Author Archives: Jim Burns

Silicon Valley volunteer Liz Dietz works day in and day out for the Red Cross

And this Clara Barton Award recipient wouldn’t have it any other way

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San Jose resident Liz Dietz has been a dedicated Red Crosser for 40 years, supporting community members and colleagues alike with a tireless commitment to our mission. (Photo by Larry Dietz)
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Liz Dietz’s work for the American Red Cross — in health services, supporting people affected by disasters large and small; advocating for the needs of military members, veterans, and their families; staffing a regional first-aid team that for years supported major events; and so much more — speaks for itself.

It almost has to, given the challenge of getting Liz to lend her own words to a description of her decades of impactful volunteer work for the Red Cross. Read more

Central Coast Chapter volunteer is ‘truly our Clara Barton’

Tiki Dellamora represents everything that is good about the Red Cross

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Tiki Dellamora is a beloved member of the Central Coast Chapter volunteer team.
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Productive, dependable, and tireless are three adjectives regularly used to describe the thousands of volunteers whose work is at the heart of everything the American Red Cross does to support individuals, families, and communities throughout our country.

But take an extra minute to observe these volunteers on the job. If you do, it’s hard to overlook one other characteristic they all seemingly have in common: a sense of optimism that brings a smile not only to the faces of the many people they support and serve, but also to the faces of the Red Cross colleagues working at their side.

“In our Central Coast Chapter, perhaps no one epitomizes that can-do, joyful spirit more than Tiki Dellamora,” says Chapter CEO Michele Averill, who announced recently that Tiki was a recipient of the organization’s prestigious Clara Barton Award. Read more

Supporting residents affected by last week’s storm

Regional Red Cross teams continue work with counties to help those displaced

This information was last updated on Wednesday,  February 3, at 10 a.m.

be-redcross-readyCurrent situation: In response to the evacuation of some 15,000 people in the Central Coast area due to last week’s dangerously wet and windy storms in Northern California, regional Red Cross teams have mobilized to support to those in need.

How we have been helping during this emergency response:

As of Monday morning ( February 1), the American Red Cross had 100 disaster responders on this job who are providing assistance to residents affected by this week’s evacuation orders. Working with our partners, these Red Cross responders have:

  • Staffed Temporary Evacuation Points (TEPs) established in Monterey, San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties to assist residents under evacuation orders.
  • Provided over 2,650 meals and snacks to those displaced.
  • Provided more than 1,200 total overnight stays in hotels for displaced evacuees.

Our Disaster Health and Mental Health team members are also supporting people affected by this week’s storm. Even when the immediate danger has passed, the impact can still be felt. Taking those first steps toward recovery can be easier with a little support. Here are some very helpful tips from them. To date, the Red Cross has:

  • Provided nearly 165 individual care contacts to those affected.

As the needs of those returning home become clear, the Red Cross is also ensuring emergency relief supplies such as clean-up kits are available to those who need them.

Support at evacuation centers:

As of Saturday morning, all Temporary Evacuation Points (TEPs) have been closed as county officials have lifted most evacuation orders and residents begin to return home across Santa Cruz, San Mateo and Monterey Counties.

Before Monterey County closed their TEPs, Red Cross teams helped staff two locations for county for residents affected by evacuation orders. Those TEPs had been operational at the following locations:

  • Carmel Valley Library, 65 W. Carmel Valley Rd., Carmel, CA 93942
  • Toro Park School, 22500 Portola Dr., Salinas, CA, 93908

With the closing of Monterey County TEPs, residents are advised to call 211 if they have questions regarding evacuation orders and safety information. Assistance is available in English and Spanish. Information is also available on the Monterey County EOC web site. To register for emergency alerts, visit www.alertmontereycounty.org. Residents of this county may also text MCWINTER to 888777 for updates.

Before Santa Cruz County closed their TEPs, Red Cross teams had also been staffing three similar TEPs in that county for residents affected by evacuation orders. Those TEPs had been operational at the following locations:

  • San Lorenzo Valley High School — 7105 Hwy. 9, Felton, CA 95018
  • Scotts Valley Community Center — 360 Kings Village Road, Scotts Valley, CA 95066
  • Pacific Elementary School — 50 Ocean Street, Davenport, CA 95017

With the closing of Santa Cruz County TEPs, the county has established a resource number that evacuees can call if they need assistance. That number is: 831-454-2181.

Evacuation orders:

  • Santa Cruz County — With evacuation orders lifted in this county, we informed our hotel clients from this county about this change on Thursday. Residents are making plans for their next steps by either returning home or moving into more comfortable long-term housing. Our Red Cross workers have been reaching out to assist residents in making such plans. For evacuation information in this county, visit zonehaven.com.
  • Monterey County — With evacuation orders lifted in most areas of this county, residents are making plans for their next steps by either returning home or moving into more comfortable long-term housing. Our Red Cross workers have been reaching out to assist residents in making such plans. For evacuation information in this county, visit www.co.monterey.ca.us/winterstorm.
  • San Mateo County — With evacuation orders lifted in this county, we informed our hotel clients from this county about this change on Thursday. Residents are making plans for their next steps by either returning home or moving into more comfortable long-term housing. Our Red Cross workers have been reaching out to assist residents in making such plans. For evacuation information in this county, visit zonehaven.com.

Other related information from the American Red Cross:

  • Please prepare now: For tips and other information about a range of emergency situations, please visit redcross.org/gethelp to learn more.
  • How has our Red Cross disaster response work been modified because of the pandemic? See this story.
  • You can support our disaster-response work in two very important ways: Become a Red Cross volunteer and/or make a financial donation.
    • Become a volunteer: Please consider getting trained as a Shelter Worker so that you can help us help others during wildfires and other large disasters. For more information and/or to start your application process; just go today to redcross.org/volunteer/become-a-volunteer.html.
    • Make a financial donation: Just go here and designate your gift for Disaster Relief. Thank you so very much!

Latino Engagement Team deployment reinforces the value of community connections

By Mariana Vimbela

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The author surveys damage from the Glass Fire during her two-week deployment. (Photo courtesy of Mariana Vimbela)
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As is seemingly the case with every disaster deployment, there was plenty for me and other Red Crossers to learn while taking part in the organization’s humanitarian response to the Glass Fire in Northern California this past October. During this particular deployment, I was regularly reminded of the importance of making connections in the affected communities in order to maximize our relief and recovery efforts. Read more

How Red Cross teams supported those affected by regional wildfires

Since mid-August, when many of the wildfires described below started in our region, we have been updating this post on a regular basis. Now that most of our efforts are focused on helping residents as part of the recovery phase of these Red Cross responses, we will only update this post if future circumstances warrant.

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Please see the information below that summarizes all of the great work our volunteers, employees, and partners have done to support our communities. We are also so appreciative of the donors whose generosity makes our work possible.

Background: The lightning storms that swept through our Northern California Coastal Region in mid-August caused a number of large and destructive fires in our chapter areas, prompting quick responses by our region’s Red Cross teams. Other fires subsequently started in our region in September, including the Glass Fire in Napa and Sonoma Counties.

Working alongside our government and community partners, Red Cross teams — comprising responders from inside and outside our region — have provided shelter, food, and comfort to the many residents impacted by these wildfires. Read more

‘I just can’t thank you enough’

Having returned home after their Glass Fire evacuation, a Santa Rosa couple shares their Red Cross story

By Dave Skutnik

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Red Cross disaster worker Leigh Elliott is shown with Ila and Mike Ervin at the Ervin’s Santa Rosa area home following the Glass Fire.
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As flames from the dangerous Glass Fire roared toward them, Mike and Ila Ervin — like so many on the night of September 27 — were forced to flee their rural home near the Northern California city of Santa Rosa.

“The sheriff came around and said we had to get out,” recalls Mike. “There was barely any time to even pack anything. We had to go — now.” Read more

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