed their comfort and freedom in order to serve our country. The American Red Cross has been a vital part of this story for more than 130 years – providing comfort and care for the wounded, ill and injured, but also ensuring military families stay connected during times of emergency.

Find out more about the Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) today, and see the full slideshow of photos from SAF activities then and now on redcross.org.

Here’s a sneak peek:

line for food

WWI. France. Helen Parker of Washington, DC and Helen Ruff of St. Paul, MN are the Red Cross Recreation workers.

hospital

1917. Haute Marne, France. General view of Ward 1, Base Hospital No. 52, shows Capt. Frank Bird, dressing patient, nurses Miss L. Rodskapp, Miss Margaret Dell, and Miss Ruth Edmunds.

shuffleboard

November 1969. Tuy Hoa, Vietnam. “Airman 1st Class Ronald Ness, 507 Brookside Avenue, North Augusta, South Carolina, tries his hand at shuffleboard in Red Cross recreation room at the Tuy Hoa Air Force Base.

Rec Hut replacement

American Red Cross Recreation Hut near Paris.

looking at bombers

1944. Italy. With the US Army Air Forces. Their eyes are turned upward as they watch returning bombers circle the landing field.

One World [Cup], One Red Cross

2014 One World Soccer0025

The FIFA World Cup took the world by storm, and the American Red Cross scored great stories, videos and resources to fuel your soccer appetite.

The Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter has a distinction within the American Red Cross – they have had the most Restoring Family Links (RFL) cases of any chapter across the country for the past two years. To help serve their community in a unique way, the chapter’s international services department reached out to the Iraqi American Society for Peace and Friendship (IASPF).

The collaboration resulted in the Red Cross supporting a local soccer tournament hosted by IASPF, now in its second year. The tournament stretched over three weekends and had participants from refugee communities from: Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burma, Burundi, Congo, Iraq and Somalia.

The Red Cross was on-site providing snacks and water for the players, leading family disaster preparedness activities for spectators and distributing information about how the American Red Cross helps reconnect families separated by conflict and disaster.

See the album on Flickr.

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In other soccer-related Red Cross news, a World Cup Pinterest board was created to highlight to the competing teams and their associated Red Cross or Red Crescent society.

And don’t miss a couple terrific videos from our Richmond chapter on YouTube:

Ode to a Red Cross Deployer

The Service to the Armed Forces division of the American Red Cross helps our military members and their families across the world. In addition to our helping throughout our communities, the Red Cross also has staff and volunteers at military installations stateside and across the world. These Red Crossers, no matter if they are at Fort Hood in Texas, or at Camp Zama in Japan, are there for our service members. They create mini-Red Cross chapters by providing services such as morale-boosting activities, a respite center with entertainment, disaster preparedness, CPR/AED & First Aid courses, babysitting courses, etc.

One of their primary functions is with Emergency Communications. If family needs to get in touch with a service member while they are on active duty, they can call the Red Cross Emergency Communication line for the military at 1-877-272-7337. The Red Cross will get family in touch, and provide vital verification services so that commanding officers can make decisions about emergency leave. The Red Cross is the only organization entrusted with this responsibility because of our longstanding history with the military, as well as our Fundamental Principles of Neutrality and Impartiality.

Some of these Red Crossers are stationed at what we consider our “deployed sites,” which are in Afghanistan, Kuwait and Djibouti. Chris Royal, is one of these Red Crossers who works hard 7 days a week to support our service members in Kuwait. He has served multiple four-month long deployments. Here is a poem he recently wrote:

 

Ode to a Red Cross Deployer

There are less than 200 of them,
who answer to the call.
Nothing seems to shock them; …
they’ve seen and heard it all.

At any time both day and night,
They wait to pounce upon their queue.
Standing in silent witness,
To the heartache a soldier must go through.

They hold their mission as sacred,
following their cases to the end.
Ten hours a day, seven days a week,
Sleep, shower and do it again.

They miss their friends and families,
but these Few have no regrets.
But sometimes relive the messages,
they wish they could forget.

A service member is unaware,
back home a loved one’s dying.
They deliver the news to proper command,
out there – a soldiers crying.

They chose a job most folks won’t take,
they sure don’t do it for the pay,
But they know they make a difference,
while working in harm’s way.

Sure they’ve chosen to be with the Troops,
wear D.C.U.’s, and eat in the D-FAC.
They serve in Kuwait and out in The ‘Stan,
some even in I-Rac (Iraq) .

Now, when you think of your Red Cross,
and ask what can you do?
Remember they have staff out in the field;
protecting the ones who protect you.

Over one hundred and fifty years ago,
Miss Barton went to war.
And to this day, they keep the faith,
that’s what they’re out there for.

In shades of tan, with boonie cap,
Right shoulder, a flag emboss.
And sewn in brown, above their heart
It simply says – Red Cross.

 

Red Cross Bagram Super Bowl

The Red Cross office at Bagram Airfield gives service members a place to relax and get a piece of home.

Red Cross Bagram Christmas

The Red Cross office in Bagram is always ready to give holiday cheer!

...and they're always up for fun and a laugh, like at this inflatable sumo wrestling competition at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti!

…and they’re always up for fun and a laugh, like at this inflatable sumo wrestling competition at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti!

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To see our deployed Red Crossers in action, follow these Facebook pages:

American Red Cross, Bagram, Afgahnistan

American Red Cross, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait

American Red Cross, Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti

To find out more about Red Cross military services, go to redcross.org/military.

Around the Water Cooler: Latest News from the Red Cross

FATHER’S DAY

m34340124_HTLinke-FamilyNow-707x482A Father’s Day Story – H.T. Linke

“The best thing about the Army was the people, all of us soldiers, working together as a team with a single focus, defending the nation,” said H.T Linke, Chapter Communication Consultant. “That’s kind of the way it is with the Red Cross too, people working together with a single focus, serving people when they are in desperate times. It’s why I love the Red Cross; it’s not what drew me to the organization but it’s what has kept me here for fifteen years.”

[Slideshow] 5 Last Minute Father’s Day Gifts

Shop the American Red Cross Store for last minute Father’s Day gifts that help your dad prepare for emergencies.

RED CROSS BLOOD SERVICES

Stories for World Sickle Cell Awareness Day

Today is World Sickle Cell Awareness Day. We recognize this disease by sharing stories of two people diagnosed with sickle cell disease.

World Blood Donor Day: Take Action to Help Others by Giving Life

It’s a question many people don’t think about: Would blood be available if I needed it? The reality is, every two seconds someone does need blood—but its availability is not something to take for granted. There is no substitute for blood and volunteer donors are the only source.

Celebrate World Blood Donor Day with Supermodel Niki Taylor

Supermodel Niki Taylor credits blood donors with helping save her life after she was critically injured in a 2001 car accident. As World Blood Donor Day approaches, she has partnered with the American Red Cross and Nexcare to remind everyone to roll up a sleeve and give blood.

Nikigroup

Giving Blood > You.

One thing is clear from stories compiled by the American Red Cross – the act of donating blood is greater than just you.

INTERNATIONAL

[Slideshow] World Refugee Day: More than a Number

Some 38.7 million people live as refugees and internally displaced people around the world, forced to choose between safety and their family and the comforts of home. Of those, 46 percent are children under the age of 18. This World Refugee Day, June 20th, the American Red Cross joins with the global community to call attention to the needs of these refugees and the ways in which people can help shoulder their burden.

Red Cross Specialist Assists Syrian Refugeessyria full

Wendy Brightman is an American Red Cross specialist who has responded to disasters around the world and is currently assisting the Jordanian Red Crescent as they help refugees arriving from Syria.

American Red Cross Makes New $1 Million Commitments to Syria

To date, 2.8 million Syrians are refugees and between 6.5 and 7.6 million are displaced internally, and the latest contribution increases the total American Red Cross commitment to aid in Syria and for Syrian refugees in surrounding countries to $2.3 million.

Red Cross Grants Help Viet Nam Communities Affected by Typhoons

The American Red Cross contributed $100,000 to assist with relief efforts in Vietnam following the devastation caused by Typhoons Wutip and Nari in the fall of 2013. The funding is being used to provide cash grants, which help people rebuild their lives, farms and communities. In April, the American Red Cross also deployed a specialist to assist with training and monitoring the disbursement of these cash grants.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Last Days of School: Red Cross Summer Safety

Before your kids toss aside their backpack and head outside to play, take a minute to brush up on your first aid knowledge. Tips, lists and mobile apps from the American Red Cross have you covered from anything you mig

ht encounter outside, from thunderstorm preparedness to bee stings and everything in between.

Keep Your Pet Safe On Hot Summer Days

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The warm weather has finally arrived and the American Red Cross reminds pet owners that the higher temperatures can pose a danger to their animals.

Stay Safe during Extreme Heat

Weather experts say it is the first heat wave of the season and the American Red Cross provides safety steps to take when the temperatures soar.

DISASTER RECAP AND PREP

Do You Know What to Do if Flooding Threatens?

One of the most common disasters in this country is flooding. Floods can occur anywhere and the American Red Cross wants people to know what steps they should take if their home is threatened with the possibility of flooding.

Red Cross Responds to Storms Across Multiple States

The American Red Cross is helping people in communities throughout the Midwest after this week’s tornadoes and floods as some areas brace for more rain and additional flooding.

Homecoming for Staten Island Family Displaced by Sandy

On June 11, 2014, the American Red Cross gathered with other organizations including the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation and New York Disaster Interfaith Services to welcome home the Auer family of Staten Island, nearly twenty months after Sandy’s landfall. To see photos of the homecoming celebration, click here.

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