Author Archives: Jim Burns

Shelter from the (fire)storm

Vacaville area couple, evacuated because of the LNU Fire, finds care and comfort at a Red Cross shelter

By Marcia Antipa

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Karen Stickler, her husband, and their dog found comfort and caring in a safe Red Cross shelter in Vacaville. (Photo: Kathleen Maclay)
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It was the middle of the night on August 18, and Karen Stickler was sound asleep in the rural Vacaville home she had shared with her husband, Dave, for 30 years. It was a hot, windy night, and the power had gone out earlier that day in their neighborhood. Then, just before midnight, the phone rang.

“My husband said to me, ‘Get up. We have to leave now.’”

That night, the LNU Complex Fire – sparked by an unusual lightning storm – tore through five Northern California counties, destroying almost 1,000 structures and forcing many more evacuations. Read more

Helping others, even during her own time of need

Evacuated and waiting to learn the fate of her own home in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Red Cross volunteer Linnea Dunn — heroically — provided assistance to others

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Waiting to learn the fate of her own home, Linnea Dunn did what brings great satisfaction to her: She helped others as a Red Cross volunteer.
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Like the 74,000 other people who were evacuated last week in response to the fast-moving CZU August Complex Fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Linnea Dunn quickly grabbed what possessions she could and prepared to flee to safety.

As she started her car in the early-morning hours on Tuesday morning, August 18, Linnea glanced back at the home she has owned on 2 1/2 acres in the rural neighborhood of Bonny Doon, wondering if it would still be standing when she returned. Two days later, Linnea got the news she dreaded: Her home, which she had lived in for more than 25 years — and a second one occupied by two other co-owners of the property — were both gone. Read more

Red Cross teams continue to support counties, residents affected by lightning-caused fires

Most recent update: Friday, September 18, at 11:30 a.m. 

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Red Cross volunteer Ken Everson helps unload a truck full of emergency supplies in Napa. We continue to add other photos to our regional Flickr album related to this disaster response. (Thanks to our volunteer photographers!)

The severe lightning storms that swept through our Northern California Coastal Region and other parts of the state earlier this month caused a number of large and destructive fires in our chapter areas, prompting quick responses by our region’s Red Cross teams.

Working alongside government and community partners, we have helped provide shelter, food, and comfort for people forced to leave their homes with little notice to flee these wildfires.

As of Tuesday night, we were supporting or operating 1 congregate (traditional) shelter and 10 non-congregate sites (in hotels or similar facilities) throughout our region. That was in response to fires that had burned more than 965,000 acres, destroyed or damaged almost 3,600 structures, and forced the evacuation of more than 1,800 people. Read more

Volunteers distribute PPE to healthcare providers supporting agricultural workers

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These Central Coast Chapter volunteers worked at the one-day event in Salinas in support of the healthcare providers who treat our agricultural workers. Full-size photos of this event can be viewed here. (All photos: Virginia and Albert Becker)
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During this lethal pandemic, the shortage of PPE — personal protective equipment — has been an ongoing challenge for physicians, other healthcare workers, and medical groups in communities, counties, and states in our country.

In the Central Coast area of California, one of the most fertile areas in our agriculture-rich state, that need has been acutely felt by the often-small medical teams that care for the people whose fieldwork is the epitome of an essential service: our agricultural workers.

That’s why the support that more than two dozen volunteers from the Central Coast Chapter of the American Red Cross provided last week at a one-day PPE giveaway was also so essential.

At the event, which took place on July 27 at the Salinas Municipal Airport, 25 volunteers from the Red Cross chapter distributed close to $300,000 worth of medical-grade personal protective equipment — including N95 and surgical masks, gowns, gloves and face shields — to Monterey County practitioners who provide healthcare to local fieldworkers. Read more

Central Coastal Chapter board member ‘leads by example’

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Rayvon Williams is pictured at the Watsonville Municipal Airport, where he serves as manager.
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When Rayvon Williams’ two-year term as chair of the Board of Directors of the Central Coast Chapter concluded at the end of June, it would have been understandable if he had stepped back a bit from his many American Red Cross commitments. He had, after all, already filled multiple leadership roles during eight devoted years on the board.

But that’s not Rayvon’s style. Instead of retreating, even for a short while, the energetic manager of the Watsonville Municipal Airport re-upped for another two-year term as a board officer … this time as its secretary.

“That’s so typical of Rayvon,” says Michele Averill, CEO of the Central Coast Chapter. “He saw a need, so he volunteered to fill it.” Read more

COVID-19: Regional stories, messages, and other related content

covid-19-site_420x279Updated August 04, 2020 — This post was created to provide an index of Northern California Coastal Region stories, local messages, and other resources that shed light on how the American Red Cross is responding to the COVID-19 crisis. The content includes information on important work that is continuing, engagement opportunities, and (most importantly) tips on staying safe. Read more

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