Monday, December 4, 2017

#MyStoryMonday: Pat O'Bryant

Pat O’ Bryant is a local volunteer for the Kentucky Region Steering Committee who has logged many volunteer hours over the years. Pat has helped to train more than 500 volunteers and staff members in areas such as customer service, conflict resolution, and effective team building. 

Pat was made the leadership co-chair of the Volunteer Recruitment and Retention Committee in 1997, and since then her efforts have helped greatly improve donor recruitment. She also serves as a Chairperson for the Region’s largest annual blood drive, Donorama, now in its 40th year, which is held in the end of December in Louisville, Kentucky. We thank you Pat for all that you do!

If you would like to find out more about joining the Red Cross as a volunteer, please visit To find a blood drive near you, visit

Monday, October 30, 2017

#MyStoryMonday: Gray Ladies

During World War I, the American Red Cross had a great influx of volunteers. One service that was established in response was the Hostess and Hospital Service and Recreation corps, which was later famously named the Gray Ladies. The purpose for this new division of volunteers, who were mostly women, was to act as hostesses and provide recreational activities to wounded soldiers.

Although the Gray Ladies were established at the beginning of WWI at Walter Reed Army Hospital, the service quickly spread to both military and civilian hospitals around the country. Some of the Gray Ladies were even sent to serve in U.S. military hospitals overseas.

Gray Lady Jessie Thoroughman reading with Johnny Troxwell
at Hazelwood Sanatorium, circa 1958
The Gray Ladies service was not responsible for any type of medical care, but the volunteers were still required to undergo rigorous training that consisted of courses like hospital organization, psychiatry, ethics and more.

Although the ladies weren’t dressed in vibrant shades, their personalities made up for it. Whether it was sitting down and having a conversation with a serviceman or playing some tunes to patients confined to hospital beds, the Gray Ladies of the American Red Cross made it their mission to keep spirits high and the wounded hopeful.

For more information about the Gray Ladies, click hereIf you would like to find out more about joining the Red Cross as a volunteer, please visit

Monday, October 9, 2017

#MyStoryMonday: Erin Rasinen

Erin Rasinen is a Louisville Area Resource Development volunteer and helps out in many ways with fundraisers. Erin has been involved with the Wrapped in Red Gala, the Louisville Area Chapter's signature fundraising event, to which she devoted more than 100 hours to in 2017 alone. 

She has acted as an auction committee chair member, managed the excel sheets that track the items sold at the auction, and helped take pictures of each item to be posted to the gala's bidding website. It is for these reasons and more that we would like to take the time and say thank you for all that you do!

If you would like to find out more about joining the Red Cross as a volunteer, please visit

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Jeffersontown Elementary Students Raise $1,600 for Hurricane Harvey Relief

Meet Clair, Clementine, Rachel, Shania, and Ciara, 5th graders at Jeffersontown Elementary School. Like many 5th graders, they love to sing, dance, and make art. They also participate in a more unique after-school activity: Organizing fundraisers for disaster relief.

It has been more than four weeks since Hurricane Harvey caused extensive flooding and damage to parts of Texas and Louisiana. More than 1,500 people are still spending the night at Red Cross and partner shelters, with nearly 414,000 overnight stays to date.

The group of girls were inspired to help those affected by the hurricane when they heard stories of people in need in Texas on the news. When they also learned that several of their teachers had family and friends living in Texas, they were determined to find a way to give back.

“My dad might go to Texas to help,” said Shania, who told us her that her father was an engineer who travels as part of his work. “I wanted to be able to help too.”

One morning after Labor Day the group approached their assistant principal, Ms. Jessica, and told her that they wanted to do something to help the people affected by Hurricane Harvey. Ms. Jessica challenged them to come up with their own plan of action.

With the support of their parents and the help of the Jeffersontown Elementary faculty, the girls decided to have a schoolwide fundraiser by having a “dress down week”. Each day of the week had a theme, such as “Crazy Hat Day”, and Jeffersontown Elementary students could donate a dollar to the fundraiser to wear something based on that day’s theme.

The girls spread the word about the fundraiser by word of mouth, and by creating posters to advertise for the dress down days. Their parents went all out buying them supplies, and the group worked on the posters in the school cafeteria and during sleepovers.

By the end of the fundraiser, Clair, Clementine, Rachel, Shania, and Ciara raised over $1,600 to help the people recovering from Hurricane Harvey. They said that while students had only needed to donate a dollar during dress down days, many people chose to donate more.

We were pleased to visit Jeffersontown Elementary and meet with the group, where they presented us with their donation. When asked why they wanted to donate the money to the Red Cross, they said it was because they knew that the Red Cross helped people. The girls were especially excited to find out that their donation would help provide financial assistance to people in Texas, and enable them buy the things they need most.

As of September 27, the Red Cross has authorized more than $142 million in financial assistance to help more than 356,000 Texas households severely affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Clair, Clementine, Rachel, Shania, and Ciara: We thank you for your hard work, your big hearts, and your dedication to helping others!

The American Red Cross continues to provide shelter, food, relief supplies and more to people affected by Hurricane Harvey, as well as those affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Red Cross response vehicles and volunteers are fanning out across neighborhoods to distribute nutritious meals and relief supplies such as diapers, bug spray, cleaning supplies, coolers, and comfort kits that contain deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste and other hygiene items. Red Cross disaster workers are also providing health services such as replacing lost medications and eyeglasses, emotional support and spiritual care to people affected by these storms.

Click here to learn more about our response, or find out how to volunteer or donate by visiting

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Junior Red Cross: "Our Schools Serve our World"

The American Junior Red Cross was developed as an official organization for young students during World War I as both a means to help with the war effort and also to educate the youth of the nation. The American Junior Red Cross prepared boxes of personal items to send overseas, planted and tended to gardens that aided the America’s food supply and also held fundraisers. In fact, the members of the organization raised over 3 million dollars during WWI alone.

To encourage support from local schools, the Red Cross released a series of posters, including these two from the 1940s. By the time World War II rolled around, membership of the youth organization was pushing 20 million.

Along with service to their country through tangible items, the American Junior Red Cross was known for their educational programs. Disaster relief, public health, and blood donation were some of the many workshops they held.

The American Junior Red Cross has since transitioned into local community clubs and Red Cross school clubs that allow opportunities for leadership development and community service in addition to teaching life-saving skills. 

Learn more about volunteering at