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.
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
“The level of coordination and care was outstanding,” Esalen Institute’s Terry Gilbey said of the Red Cross response to the Dolan Fire. (Photo by Jens Wazel)
Founded in the 1960s in picturesque Big Sur, the Esalen Institute has a well-earned reputation for exploring human consciousness and developing human potential. The center attracts visitors from around the world whose interests in subjects such as personal growth, meditation, massage, yoga, and spirituality are explored less seriously by traditional universities and religions.
Terry Gilbey, the General Manager/CEO, has been with the institute since 2016. Just a year into his tenure, he helped the center stay afloat after landslides and a bridge failure made the facility inaccessible for many months. So the institute — and Terry — has had some practice with disasters. Read more
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)
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
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
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.
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
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)
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
Rayvon Williams is pictured at the Watsonville Municipal Airport, where he serves as manager.
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