Author Archives: larrydietz

Northern California Coastal Region supports vets with comfort kits

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SAF Director Go Funai, Kathleen Lenihan, Marilyn Byington, Leeann Woodward, and Julianna Jaynes deliver comfort kits to the San Francisco VA Medical Center.  Photo: Nanette Shamieh | American Red Cross
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The Covid-19 pandemic has hampered more than a few activities, but it has also spawned a number of opportunities. For example, shelter in place orders forced the canceling of several stand downs. A stand down is an event hosted for veterans where they can avail themselves of a variety of resources in one place. Resources include medical and dental treatment as well as haircuts in a safe and secure temporary environment.

Each veteran attending receives a comfort kit. These kits typically include a toothbrush, toothpaste, washcloth, shaving cream, razor, shampoo, etc. According to Kathleen Lenihan, a retired Army Officer and Service to Armed Forces volunteer, “Walmart and other generous partners donate money, goods or make the kits.”

And with the cancellation of stand downs, a number of kits that were going unused.

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Red Cross nurses: a special kind of nurse

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Red Cross nurse leaders Liz Dietz, Anna Likens, Karen Isabelle, and Mary Ann Reilly chat with Larry Dietz, Public Affairs Officer of the Red Cross communications team. | Screenshot: Larry Dietz.
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The Red Cross nurse is part of a tradition that dates back to the founding of the organization and core to the Red Cross Mission of alleviating human suffering in the face of emergencies. The International Council of Nurses (ICN) has proclaimed the theme for Nurses Day 2020 as “Nursing the World to Health”.

Nursing the suffering is the stock and trade of the Red Cross Nurse. I had the honor and pleasure of interviewing nurse leaders of the Silicon Valley Chapter to learn more about what is special about being a Red Cross Nurse and to have them share some moments in their Red Cross Service that have stood out in their minds.

Red Cross nurses are indeed special.

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Over half of homes in Silver Creek Mobile Estates made safer by ‘Sound the Alarm’ event

On October 19, 2019, a team of over 100 American Red Cross and Tzu Chi Foundation volunteers supported by Council Member for District 7, Maya Esparza, San Jose Fire Department worked in teams to install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.

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The Silver Creek Mobile Estates is a community of 240 homes located in San Jose, California. Captain Bien Doan of the San Jose Fire Department working with Terry Unter, Disaster Services Volunteer at the Silicon Valley Chapter of the Red Cross, directed a coordinated campaign to canvass the community and pre-book Saturday morning appointments for the installations. Following the installation, everyone regrouped for lunch: subs from Lee’s Sandwiches.

Volunteers were greeted with welcoming remarks from Council Member Esparza and San Jose Fire Chief Robert Sapien, Jr. Chief Sapien stressed how important this work was to the safety of citizens of San Jose and recalled an incident in August where a mobile home resident was awakened by a smoke detector and was able to safely evacuate the home along with the other resident living there; that smoke detector had been installed in February 2019 during an earlier Sound the Alarm event.

STA SVC Blog 420x280 2Initial training was provided by Terry Unter, Liz Dietz, and Doug Moses-Batson. After instruction on how to install smoke alarms and provide training to residents, teams of four were deployed to visit the homes in the community. Each team was composed of an Educator, an Installer, an Assistant Installer, and a Documenter.

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Red Cross Service to Armed Forces supports San Francisco Fleet Week

San Francisco has a long and proud maritime history. A highlight of San Francisco’s celebration of its connection with America’s sea services is Fleet Week (SFFW)which began in 1981. The event has taken place every October since then. A major attraction of Fleet Week has been the Humanitarian Village on the Marina Green.

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The Red Cross tent at the Humanitarian Assistance Village during the San Francisco Fleet Week 2019.

The Humanitarian Assistance Village (HAV) is a showcase for civilian and military organizations to help the public understand their roles and provide education on a variety of topics related to cooperation and knowledge among civilian and military Humanitarian Assistance personnel.

The Red Cross SAF has been a vital part of the Humanitarian Village for many years. This year was no different. Under the Leadership of Go Funai, Regional Director for SAF, and Workers in Charge Liz Dietz, Jolinda Sim, and JJ Lara, a team of about 90 volunteers from across the Bay Area manned the Red Cross area on the Marina Green on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (October 11, 12 and 13, 2019).

During that period the team had over 1,500 interactions with the public. This included providing disaster preparedness information to 491 people, teaching 351 people about Stop the Bleed, 310 people about hands only CPR and 264 people about fire safety and the Red Cross Sound the Alarm program. In addition, over 100 people were provided general information about Red Cross services.

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Hands-only CPR and Stop the Bleed were two trainings offered at the Red Cross tent during Fleet Week.

Volunteers came from all over the Bay Area and ranged in age from High School Youth volunteers to those who have been volunteering with the Red Cross to those who have been Red Cross volunteers for over 40 years.

The mission of Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces is to provide humanitarian support to service members, veterans and their families around the clock, around the globe, under a trusted symbol. The 2019 San Francisco Fleet Week serves as a great event for people to share in the history of this great City and learn how to be prepared in the case of a disaster.

To learn about the Red Cross Service to Armed Forces in the Northern California Coastal Region, visit our website. Additional photos from the San Francisco Fleet Week 2019 may be viewed on our Flickr page.

Howard Hinkson Returns From 4th Service to Armed Forces Deployment in Iraq

You could say Howard Hinkson was born to serve having been raised in a Navy family moving around the US much of his childhood. Howard started with the Red Cross as a volunteer supporting the 1989 Earthquake. He worked logistics, sheltering, and mass care. He served in a variety of capacities, including volunteer, reserve, and paid staffer. Howard had just come off what he called ‘his second retirement’ when he decided that he needed to return to Iraq. Howard is no stranger to Iraq having deployed previously to COB Speicher, Balad and Camp Victory.  The American Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) deployment overseas can be “laborious, tedious and dangerous” Howard said. As it turns out, the rewards outweigh all of that. Read more

Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces Supports 129th Rescue Wing

The 129th Rescue Wing is part of the California Air National Guard, and is based at Moffett Field, California. “That others may live.” Is the motto of Air Rescue and typifies the wartime mission of combat search and rescue and the peacetime missions of finding and rescuing distressed people on shifts, lost or injured hikers and medical evacuations. The unit consists of over 1,000 members, 700 of whom are part time California Air Guard Members. Read more

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