Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Estate Gift is Largest in American Red Cross Louisville Area Chapter History

American Red Cross Louisville Area Chapter board members and Red Cross supporters gathered together today to pay tribute and to honor Jack and Gladys Jonas. Their estate donated to the Red Cross Louisville Area Chapter nearly $1.4 million dollars-the organization’s largest estate gift ever received. The Red Cross received the final gift allotment in March of this year. In gratitude to Jack and Gladys Jonas for their generous legacy to Red Cross disaster relief services in Kentucky, the Louisville Area Chapter has dedicated its Emergency Operations Center in their name. Present for the dedication was Carl Franklin, nephew of the couple, and his wife, Brenda.

On October 18, 1979, Carl Franklin’s life changed dramatically. While working on the family farm, an ear of corn got stuck in their auger. The machinery was not on, so Carl reached in to remove it. Upon reflection, he suspects engine vibration may have engaged the auger - which proceeded to take off his arm. He was rushed to Jewish Hospital and though he did not lose much blood in the initial injury, he was a blood recipient during the lengthy microsurgery required to reattach it. Uncle Jack and Aunt Gladys, were there for him every day. They never had children and were extremely close to Carl and his wife Brenda. Uncle Jack began his blood donations to the Red Cross at that time, and continued, it is believed, until he died in 1998.

“A promise is a promise” Carl said and he had promised Uncle Jack that he would take care of his beloved wife Gladys the rest of her life. Carl and Brenda did so until her death in 2014.  The Jonas’s were not born in to wealth. In fact, Carl credits an initial $2,000 investment in a gas station as the nexus for the multi-million dollar legacy the Jonas’s left to benefit organizations which held significance in their lives. In addition to their gift to the Red Cross, estate gifts went to Hosparus and the Masonic Home.

The American Red Cross Louisville Area Chapter is honored to be a recipient of the Jonas’s generosity.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Profile: Dan Wirth

“The common connection among Red Crossers,” said Daniel Wirth, a native of Indianapolis, “is the desire to make a difference.”

Dan has traveled around the world making a difference. After moving to Colorado for undergrad and earning his Master's degree in Montana, Dan joined the Peace Corps and worked throughout Africa and Latin America giving back to people in need.

Two years ago he and his wife decided they wanted to be closer to home, so they moved back to Indianapolis where he began working for the Red Cross.

When he first joined the Red Cross, Dan drove a Red Cross response vehicle around communities in Texas to deliver clean up supplies to help flood victims recover and salvage their belongings. He spent time working in disaster responses in Texas and South Carolina. He recently moved to Louisville to become the new Regional Disaster Officer for the Kentucky Region. Dan’s role now includes engaging volunteers, leading the disaster and preparedness response teams, and making sure the team is focused on the bigger goals of each response effort. In the midst of it all, he also encourages everyone to be considerate.

Dan loves his job. He believes in the Red Cross mission, and in making a difference in the lives of the people the Red Cross serves. Getting to know so many people with such varied depths of knowledge and experiences, and the desire to use them to give back, is one of the highlights of his work.

When he isn’t working, Dan plays soccer, practices yoga, and spends time with his wife, daughter, and extended family.

Click here to learn more about Disaster Relief, and if you would like to join the Red Cross as a volunteer, please visit