Author Archives: Cynthia Shaw

Happy 25th Anniversary, Brenda!

Bay Area Chapter Board of Directors Chair Jonathan Velline, Brenda Isaula-Cordon, and Interim Regional Executive Teresa Caver

At last week’s American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter Board of Directors Meeting, Brenda Isaula-Cordon was honored for her 25th anniversary. 

Brenda began her career with the American Red Cross in May 1994 as an assistant in the Human Resources Department. She has also worked as an Accounts Receivable Specialist in the Finance Department and as a Chapter Management Assistant, working for Harold Brooks.

She took training in disaster casework where her Spanish language skills have been invaluable with local fire responses. Also, she deployed on several two-week Disaster assignments, including:

  • October 1991 – Caseworker for wildfires in Redding, CA
  • September 2001 – Spanish interpreter in New York for the 9/11 hotline after the World Trade Center attacks
  • October 2004 – Caseworker for Hurricane Ivan in Florida

Nowadays, Brenda supports the San Francisco office, ensuring the office runs smoothly and that both external and internal customers are received with a warm welcome.

Congratulations, Brenda, on achieving this anniversary with us! We know you have worked hard for this accomplishment and you have been such a significant part of our team. We truly appreciate your dedication. We couldn’t imagine our workplace without you!

Help now: Type O blood shortage

May 2019_Type O Shortage_blog graphicSpring is a busy time of year for many people, but the need for blood and platelets doesn’t let up. Last month, more than 11,500 fewer donations were collected than needed as spring break schedules and end of the school year activities contributed to a low turnout of blood donors. As a result, the American Red Cross has a critical shortage of type O blood and urges type O donors to give now to ensure blood is available for patients in need of lifesaving treatments or facing traumas.

Right now, the Red Cross has less than a two-day supply of type O blood available for emergency rooms – where it can be most critical. Type O donations are being distributed to hospitals faster than they are coming in. Type O blood is the most needed blood group by hospitals but is often in short supply.

All eligible donors – especially type O donors – are urged to roll up a sleeve as soon as possible. In thanks for helping meet patient needs, those who come to donate blood or platelets with the Red Cross May 1-June 10 will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email. (Restrictions apply, see amazon.com/gc-legal. Additional information and details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/Together.)

Don’t wait – help now!

  1. Make an appointment to give blood or platelets by downloading the free Blood Donor App, visiting our website or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
  2. Let your friends and family know there is a type O #BloodShortage and ask them to give now.
  3. Bring someone to donate with you.

Every day, volunteer blood and platelet donors across the country are needed to help save lives. Your support can help ensure that blood products are there for accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease.

Make an appointment to give now.

Red Cross supports residents affected by current storm

Thursday, February 14, 10 a.m. — The series of storm systems that have pummeled California this week are causing flooding and mudslides in some of the Northern California counties that make up the American Red Cross’s Northern California Coastal Region (NCCR).

Red Cross disaster teams in our region opened two evacuation centers in the past 24 hours due to weather-related issues. Here are reports received this morning related to those incidents and other incidents:

In Marin County: A mudslide in the middle of the night caused a home in Sausalito to slide into a vacant home below it. One woman was rescued. About 50 homes are currently evacuated in the area as a precaution while officials determine the stability of the rest of the homes on the hill. Red Cross is operating the evacuation center at Sausalito Fire Station 1. Twenty-five to 30 residents are currently at the evacuation center. Red Cross volunteers are on site providing care and comfort to the residents awaiting word from officials.

In Santa Clara County: The Weather Service issued a flood warning for the portion of the Guadalupe River in the middle of the City of San Jose at 2:30 a.m.  Red Cross opened an evacuation center at Willow Glen Community Center at 3:30 a.m. An evacuation advisory was issued at 4:21 a.m.  The evacuation advisory was lifted at 6:45 a.m. today. In total 20 people, three dogs, and three cats (managed by our partners) took refuge at our evacuation center.

In Santa Cruz County: A large oak tree fell on a home in Boulder Creek this morning, displacing residents there; the home is also being deluged by water from intense rains in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The local Red Cross chapter’s Disaster Action Team has provided support (emergency lodging, food, and clothing) to a family of four (2 adults and 2 children). There were no injuries reported.

Many thanks to the dozens of amazing Red Cross volunteers from our region who answered the call overnight and this morning to help those in need of shelter in the middle of this most recent storm.

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With winter storms affecting residents in California and elsewhere in the U.S., please take a few minutes to read this Red Cross story, which includes important tips on staying safe.

Red Cross provides support following gas line explosion in San Francisco

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See full-size photo and the incident photo album.

A gas line explosion in San Francisco on Wednesday, February 6, resulted in a three-alarm fire and displaced residents and workers. The explosion occurred around 1 p.m. at the corner of Geary Blvd. and Parker Ave. in the city’s Jordan Park neighborhood; the ensuing fire was brought under control about three hour later.

Six mixed-use commercial/residential buildings have been red- or yellow-tagged as a result of the incident.

An evacuation center was opened at Saint Mary’s Cathedral at 1111 Gough St. for individuals in need of shelter or impacted by PG&E’s need to shut off power to the affected area.

Red Cross volunteers also responded with an Emergency Response Vehicle to provide water and food to first responders and evacuated residents at Mel’s Diner. Two muni buses were requested as additional warm spaces for evacuees. Dinner was ordered for first responders and residents at the evacuation site and for the shelter.

The volunteers have collected information at the evacuation site from six families whose residences were affected by the fire. All other impacted individuals or families have found their own lodging.

Red Cross personnel closed the shelter today (Thursday, February 7) and are continuing with traditional casework and referrals to our partners.

Residents displaced by the gas line explosion and fire may call 415-427-8010 to register for Red Cross assistance and referrals.

Five people honored at Contra Costa County meeting

By Ritch DavidsonEditor’s note: At a recent Red Cross meeting in Contra Costa County, the organization recognized five individuals who have made a positive impact in their communities. Their service is described below. For more photos from the recognition event, please click here.

Deborah Simpson

Deborah Simpson was on the phone with a friend when they both heard a beeping sound. When her friend asked what that sound was, Deborah replied it was her smoke detector indicating that the battery needed to be replaced. The friend suggested Deborah call the Red Cross for assistance. Deborah wondered, “Does the Red Cross do that?” After calling, she learned they did. A Red Cross team went to her house and replaced not only the batteries but the smoke detector itself, giving her a new 10-year model. Deborah found the team to be friendly, warm, and high-spirited, even bringing her some coffee cake from a meeting they’d just attended.After her own detectors were installed, Deborah took flyers about the program to post them at her Church. She also encouraged the team to canvass her neighbors (which it did), saying she would be happy to let the team use her as a reference. Deborah was recognized for spreading the positive word about the Red Cross Sound the Alarm program.

Rayce and Wendi Loughlin

Eight-year-old Rayce Loughlin and his mother, Wendi, were watching television when a news story described the Red Cross opening a shelter at the Clayton Valley Library in response to the July 2018 Marsh Creek fire. Rayce immediately wanted to help, and Wendi agreed. They turned off the TV and went to the shelter, where they became “spontaneous volunteers,” setting up cots and whatever else was needed. They didn’t stop there. Rayce and Wendi returned to offer assistance three more times. For their selfless and generous contribution to their community and the Red Cross, they were acknowledged with Certificates of Appreciation and Red Cross backpacks.

Valerie and Robert Rodriguez

Disaster Health Services nurses Valerie and Robert Rodriguez were presented with a numbered Nurse Enrollment badge, a tradition begun in 1906. The American Red Cross nurse’s badge is a distinctive symbol of professional attainment and service to humanity.

Woof! Pet-Friendly Shelters Comfort Evacuees

by Patricia Kemp, Red Cross volunteer

For residents evacuated to Middletown Middle School during the Mendocino Complex Fire, the barking and meows of more than 100 of their furry family members were anything but annoying. In fact, they were downright comforting.

At the peak of evacuations, animals sheltered on the school’s campus outnumbered people by 2-to-1. More than 70 people and 140 pets stayed in the gym or camped in tents on the athletic field. Read more

Optimistic evacuee looking on the bright side of life

By Kathleen Maclay, Red Cross volunteer

Lori Rose of Lucerne isn’t one to let life pass her by – whether the nearly 84-year-old is making the most of being a Mendocino Complex Fire evacuee in a Red Cross shelter at Middletown High or zipping along Highway 20 bordering Clear Lake in a motorized scooter with a bright balloon trailing behind her.

To some, Rose’s life may sound challenging. After all, she’s blind in her right eye, she has diabetes, sometimes experiences vertigo and lost her husband to brain cancer in 1993.

But as she recounts being evacuated for the first time, it’s clear that Rose sees the glass as half full. Read more

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