Category Archives: Homepage Posts — Other

Fire, fear, and a helping hand

By Marcia Antipa

Roxanne, Hunter, Bill, and Vera Corbin

On a hot, windy Thursday in late August, the Corbin family of Morgan Hill got a cellphone alert: an evacuation warning, telling them to get ready to leave their home. Firefighters said the SCU Lightning Complex Fire threatened their community.

Bill Corbin realized the threat was serious.

“The wind was blowing southeast,” says Bill. “If it was to pick up, we would definitely be in danger.” Read more

A smile to share

Volunteer BreAnna Sanabria and a smile behind the mask.

A few weeks after beginning training, BreAnna Sanabria packed up to board a flight for the first time in seven years. For the first time, she deployed on August 22 to support the American Red Cross response to fires in Northern California. No stranger to service, BreAnna was more nervous about the flight than the work itself.

“I like being social and like to give back,” says BreAnna. “Our parents always said we were very blessed and that we should always give back. I thought the Red Cross was a way I could do that.”

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Actor discovers why our volunteers have been VIPs during CZU Fire

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Preparing to assemble re-entry kits for fire evacuees returning home, Casey Affleck is briefed by Michele Averill, CEO for the Central Coast Chapter (right), and Kerrin Welsh, Regional Preparedness Manager, in a warehouse in the community of Aromas. (Photo by Brian Nichols)
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As a long-time Red Cross volunteer and disaster responder, I have seen first-hand the impact disasters have on individuals, families, first responders, and entire communities. Although the resulting devastation and loss are unbearable, natural disasters can also bring out the very best in people who step forward to help in any way possible.

Academy Award-winning actor Casey Affleck and his friend Brian Nichols were two such people, wanting to provide assistance during the devastating CZU Lightning Complex Fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Read more

‘This One Really Hit Me’ — A Volunteer Story

Written by Patricia Friedman

Red Crosser Anne Johnson; a virtual selfie.

American Red Cross Volunteer, Anne Johnson, calls Fairbanks, Alaska home, but this year, she has found herself all around California – virtually that is. Anne is a recovery casework volunteer and spends her days calling people impacted by wildfires to offer Red Cross support services. In addition to resources, Anne also spends long hours on the phone, offering one invaluable service: connection.

“I was nervous about virtual deployment,” Anne says. “How do you offer something long distance from Alaska?” Yet, she quickly figured it out. With the COVID-19 pandemic keeping people apart, Anne realized that people desired a personal connection and to be heard. Something struck her during a recent conversation with a Red Cross client. “This one really hit me,” Anne said, and she knew she had to do something more.

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Red Cross is Music to My Ears

Written by Patricia Friedman

Dennis at his house. Photo | Dennis Patterson

Dennis Patterson’s first love is playing music, but his second is helping others, so he was “blown away” by the American Red Cross’ response to the California Wildfires.

A Santa Cruz local since 1952, 72-year old Dennis, and many in his small community of Ben Lomond, didn’t realize the size of the CZU Lightning Complex Fire, which to-date has consumed more than 86,000 acres. Dennis was already overwhelmed and in shock from a horizontal tornado that days earlier, had swept through his neck of the woods, knocking a 100-foot Sycamore tree onto his tiny house. “I can’t describe it. I couldn’t even breathe when I got out the door,” Dennis told friends who came to help at daylight.

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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

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