2014 Heroes Breakfast a Success

Thank you to everyone who attended and supported the 18th Annual Heroes Breakfast in Seattle! Because of the community’s generous support we were able to raise over $387,000 to support our critical services and programs.

For more than a century, the Red Cross has been a community leader in emergency preparedness and response. Our Annual Heroes Breakfast honors that longstanding tradition of heroism by recognizing local individuals whose extraordinary acts of courage or kindness make them a hero.

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This year, 10 individuals were honored for lifesaving acts, preparedness measures and other efforts in our community. Thank you to all of the heroes, table captains, sponsors and attendees. A special thank you to this year’s Leadership Sponsors: Costco Wholesale and Puget Sound Energy. Also, thank you to our award sponsors: The Boeing Company, Coinstar, Overlake Medical Center, PEMCO Insurance, Safeco Insurance and Symetra. As always, we couldn’t have done it without you! What a wonderful event.

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To view photos from the 2014 Heroes Breakfast, visit our Flickr photostream, and to see the Heroes stories visit our YouTube channel.

Interested in becoming a table captain or sponsor for 2015? Please email Kayla Lehrman or call (206) 726-3543.

View the 2014 King County Heroes Bios and 2014 Heroes Sponsors on our website.

Broadening the Red Cross Blogosphere

Cody teaches local law students about the Restoring Family Links program.

Cody teaches local law students about the Restoring Family Links program.

Sarah presents the Red Cross' seven fundamental principles.

Sarah presents the Red Cross’ seven fundamental principles.

Check out these excellent posts written by Western Washington Red Crossers!

Cody Austin, International Services Coordinator and AmeriCorps, wrote about Contributing to Social Justice through our Restoring Family Links program.  Cody writes of his experiences helping Iraqi clients, “As a member of an organization committed to protecting humanitarian values and social justice, I consider it a great privilege to help Iraqi refugees obtain their due and restore their human dignity.” His compassion certainly exemplifies what it means to be a Red Crosser.

Sarah Rothman, International Services and Language Bank Manager, wrote about Clara Barton in honor of International Women’s Day.  She writes, “Throughout her entire life, Clara was a fearless leader in the humanitarian movement as well as the movement towards equality for women.” Sarah’s insight reminds us of the importance of our past and how it has affected our work today.

Both posts appear on the national Red Cross’ Restoring Family Links blog. The blog is dedicated to documenting the successes of the international program to reconnect family members separated by armed conflict and natural disaster.

Cody and Sarah’s posts serve as great reminders of the hard work Red Crossers do locally and all over the world to reconnect families and alleviate human suffering. Thank you for all you do!

Recruiting AmeriCorps Members for 2014-2015 service year

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2013 – 2014 AmeriCorps Team

Are you looking for an opportunity to make a real difference in the community? Do you want to gain new skills and experiences? Are you passionate about empowering people to prepare for and recover from disasters and emergencies?

The American Red Cross Western Washington Chapters is seeking 20 enthusiastic individuals to serve as full-time AmeriCorps Team members from September 1, 2014 through July 15, 2015 in the following positions:

Client Services Coordinator (4 positions-Bremerton/Olympia/Seattle/Tacoma)  The Client Services Coordinator position will be trained to assist disaster clients following Client Assistance guidelines and procedures and will also be responsible for supporting daily client casework activities. This position will coordinate with the Disaster Cycle Specialist to support other chapter client caseworkers. This position will also be required to attend related community partner meetings in support of chapter disaster response.

Community Preparedness Educator (3 positions-Bremerton/Seattle/Tacoma) The Community Preparedness Educator serves preparedness functions within the Disaster Cycle at the American Red Cross Western Washington Chapters. This position is primarily responsible for supporting our Safe in the Sound initiative by providing disaster education to traditionally underserved populations, community based organizations and neighborhood groups. This position engages in marketing and community outreach to enhance the impact of our programs and to help build collaborative partnerships.  Additionally, the member serves as the volunteer coordinator/trainer to support the preparedness volunteer team.

Disaster Cycle Training Coordinator and Volunteer Retention & Support (1 position-Olympia,) This position provides the pathway for new Disaster Volunteers to navigate through the Disaster Program initial intake and training process – the member will contact the volunteer, and answer any questions they may have regarding Group & Activity assignments, training, meetings, and simply what’s next. This position will also be required to attend related community partner meetings in support of chapter disaster response. Additionally this position will be responsible for preparing materials for classes, updating the training databases, coordinating with instructors and creating a training calendar based on the need for classes. This position will be assisting volunteers to help determine what training they may need and following up to ensure their success. This position will also be supporting program recruitment and retention. This position will also track and communicate volunteer needs, preferences, and assess suitable and appropriate placement.

Organizational and Neighborhood Preparedness Educator (1 position-Seattle) This position serves preparedness functions within the Disaster Cycle at the American Red Cross Western Washington Chapters. This position is primarily responsible for supporting our Safe in the Sound initiative by providing disaster education to organizations and neighborhood groups. This position engages in marketing and community outreach to enhance the impact of our programs and to help build collaborative partnerships. Additionally, the member serves as the volunteer coordinator to support the preparedness volunteer team.

Service to Armed Forces (SAF) Support (1 position-Tacoma) The Service to Armed Forces Department of the American Red Cross Mount Rainier Chapter provides compassionate assistance, referral service, and resource information to individuals and families of the Military 24/7. The member will facilitate outreach presentations, deployment briefings, and information fairs scheduled for active duty military members, their dependents, as well as their extended family members. The member will spend the majority of their service on outreach presentations, deployment briefings, and information fairs scheduled for active duty military members, their dependents, as well as their extended family members.

Volunteer Programs and Group Coordinator (2 positions-Seattle/Tacoma) The team member is primarily responsible for the coordination of the First Aid Station Team program.  The member’s duties will involve outreach to community events and coordination of applications and event schedule.  The member will coordinate and grow the existing opportunities for volunteer groups and short term opportunities and projects. This position will also be responsible for the annual Volunteer Recognition Week and the MLK Day of Service Project.

Volunteer Recruitment & Intake Coordinator (2 positions-Seattle/Tacoma) The member will be responsible for guiding volunteers through the intake process, processing inquires and applications, coordinating transfers, conducting interviews, and leading information sessions. The member will serve closely with the intake team to ensure we are delivering quality service to all new and continuing volunteers.  The member will also attend events and activities to help with volunteer recruitment efforts.

Volunteer Systems Specialist (1 position-Seattle) The team member is primarily responsible for overall coordination of the Red Cross’ Volunteer Management System, Volunteer Connection.  Volunteer Connection is a single organization-wide system which allows volunteer managers to track their volunteer’s training, activity, hours, and more.  The member will primarily serve as technical support for this system providing guidance and advice on integrating and utilizing the system.  The member will also be responsible for managing continued cleanup of the volunteer database.  The position will also serve to provide regional training support.

Youth Program Specialist (2 positions-Seattle) The AmeriCorps team member will support the continuing growth of the Red Cross youth program that empowers young people by enlightening them in ways to serve their community. The Youth Program is primarily responsible for marketing and teaching disaster preparedness and health/safety classes to youth in the community and to traditionally underserved populations.

BENEFITS:

  • Invaluable experience from a nationally and internationally-respected organization for school, a future job or new career
  • Extensive training
  • $5,550 AmeriCorps Education Award (upon successful completion of service term commitment and 1700 hours of service)
  • $1,155/month living stipend (before taxes)
  • Basic Health Insurance (member only and only if no other health insurance)
  • Subsidized childcare (if qualified)
  • Student loan forbearance (on qualifying loans)

REQUIREMENTS: 

  • Commit to serve full-time for 10 1/2 months (September 1, 2014 – July 15, 2015)
  • Successfully serve in the position, serve 40 hours a week and meet the 1700 minimum requirement for a full term of service
  • Be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • Must be 17 years of age at the start date of service
  • Have a valid Driver’s License & clean driving record
  • Pass required criminal background checks

Members should also be comfortable working with a wide variety of people from all walks of life and backgrounds, and respect the Red Cross principles of neutrality and impartiality.

TO APPLY:

To apply online, click on https://my.americorps.gov/mp/listing/publicRequestSearch.do.

  1. Enter Project Type – AmeriCorps State/National
  2. Enter State – Washington
  3. Enter Program Name – Red Cross and click on the red x search button.
  4. Click on interested position(s)

Please also submit a resume and cover letter highlighting strengths & skills for each position to Nancy Watchie, AmeriCorps Team Coordinator at nancy.watchie@redcross.org.

PLEASE NOTE:  AmeriCorps team position offers are contingent upon AmeriCorps funding notification, to be announced by June 30, 2014. 

Why I help: Norm and Joyce Bottenberg

by volunteer journalist Deborah Griffith MacSwain

 It was love at first sight.  It was a Valentine’s Day weekend a few years ago, and Norm and Joyce Bottenberg had just gotten engaged.  They first met in 1983 at an American Red Cross Operational Management Training in Virginia. The Red Cross brought them together, and their activism with the organization cemented their lives.

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When Joyce thinks about that special weekend meeting with Norm, she fondly recollects that after the Red Cross training was over, they “exchanged mail a few times, then Norm came to Boston for a weekend [visit] in 1985.”  When he got off the plane, Joyce was waiting for him with a Valentine’s Day card and a book about Seattle (Norm’s city).  Norm recalled that when he got off the plane, he had a Valentine’s card and a book about Boston (Joyce’s city).

Imagine their surprise and delight when they found out they had picked the same Valentine’s card to give to each other!  Norm exclaimed, “It was a match made in heaven.”  Soon afterwards, they were married.  The Bottenberg’s strong marriage was matched by their dedication to the Red Cross.

Norm Bottenberg received a Certificate of Merit award, when he and a Red Crosser ran several blocks to give CPR to a collapsed person in distress.  The Certificate of Merit is the highest award given for using Red Cross training to help save a person’s life.  It is signed by the President of the United States.

At the time he received the award, Norm was manning a Red Cross First Aid station at an American Legion parade in Seattle.  Norm stated, “I like to get involved.  If the Red Cross needs someone and I have the skills, I will do it.”   His attitude reflects his actions.  For example, when Norm was 18 years old, he organized kids to take free Red Cross swim classes at a neighbor’s pool.  And later, he has taught and managed numerous Red Cross Health and Safety programs.

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Like must attract like, because his wife, Joyce Harvey Bottenberg, also received a Certificate of Merit.  In 1981, she performed life-saving CPR on a neighbor.  But much earlier than that, she had discovered that helping people was in her blood.  Her first acquaintance with the American Red Cross was when she was just three years old.  She said, “I remember walking with my dad to the Melrose Massachusetts Chapter, so he could sign First Aid certificates.”

Later on, Joyce worked with the Red Cross as a night caseworker, where she often took calls that required quick thinking. “I learned how to provide assistance over the phone, give referrals, and, in essence, become a trouble shooter for people in need,” she said.

Over the years, both Bottenbergs have served in volunteer and paid positions with the American Red Cross organization.  Both have received their 55-year pins.  They remarked that they continue to volunteer for the Seattle Red Cross chapter because … “we want to make a difference!”

Help Red Cross Sell Out the ShoWare Center!

The Seattle Thunderbirds hockey organization is hosting a Safe in the Sound (SITS) night to promote Red Cross and Puget Sound Energy safety and preparedness messages on March 9 at 5pm.

Red Cross volunteers, staff and community partners are invited to enjoy a 25% discount on tickets with the discount code “SAFE” at the website below.  After the discount, tickets are $18/per person.

  •  TICKETS: http://tickets.seattlethunderbirds.com/
  •  DISCOUNT CODE:  “SAFE”
  •  WHEN: Sunday, March 9, 5pm, Seattle Thunderbirds vs Vancouver Giants
  •  WHERE: ShoWare Center, 625 West James Street, Kent, WA 98032 (free parking)

Feel free to wear red to show your Red Cross love. We can’t wait to see you there to support the Red Cross and the Thunderbirds!

FAST in February

February has been a busier month than expected for the First Aid Station Team (FAST) thanks to an exciting Super Bowl win. Last week, they supported the Seahawks Super Bowl parade and the Valentine’s Day Dash 5k in Green Lake.

Our FAST is committed to providing premier first aid services at festivals, races, parades and markets in the greater Seattle area. The generosity of donors and compassion of volunteers allows FAST services to remain free of charge at events. All the volunteers are qualified aid personnel with energy and drive for helping their community.

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From left to right: Team member Lucy Liu, team leads Will Tsang, Darby Tyler, and Ariella Angell, and team leads in training Ashley Pellicane, Thomas Bliss, and Kevin Kenney.

“FAST gets out in the community and people see the hands-on application of First Aid and CPR training,” said Ariella Angell, FAST Team Lead. “It encourages them to get trained too.”

Being asked to support the City of Seattle at the Seahawks parade speaks volumes of the caliber of the team. They did an great job providing first aid and helping keep Seahawks fans safe and warm. We couldn’t be prouder of their efforts!

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FAST provides first aid at the Seahawks Super Bowl Parade.

FAST also had a great opportunity to practice their skills and continue training new team leads at the Valentine’s Day Dash. They provided free blood pressure checks for attendees and had a great time despite the cold weather!

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FAST members and leads laughing over a training video at the Valentine’s Day 5k at Green Lake.

Western Washington Launches 2014 Webinar Series

Our Community, Neighborhood and Organizational Preparedness educators launched their annual webinar series on January 8. Each month, the team covers a new preparedness topic via webcast to better prepare interested businesses, communities and individuals for disaster. Webinar topics range from building your disaster kit to winter weather safety.

The team gives  in-person presentations about disaster preparedness to community groups, businesses and neighborhoods all over Western Washington free of charge. The webinar platform allows the team to tailor their presentations to a specific aspect of preparedness and reach a wide group of people at once. The webinars are recorded, which allows interested individuals to watch as they wish.

Allison DeDonato (left) and Sarah Finley get ready for January's webinar. The topic - Disaster Preparedness for Seniors.

Allison DeDonato (left) and Sarah Finley get ready for January’s webinar. The topic – Disaster Preparedness for Seniors.

“The webinar series gives people a different forum to interact with us,” said Allison DeDonato, Community Preparedness Educator. “It feels personal because they get to ‘chat’ and ask us the what-if questions they can’t ask in a general preparedness presentation.”

The 20 minute webinar platform also allows the team to hit a lot of important information in a short amount of time. They focus on the main points of the topic so the audience comes away with a clear understanding of the topic and tangible action items to help them get better prepared.

“We’re here to help,” said Sarah Finley, Workplace Preparedness Educator. “Join us!”

The 2014 Webinar Series Schedule:

  • February 12 – Emergency Communication Plans
  • March 12 – Hazard Hunt for Work and Home
  • April 9 – Earthquake Preparedness
  • May 14 – Building Your Disaster Kit
  • June 11 – Summer Safety
  • July 9 – Limited Mobility Preparedness
  • August 13 – Map Your Neighborhood
  • September 10 – Water & Medication Storage Safety
  • October 8 – Designing an Earthquake Drill
  • November 12 – Winter Weather
  • December 10 – Travel Safety

All webinars begin at 10:30am, PST. Visit safeinthesound.org to register!

Little Boy Raises Money for Typhoon Relief

Cameron Thompson is indeed a bright little boy. He was watching the news and saw the story on the Philippines. He asked his mom about it and she told him it was a big storm and that the people lost everything. He learned that children in the Philippines have even lost their toys. Cameron decided that he could help the children by raising money.

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Our Mount Rainier chapter in Tacoma gave Cameron a short tour of the office, showed him the ERV and gave him a certificate honoring him for the $43.20 he raised as well as bag of preparedness things. The stickers and safety whistles were a hit!

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Cameron was joined by his parents Rebecca and Scott and his little brother Connor. Thank you very much to Cameron and his family! Your donation will go a long way to help children in the Philippines.

Seattle Red Cross Communications Team Supports Continuity of Operations

By J. B. Hall, KF7GVZ, Drill and Events Coordinator

Communications that are essential to Red Cross operations depend on infrastructure that is vulnerable to disruption in emergencies. Both telephone and Internet use local physical infrastructure that can be damaged by disaster, and can be overloaded by increased demand during response to disaster. The American Red Cross has a cadre of volunteers who have made themselves available to help bridge this gap in communications. They are the Amateur radio operators who form the Seattle Red Cross Communications Team.

The Communications Team was out in the stormy weather on Saturday, January 11, exercising the techniques they would use to maintain communication in the region and to the rest of the world. This included operating the radio room in the Seattle Chapter headquarters and establishing a remote communications site in Newcastle.

Communication Trailer Crew ready to deploy.  From left: Casey Hickerson, AE7SL; Brian Shaw, KE7CNM; Brian Drake, N7BKD; and John Carscadden, W7AFX

Communication Trailer Crew ready to deploy. From left: Casey Hickerson, AE7SL; Brian Shaw, KE7CNM; Brian Drake, N7BKD; and John Carscadden, W7AFX

The Seattle Radio Room is equipped with radios that can communicate locally, nationally and internationally without benefit of local land-line connections. During Saturday’s exercise our team communicated with stations from Oregon to British Columbia in an international exercise known as CrossBorder 2014. This was accomplished using radios that rely on line-of-sight communications that communicated through radio stations known as “repeaters” that relay signals from strategic locations. In this case a repeater on Lyman Hill near Bellingham, owned and operated by local Amateur radio operators, was able to conduct voice communication with stations from Oregon to British Columbia.

At the same time our team was establishing and maintaining communications in the local area and with the Mount Rainier and Olympic Peninsula Chapters using other Amateur radio repeaters. Local and Olympia contacts were made using a repeater on Cougar Mountain, and Olympic Peninsula contacts were made using a repeater at Blynn lookout, between Sequim Bay and Discovery Bay on the Olympic Peninsula.

Repeaters themselves are subject to damage and overload in emergencies. For that reason our team maintains the ability to establish a remote communication station that can serve the same purpose. In Saturday’s exercise they deployed a Communication Trailer to the Golf Club at Newcastle. This club is located on the west slope of Cougar Mountain in a position that overlooks the Puget Sound region.  Line of sight communication can be achieved from “Vancouver to Vancouver” using this site. The team set up the trailer and its radios at Newcastle to establish regional voice radio communications, and linked this communications capability to the Seattle Radio Room.

Seattle Radio Room Crew, from left: Steve Tivel, N7CLF; Susan Matthews, KF7RTF; and Kathy Shuman, KF7TTM.

Seattle Radio Room Crew, from left: Steve Tivel, N7CLF; Susan Matthews, KF7RTF; and Kathy Shuman, KF7TTM.

There is more to communications than voice, and there is a need to communicate outside of the region. To satisfy those needs, the team deployed a ViaSat Surfbeam® 2 Portable Terminal for satellite communications. This terminal, a new national American Red Cross asset, has been placed with our Chapter. The terminal communicates with a geostationary satellite to provide a broadband Internet connection that is independent of local Internet infrastructure. The team set up the portable terminal and achieved the Internet connection in spite of the windy and rainy conditions.

ViaSat dish setup with ballast buckets, with Dave Hersey, KE7PBA and John Carscadden, W7AFX.

ViaSat dish setup with ballast buckets, with Dave Hersey, KE7PBA and John Carscadden, W7AFX.

A different technique was used to establish regional email communications. An Amateur radio system called WinLink 2000 is a radio messaging system in which an email message is originated from an amateur radio station running appropriate hardware and software, is transmitted by radio to a Radio Mail Server (RMS) Gateway that relays this email message into the Internet. The team deployed a portable RMS station with the Communications Trailer to Newcastle and used it to handle significant amounts of exercise email traffic. The combination of the portable RMS and the ViaSat terminal enable us to handle email traffic from any station within radio range of the Newcastle site to any email addressee on the Internet.

The Seattle Communications Team conducts these exercise periodically and welcomes other Red Cross staff and volunteers to come with us to observe. Sometimes the weather is even nice!