Red Cross Welcomes New Regional Chief Development Officer, Adrienne Bellinger!

We are very proud to announce Adrienne Bellinger as the new Regional Chief Development Officer for the Columbia Region, which serves 28 counties in South Carolina.

As the Regional Chief Development Officer, she will develop annual and multi-year development strategies, lead a regional development team to achieve financial growth, and oversee the implementation of fundraising campaigns.

“We are thrilled that Adrienne will be the new Regional Chief Development Officer for the Columbia Region and know that her proven track record of success will help the Red Cross provide its valuable services within our communities,” said Scott R. Salemme, regional chief executive officer, American Red Cross, Columbia Region. “Adrienne brings a wealth of experience to the Red Cross where she will lead a team of both paid and volunteer staff to raise vital funds to support the humanitarian mission of the organization.”

Prior to joining the Red Cross, Adrienne most recently served as the Director of Institutional Giving at the South Carolina State Museum Foundation (SCSMF) where she had previously served as Executive Director. During her tenure with the SCSMF, she led a successful $23.5 million Capital Campaign for the Museum, secured major gifts for exhibits and special projects from the private and local government sectors, and developed successful annual giving programs. Bellinger also established and maintained government, corporate and individual relationships and facilitated numerous special events.

Prior to joining the SCSMF, Bellinger served for seven years as Director of Governmental Affairs for Capitol Consultants, Inc in Columbia. She was a registered lobbyist for nearly 30 clients, including the State Museum Foundation. She coordinated legislative and public affairs activities for the firm’s clients and also served as media liaison, prepared public policy documents for clients and designed company and client informational, educational and promotional materials.

Prior to that, Bellinger served as Manager of Legislative and Political Affairs for Public Affairs Strategies, Inc. in Montgomery, AL, where she lobbied on behalf of the firm’s clients and coordinated fundraising and special events.

Bellinger also served as the Director of Public Affairs for the Alabama Bankers Association in Montgomery, AL. In this position, she lobbied the Alabama legislature and served as editor and advertising manager for the Alabama Banker magazine.

Bellinger earned her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of South Carolina.

Coastal South Carolina Chapter Begins Red Cross Education Initiative

The Coastal SC Chapter of the American Red Cross kicked off it’s new education initiative at the North Strand Optimist Club meeting on Wednesday, June 27th. 

“Our goal is to educate the public, raise volunteer awareness and hopefully stimulate the generosity of donors by speaking to as many representative community organizations as possible about the Red Cross Mission,” said Connie Ross-Karl, major gifts officer.  “These forums are great for updates, too, particularly providing nimble monthly or more frequent platforms for this summer’s ever-worsening disasters.”

Coastal South Carolina Red Cross Executive Director, Nanci Conley, Major Gift Officer, Connie Ross-Karl and Club President, Marie Strickland stand with Maj. Ed Pulido, U.S. Army (Ret.) after he told his Red Cross story: “A Call is better than a Knock on the Door,” about the Red Cross Mission and Service to Armed Forces at the North Strand Optimist Club meeting in North Myrtle Beach, SC.

Major Ed Pulido, U.S. Army (Ret.), vice president, public relations and military affairs of Folds of Honor Foundation, spoke about the Red Cross at the Club meeting  in North Myrtle Beach, SC. Pulido was invited to be one of the Red Cross kick-off speakers for its series of education initiatives about Red Cross service missions locally and around the nation and world.

Maj. Pulido, named a Red Cross Military Hero in 2005, told his Red Cross story:  “A Call is better than a Knock on the Door,” about the Red Cross Mission of Service to Armed Forces.

While serving inIraqin 2004 with the Coalition Military Assistance Training Team under the command of General David Petraeus, he lost his leg and almost lost his life when his vehicle hit an Improvised Explosive Device (I.E.D), or roadside bomb. Due to the extensive injuries to his left knee, doctors had to amputate his leg. For his heroism and valor, the President of theUnited Statesalong with Gen. Petraeus awarded him the Bronze Star with valor, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, and Joint Service Commendation and Achievement Medals.

Maj. Pulido told how Red Cross facilitated critical communications and other assistance with his wife, Karen, and his family during his immediate ordeal and long recovery and about his personal dedication to Red Cross.

Connie Ross-Karl introduced Maj. Pulido with a brief overview of the history and mission of Red Cross. Such programs, highlighting the various Red Cross missions, including as well as Service to Armed Forces:  Disaster Relief, Health & Safety and Blood Services, will also be presented soon to the North Myrtle Beach Women’s and Christian Women’s Clubs and to Conway Rotary. 

For information on scheduling a Coastal SC Red Cross program or sharing your Red Cross story, call 843-477-0020.

Red Cross Celebrates Volunteers and Board of Directors at Annual Meeting in Rock Hill

The Upper Palmetto Chapter held its Annual Meeting and Cookout on Thursday, July 12th to celebrate its outstanding  Board of Directors and volunteers. 

Close to 100 people came to the Boyd Hill Recreation Center in Rock Hill to have dinner, play lawn games and trivia, and see the Chapter’s first “Disaster Display.”  Through the work of eight volunteers, attendees were invited to tents displaying the steps involved in Disaster Action Team Response, Service to Armed Forces, and Shelter Operations. 

Winthrop intern Nicole Kayse helped organize the event, saying, “The best part was that families involved in our Chapter were able to meet each other, and hopefully create new friendships in and out of the Red Cross.” 

Youth volunteers also coordinated a trivia contest with prizes for those with the best Red Cross knowledge, and distributed gift bags of coloring books, crayons, snack containers, and other toys to young children (courtesy of State Farm). 

“It was great to see so many generations of Red Crossers together in the same room,” said Katharine Correll, Exexutive Director of the Upper Palmetto Chapter.  “We had volunteers who have been with the Chapter for 20 years talking to our new high school-aged volunteers.  It shows that the Red Cross mission is for everyone.”

Red Cross receives financial donation in honor of Tiffany Circle members’ support for wounded warriors

Red Cross Coastal South Carolina Chapter Tiffany Circle Society Member Anne Pearce Baroody and Tidewater Charity Tournament Committee (TCTC) Director Bill Pearson view the poignant photographs of Anne’s parents and of a young Marine who lost parts of both of his legs in February in Afghanistan. Cpl. Garrett Carnes, a 22-year-old from Mooresville, NC, is the recipient of the motorized wheelchair and van customized to accept the wheelchair, a gift from Anne’s mother, Marnie Pearce, and her family. TCTC honored Pearce with a major-gift donation to Red Cross on her behalf and in her name to the Clara Barton Society of the Coastal South Carolina Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Tiffany Circle Society Member, Anne Pearce Baroody and Tidewater Charity Tournament Committee (TCTC), Director Bill Pearson stand in front of the donated van that is customized for Marine Cpl. Garrett Carnes, a 22-year-old from Mooresville, NC, who lost parts of both legs from an I.E.D. in Afghanistan in February 2012.

The following is first-hand account of a touching gift, given by Coastal South Carolina Chapter of the American Red Cross Tiffany Circle Members, Anne Pearce Baroody, Jean Rentz and Walker Pearce, their families and their mother, Marnie Pearce, to Tidewater Charity Tournament Committee (TCTC) on behalf of one its charities, Folds of Honor, which serves wounded warriors and their families.

The gift was managed by TCTC’s Director Bill Pearson and Volunteer Billy Karl.  Here is Bill’s story, no doubt felt by every volunteer who brings comfort to another and asks nothing for himself:

This June, I will be 67.  For more than half my life I have been involved in some form of fundraising and charitable endeavors. If it were not for the charity of others in the early part of my life, this part of my life would be much different.  Over the years, I have been inspired by the generosity of complete strangers who time and time again reach out to help others, most times someone whom they will never know and will never meet—just pure giving from the heart, caring and a genuine concern for others.

Following the examples of these wonderful human beings and out of need to pay forward the gifts that were extended to me, I see many more years of charity in my future.  For as long as that time may be, I cannot imagine the convergence of events that I have experienced in the last five days ever happening again.

It began on a Friday afternoon, a phone call from a neighbor who is with the Red Cross, informing me of a family that was looking for a disabled military veteran who could use a motorized wheelchair and a van customized to accept the wheelchair and asking me if I could help find that someone.  If I stopped my story right now, this alone would qualify as a once in a lifetime event, but it gets better.

My initial calls to some veteran support groups did not find anyone locally who fit the need and I decided to try again the next day, quit for the night and watch the evening news on TV.  A segment on the national evening news was about the homecoming of Marine Cpl. Garrett Carnes, a 22-year-old from Mooresville, NC, who lost parts of both legs from an I.E.D. in Afghanistan in February 2012.

I sent the link to that segment to the donor family with a “What do you think?” message. By that Sunday, the message came back that the van and wheelchair were being donated to Cpl. Carnes. Tears of joy were everywhere.  The timing of events overwhelmed us all.  A call to Cpl. Garrett’s parents was first met with some understandable skepticism, “Was this some type of mean scam?”  After a few more calls and sending pictures of the van and chair, they were overjoyed.  Garrett’s reaction was “AWESOME.” 

There were many caring people involved in this wonderful example of generosity and caring—starting with the donors, my neighbors and TCTC volunteers and a local auto service shop who gave the van a safety check, free tires and more to the local car wash who offered a free wash and wax.  Later a service shop agreed to put the ramp in tip-top order.

This letter is not intended as a pat on the back to everyone involved—that was not their motivation.  I write it only to remind us all of the power we have to improve the human condition of others and the joy that we get in giving. It’s my sincere hope that in telling this story the next True American Hero whose life is forever changed by an injury while serving our country will also feel the love of others as Garrett has.

As for those involved in this story, no matter what higher power you believe in, we all agree that this was meant to be, a true blessing.

On April 28 and 29, TCTC celebrated a fundraising event on Tidewater Golf Course, North Myrtle Beach, with the van proudly displayed along with lots of patriotic décor to raise even more funds for Folds of Honor.  WMBF-TV sent a camera crew to interview Anne and Bill and to talk about this miracle of giving.  U.S. Marine Cpl. Garrett Carnes will soon receive the van from TCTC. He is expected to be at Walter Reed Hospital for the next year and half, where he is to undergo more surgery and physical therapy to continue his recovery.  On behalf of Marnie Pearce, TCTC made a major-gift donation in her name to the Clara Barton Society of the Coastal South Carolina Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Thank you to our local heroes!

Here’s to all the volunteers!

“Here’s to all volunteers, those dedicated people who believe in all work and no pay.”    -Robert Orben

April 15-21 is National Volunteer Week and the Red Cross wants to celebrate its dedicated volunteers and partners. These volunteers power the American Red Cross and making it possible for the Red Cross to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies.

Our volunteers are central to the work of the Red Cross in our commuinity and in communities across the country, as on average, the Red Cross has 15 volunteers for every one employee. Our volunteers are people of action—whether providing comfort to a family whose home has been washed away in a flood or getting an emergency message to a member of the military whose father is critically ill.

Today and always, we salute you.  Your dedication to serving others helps to make the vision of the Red Cross a reality.

March is Red Cross Month!

 

Volunteers from the Aiken County Chapter serve food in Raliegh, NC after a tornado outbreack devasted communities last spring.

President Barack Obama has proclaimed “March is American Red Cross Month,” upholding a tradition that began nearly 70 years ago.

During the very first March proclaimed as Red Cross Month, America was embattled in war abroad and fighting its way out of economic turmoil at home.   It was 1943 and many were struggling. Still, with mounting adversity, America came together in support of the humanitarian mission of the Red Cross.  This support continues today.

“After more than 130 years of providing humanitarian relief at home and abroad, the American Red Cross remains a reflection of the compassion and generosity central to our national identity,” states the 2012 Presidential Proclamation.  “As we celebrate American Red Cross Month, let us resolve to preserve and renew that humanitarian impulse to save, to serve, and to build, and carry it forward in the year to come.

Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami, March 11, 2011

It was just last March that an earthquake and tsunami struck without warning in Japan, causing tremendous loss and heartache.  In the aftermath, the American Red Cross provided hundreds of millions of dollars toward relief and recovery efforts to help those affected.  These efforts are helping to improve living conditions for families who lost their homes and to rebuild needed hospitals and a nursing school.

Read the one year update on Red Cross relief and recovery efforts in Japan here. 

Not long after the horrific disaster in Japan, tornadoes hit, floodwaters crept higher and wildfires ignited here at home in one of the busiest spring seasons the Red Cross experienced in decades.  Shelters were opened. Meals, water and supplies were delivered.  And comfort was found in the embrace of Red Cross workers.

Red Cross disaster workers serve warm meals to residents that were affected by a tornado.

To learn more about our disaster relief efforts across the country, read the one year report here.

These tragedies at home and abroad, often strike with little warning.  March is a reminder of the Red Cross mission to prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies.  While the Red Cross is most visible during times of disaster, the work continues year-round.

Every year, the Red Cross:

  • Responds to nearly 70,000 disasters
  • Teaches more than 4 million people how to prepare for disaster Engages more than half a million people as Red Cross volunteers
  • Trains more than 9 million people in first aid, water safety and other skills to help save lives such as CPR and use of AEDs Collects 6.3 million units of blood from roughly 3.7 million volunteer donors
  • Provides services to more than 400,000 military members, veterans and civilians
  • Helps nearly 150 million people through disaster management and disease prevention activities
  • Reconnects more than 1,000 families separated by war and disaster around the world

Since 1881, the Red Cross has provided lifesaving services across the country and around the world thanks to the generosity of the American public that has always reached into their own pocket to help their neighbor in need.

After President Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared the month of March “Red Cross Month” in 1943, the Red Cross raised the largest amount ever aimed for in one campaign by any American organization. Roosevelt called it the “greatest single crusade of mercy in all of history.”  Today, the American Red Cross continues to be that symbol of mercy, providing help and hope down the street, across the country and around the world.

This Year Americans of All Ages Made Holiday Mail for Heroes A Success!

For the fifth year in a row, people from all corners of the country showed their incredible support for the country’s service members, veterans and their families by participating in Holiday Mail for Heroes, a program run by the American Red Cross and Pitney Bowes. 

At shopping malls, over Thanksgiving gatherings and simply during their own free time, Americans of all ages took the program’s mission to heart and sent in thousands of holiday greeting cards, which will be distributed across the country and around the world.

Holiday cards created by Richland One Middle College

In the Columbia Region, 34,763 cards were collected from schools, businesses, churches and community members.   In Columbia, we had over dozen volunteers spend the day at our office sorting cards.  Below is a video of Cheryl Payne, a Red Cross volunteer reading a card that was made by students at Fort Mill Elementary School in Fort Mill, SC.

Handmade cards from children often win the most smiles.  Students from across our region learned the importance of giving back, while unleashing their creative minds to produce spectacular holiday cards. 

Click here for a full story about how students at Rosewood Elementary School in Columbia, SC created cards for our troops.  

The University of South Carolina (USC) provided tremendous support to the Holiday Mail for Heroes program. Over 5,000 cards were signed during USC’s Homecoming and during the Annual Carolina/Clemson Blood Drive.

Also, USC’s Athletics Department unleashed their own creativity by holding a Holiday Mail for Heroes card-design contest. Two dozen volunteers from the department, both students and employees, spent time at the Red Cross office in Columbia to put together their handmade greetings.

The proud winners of the University of South Carolina's Athletics Department’s Holiday Mail for Heroes card design contest. From left: Paul Stoltzfun, Gerald Dixon Jr. and Raymond Harrison.

This year the Red Cross teamed up with “A Devine Night Out,” Columbia’s premier Holiday event.  At this event Red Cross volunteers had multiple tables set up where guests participated in Holiday Mail.

The success of this year’s program was made possible by each and every member of the community that participated.  Thank you for your support of our country’s military, veterans and their families!