Author Archives: Michele Averill

Central Coast Chapter deploys volunteers in response to Hurricane Florence


Cheryl Powell, Joanne Hagerty, and Sid Matlock deployed out of the chapter’s Carmel office.

The Central Coast Chapter, in preparation for the landfall of Hurricane Florence, has deployed 7 volunteers to support sheltering, transportation, and feeding. The Volunteers deploying with a combined 40 deployments under their belts are Jay Dravich, John Crepeau, Joanne Hagerty, Sid Matlock, Cheryl Powell, Frances Rinaldo, and John Delange. All have agreed to a minimum 2-week assignment.

They will be the first wave of volunteers the chapter is sending as part of the American Red Cross’ very large Hurricane Florence response. The volunteers are reporting to Richmond, Virginia and have all been trained to facilitate the movement of human and material resources, providing critical feeding, hydration, emergency supplies, and disaster mental health support.

We are so grateful to our amazing volunteers and their willingness to support those in their greatest time of need.


Jay Dravich and Frances Rinaldo deployed out of the chapter’s Santa Cruz office.

The storm is expected to make landfall in North Carolina late Thursday into Friday of this week and affect South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and other states in its path. Forecasters report that Florence is moving slowly, and they expect it will bring winds as high as 140 mph, tidal surges as high as 12 feet, catastrophic flooding, and power outages.

The Red Cross depends on financial donations to be able to provide disaster relief immediately. Help people affected by Hurricane Florence by visiting, calling 1- 800-RED CROSS, or texting the word FLORENCE to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to, and help people recover from this disaster.

If you are interested in deploying or becoming a volunteer please visit this site.


Update: Since this post was first published, we have deployed additional Volunteers from the Central Coast Chapter. Jim Burns, Jennifer Burton, and Cindy Dalman, Rosielee and Lyle Crosley, Thomas Wiley, and Andrew Obeso have all reported for duty. We greatly appreciate their support! Please stay tuned for additional deployment news as Patsy and her team have been busily preparing our volunteers for successful deployment experiences.


Central Coast team helps Watsonville residents through ‘Sound the Alarm’ event

sta_08-2018In an effort to make our neighbors safer, volunteers from our Central Coast Chapter joined forces with our partners this past weekend to install 121 free smoke alarms in homes in the city of Watsonville. In all, our Sound the Alarm – Save a Life activity helped make 58 adults and children safer through the installations and accompanying safety education.

A special thanks go out to our approximately 40 Red Cross volunteers and our partners — Amazon Books, Wells Fargo Bank, Seaside High School, Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital, and Watsonville Fire Department — who made the day possible.

As I had a chance to visit with some of our volunteers that day I realized that some of them had just returned from deployment from the recent Northern California fires, where some had been on assignment for up to 2 weeks.

What struck me was the willingness of these devoted Red Cross team members to return home and jump back out there to ensure that members of our community had what they would need to potentially save lives if they were ever in a fire situation in their own home.

I feel truly honored to get to work alongside such dedicated and caring people.


About the author: Michele Averill is the CEO of the American Red Cross of the Central Coast.

See additional photos of this event.