Volunteer of the Year Award recipient Tiffany Deneaux (second from right) with Vincent Valenzuela (left), Alzinia Pailin (second from left), and John Ruiz (right).
Tiffany Deneaux first volunteered for the Red Cross in 2017 during the Tubbs Fire after her local YMCA in Marin was converted into a shelter for the fire victims. In two short years, she’s deployed several times and stepped into leadership roles. For this commitment and vigor, Tiffany received the 2019 Marin County Volunteer of the Year.
“[During Tubbs,] I worked in the warehouse. I got in with the planning department and got to see them in action…it just kind of caught me,” explains Deneaux. “The people seemed extremely dedicated and seemed very idealistic and very much in support of the community.”
By Debbi Behrman
Ed Silva with City of Oakland Battalion Chief Zoraida Diaz. Photo: Ziji Zhou | American Red Cross
In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit Florida and Louisiana causing catastrophic damage and loss of life. It was the deadliest hurricane in the United States since 1928. A month later, Ed Silva saw that help was still needed, and he called the Red Cross to volunteer. Ed went in one day for training, and the next, he was on a plane to Florida.
This past year, Ed received the Clara Barton Award for Meritorious Volunteer Leadership. It turns out that Katrina was just the beginning of an action-filled volunteer career with the Red Cross that spans 15 years.
Berlin Gomez-Muniz, 11, received a Red Cross “Hero” medal for alerting her family to a Dec. 19 fire in San Jose. Her mother, Frankie, and Silicon Valley Red Cross chapter board chair Terry Unter look on. Photo: Mark Butler/American Red Cross
Berlin Gomez-Muniz stood quietly as a 3-inch diameter “Hero” medal was draped around her neck at the Jan. 16 Silicon Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross board meeting, but when it was the most important, the 11-year-old says, she yelled so loud her throat hurt after she alerted her extended family to a fire just before Christmas. Read more
by Marcia Antipa
The Dorsey’s first Christmas back home! left to right: Lynn, Brendan, Bill, and Brian
The weekend before the 2017 Tubbs fire swept through Santa Rosa, Bill and Lynne Dorsey were visiting their son in Arizona. As their flight home landed on October 8, they noticed the plane was buffeted by unusually strong winds.
Before they went to bed in their Coffey Park neighborhood, they heard there was a fire in Napa, but were not too concerned. However, just a few hours later, they woke up to hear the wind rushing and howling around their house. Then, they looked out the window. “We could see the embers coming out of the sky and emergency vehicle lights.
From the ashes of wildfires rise everyday heroes. Betsy Witthohn is one of them.
After reaching safety, the fire survivor recounts how time stood still two years ago until mandatory evacuation orders were lifted. Her mind was preoccupied with anxiety as she feared for the worst.
Returning to the area, she found the flames spared her residence. Many nearby were not as fortunate. That experience served as a catalyst to becoming a Red Cross volunteer. Her husband joined, as well.
During this time of year, when we remember the special people in our lives, it’s impossible to overlook the amazing work of the many volunteers who are at the heart of everything we do in the American Red Cross.
Dwayne Taaffe is one such volunteer, supporting our Central Coast Chapter’s Disaster Action Team. Following an early-morning response this week in which Dwayne and other members of our team provided “canteening” services to firefighters responding to an industrial fire in Salinas, Dwayne sent me the following email in response to a quick thank-you note. Read more
Smoke from the nearby Kincade Fire mars the California blue sky. Photo by Lindsay Peak, American Red Cross
To see more stories related to the Red Cross response to the Kincade Fire, please go here or see list of stories, below.
[Updated November 4, 2019] More than 400 Red Cross workers alongside government and community partners are providing shelters, meals, health services, comfort and other support for affected residents.
- More than 6,500 people stayed in Red Cross and community shelters in Northern California. With the lifting of evacuations orders, all shelters have been closed.
- With partners, the Red Cross has served more than 51,000 meals and snacks, provided more than 2,500 relief items, and made more than 2,800 individual care contacts.
- This week, at the Local Assistance Center, affected families can meet one-on-one with trained Red Cross caseworkers who will assess their disaster-caused needs, offer recovery information, help with medication and eyeglass replacement and other emergency needs, and referrals to other agencies. Financial assistance is also available to those whose home was destroyed or had major damage.