Friday, June 1, 2018

Dave Sanderson Speaks to Red Cross Donors at Le Relais

A volunteer from the American Red Cross was one of the first  people to greet
Sanderson when he made shore in New Jersey after the crash on the Hudson.
Dave Sanderson is someone who was an ordinary person in an extraordinary situation. He was a top sales producer in every company he worked for and on January 15th 2009 was on a business trip he had made hundreds of times before. Like all of us when we travel, especially on business, things are often routine and we take things for granted. Then out of the blue something happens that changes what was once routine to a day that changes your life.

When US Airways Flight 1549, or “The Miracle on the Hudson”, ditched into the Hudson River on January 15, 2009, Dave Sanderson not only survived the “crash” but also started to realize the moments which made up his life, prepared him for what was about to happen.

Sanderson spoke about his experience with the first responders
and Red Cross volunteers who assisted him following
the crash on the Hudson.
After the incident, the lessons and strategies he learned throughout his life were instrumental that day and the days following. He started to realize one can grow from traumatic life experiences and set out on a path to not only share the lessons from that day, but practical and implementable strategies anyone can use, to not only survive their “personal plane crash” moment, but grow and thrive.

Dave shared his story with Red Cross Kentucky Region board members and donors at Le Relais in Louisville, KY. In his stirring presentation, Sanderson revealed the inner strength it took to make it through the day, and how you can grow from challenges throughout your personal and business life and how resiliency, leadership, and state management can help you not only overcome any obstacle, but grow and thrive! How all the moments in your life MATTER!

View more photos from the event on our Flickr.

To learn more about the American Red Cross, or to become a volunteer, please visit

Monday, April 30, 2018

Bluegrass Area Chapter Sounds the Alarm about Fire Safety

Written by: Barry Bronson, Bluegrass Area Chapter

Nearly 200 Red Cross volunteers handed out smoke alarms and helped educate Lexington residents on fire safety Saturday, all part of the Red Cross Sound the Alarm campaign.

It was all hands on deck Saturday as volunteers received marching orders for the
Lexington Sound the Alarm campaign for the Red Cross. 
One volunteer team heard what many of the volunteers and fire fighters would hear in the course of the busy day.

“I’ve lived in this house for 17 years and have never known if the smoke alarms were working or not,” said Ms. June Jones when volunteers installed two smoke alarms in her northside home. 

The team visiting Ms. Jones included Manny Mora, Kevin Lum, Rosie Gray and team captain Kathy Hoff. Ms. Hoff has been a Red Cross volunteers for 49 years!

Kevin Lum and Manny Mora help install a smoke alarm Saturday.

Volunteer Manny Mora installed an alarm along with Kevin Lum.

Learn more about our Sound the Alarm campaign at

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Red Cross Caseworkers Join Family Fun Night in West Point, KY

Written by: Kristen Perdue, Virginia Region and Amy Miller, Kentucky Region
Photo provided by Jessica Rains

Every March, the American Red Cross celebrates Red Cross Month as a chance to honor and celebrate the everyday heroes who help us fulfill our Red Cross mission. This year, Kentucky and Southern Indiana rang in Red Cross Month with flooding up and down the Ohio River, and Red Cross volunteers that came from across the country to lend a hand to those who were impacted.

While some disaster volunteers drive emergency response vehicles, assess damage, or provide hot meals or clean up supplies, Red Cross caseworkers assist individuals one-on-one with recovery planning. Casework assistance could include connecting people with existing social service programs in their local community, getting them counseling, identifying child care resources, or helping to locate new housing.

After meeting with Red Cross caseworkers who had been visiting West Point, KY to help residents recover, West Point Independent School’s Family Resource and Youth Services Coordinator, Jessica Rains, asked the casework team to attend the school’s Family Fun Day event. After dealing with high water and the ongoing clean-up efforts, the event gave families in West Point the opportunity to take some much-needed time to relax.

Recovering from a disaster can be a confusing, emotionally draining and complicated process. After speaking with students and their families, Rains felt having the casework team attend the school’s event would be a helpful resource for West Point residents, stating she “hoped the Red Cross [would be] able to assist.” 
When they weren’t dancing to the live band with the other attendees, Red Cross caseworkers were able to introduce themselves to community members who had been impacted by flooding. Red Cross caseworkers were able to explain some of the services that the Red Cross provides, as well as inform parents on tips that can be used to ensure their child’s mental health after disasters. Iris Doty, a caseworker, stated her team was even able start cases while there to provide families with assistance.

“I am glad they were able to come,” said Rains,Hopefully they were able to have some fun themselves.” 

After the event ended, Red Cross workers came together and spoke of the event as a great way to reach the community and spread the word about the Red Cross. 

Learn more about volunteering with the Red Cross here.

Friday, March 9, 2018

A Pillowcase Promise

Written by: Cuthbert Langley, South Carolina Region
Pictures by: Kristen Perdue, Virginia Region

“It just happened.”

Ten-year-old Tanner said it happened in seconds. He was watching television with his mom in their Hopkinsville, Kentucky apartment around 9:30 p.m. on February 24. In almost an instant, they had to make a run for their lives.

“The lights just turned off, and then my mom said the wind was really blowing,” said Tanner. “She just started pulling my arm and we went out.”

They ran out of their apartment into the hallway after a tornado ripped through the complex. The family watched from underneath the apartment’s stairwell as part of the ceiling caved in. Tanner stood next to his younger neighbors and quickly realized he needed to help them.

Larissa, Tanner's mother, speaks with Mary Summers,
Regional Preparedness Manager for the Kentucky Region
“They were really scared and really nervous, and he put his arm around [their] shoulders, and he was like, ‘everything’s going to be fine. We’re safe here under the stairs.’ He was amazing, just amazing,” his mom, Larissa, said.

Turns out, just a couple of weeks before the tornado hit, Tanner participated in the Red Cross Pillowcase Project at his school, South Christian Elementary taught by Kathy Hayes, a Red Cross volunteer.  Thanks to a grant from Disney, the Red Cross, and volunteers, like Kathy, are able to teach 3rd-5th graders preparedness tips for local emergencies. Tanner learned during Kathy’s presentation about tornado safety, including picking a safety spot—the apartment’s stairwell—where he could meet his family outside of his home.

The program also teaches coping skills to help kids through those emergencies. Tanner used some of those same skills to help his younger neighbors.

“[Mrs. Hayes] said breathe in, breathe out.”

Volunteer Kathy Hayes presents Tanner with a new
pillowcase and emergency supplies.
In addition to learning about skills, Kathy gave the children a pillowcase they could decorate and use as place to store their own emergency kits. However, she taught Tanner and his classmates to leave the pillowcase behind in “act fast” emergencies, like tornadoes, when there is no time to spare.

That’s a message Tanner remembered that night.

“I wanted my pillowcase, but I didn’t [grab it],” Tanner said.

Hayes also promised the children that, if they lose their pillowcase due to a disaster, she would replace it. She followed through on her promise and met Tanner to replace his pillowcase.

In the backroom of the Red Cross chapter, Tanner quickly sat down and began decorating his pillowcase. He excitedly looked through all of the emergency supplies Kathy made sure he received.

“It did make a huge impression on him,” his mother said with a smile.

Tanner and his mom are now living with family while they search for a new place to live. The family will continue to work with Red Cross caseworkers to create their recovery plans.  

Thursday, March 8, 2018

What happens when you call the client hotline?

When a person calls the Client Hotline for disaster assistance, an American Red Cross representative will be on the other line to answer your call. The Red Cross representative will take down your information and pass it along to our casework team, which will send that information to the team closest to the caller’s neighborhood. The local neighborhood caseworker will attempt to contact the person to set up a time to meet to assess needs (clean up kits, referrals, etc.).

Frequently Asked Questions
Can you provide me with a place to stay?
The Red Cross is not providing housing assistance at this time. But, the organization has a strong team of community and government partner organizations that assist the organization in helping residents recover from disasters. Caseworkers will be able to assist in referring you to a partner who will be able to meet your lodging needs, on an individual basis.

Can I get financial assistance for damages within my home?
The Client Hotline representative will refer you to a caseworker that will help determine the level of assistance needed and referrals for your individual case.

My neighbor got assistance, will I?
Every case is different. Caseworkers will work individually with residents to determine what that person needs.

Why is it taking so long for someone to call me back?
Right after a resident calls the hotline, a volunteer passes that information along to the casework team. Casework involves working with each individual or family to determine what they need and the best way to meet those needs. The Red Cross wants to spend the money people donate for disasters as quickly as the organization can, but it’s also important that we spend the funds wisely and carefully. Both of these considerations take time. In addition, it can take some time for families to determine what they need, or their needs may change over time as more is known about the damage. However long it takes, the Red Cross is committed to helping residents recover.

What is a clean-up kit?
A clean up kit is a variety of supplies that can assist in the clean-up of your home. Items can include: gloves, shovel, rake, trash bags, bleach, etc. Please also view our tips for cleaning safety here: