Your help is needed – A message from our Regional CEO

May 21, 2013. Moore, Oklahoma. Red Cross volunteer Angela Clemins hugs Moore resident Donna Giedrocz. Giedrocz has spent the day clearing debris from her home and expresses gratitude at the warm meal Clemins has brought her. Photo by Talia Frenkel/American Red Cross

Red Cross volunteer, Angela Clemins, hugs Moore resident, Donna Giedrocz.  Giedrocz has spent the day clearing debris from her home and expresses gratitude at the warm meal Clemins has brought her. Photo by Talia Frenkel/American Red Cross

On Monday the severe weather that has been ravaging the United States throughout the spring took a turn for the worse and brought heartbreaking devastation across the Midwest and the South, including Oklahoma, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Iowa. The damage is profound, widespread and the full impact still has yet to be realized.

American Red Cross disaster relief workers are on the ground as I write this, providing urgently needed assistance including food, water, shelter, cleanup supplies and emotional support to those who were affected. Our local volunteers have jumped into action and our helping. Just yesterday, we deployed three volunteers from the Palmetto SC Region to help with Oklahoma tornado relief efforts, and we anticipate that number to continue to increase. And we need your help.

The Red Cross is there for families in need and you can make a difference. We will be opening up additional shelters and delivering thousands of meals and water in the coming hours, days and possibly weeks ahead. But we can’t do any of this without the generosity of individuals like you. You can help people affected by disasters like tornadoes, floods and other crises by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief.

I hate to say it, but it isn’t over yet – the National Weather Service warns that the threat of severe weather continues from Texas to the Great Lakes. Be sure that you and your loved ones are prepared and stay safe. View Tornado Safety Tips or download the free Red Cross Tornado App.

Our hearts and prayers go out to the families impacted by the incredible damage. If you or a loved one need assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Thank you for helping families affected by disasters.

Warmest regards,

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Louise Welch Williams
Regional Chief Executive Officer
American Red Cross
Palmetto SC Region

P.S. –  Click here to see more photos from our response in Oklahoma.

Windsor Green Fire Response: One Month Report

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Rachel Hodges takes on National Red Cross Leadership Role

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Local American Red Cross Board Chairwoman and former First Lady of South Carolina (1999-2003), Rachel Hodges, has been named a member of the National Council for the Tiffany Circle Society of Women Leaders.

The Tiffany Circle is a society of women leaders and philanthropists from across the country that commit a minimum of $10,000 a year to support the important work of the Red Cross. As a National Council Member, Hodges will help ensure the future success of the Tiffany Circle program as the group embarks upon their eighth year in 2013-14. Since its inception just seven short years ago, the Tiffany Circle has grown from eight to 60 regional chapters throughout the country and is also expanding internationally into countries such as Canada, Mexico, France, Great Britain and Australia.

“The Tiffany Circle reflects a growing movement across the United States that women are leading the way when it comes to philanthropy,” said Rachel Hodges. “Women are the economic powerhouse of the 21st century and will be the primary holders of the wealth in America in just a few years. I am proud to serve on the National Council of the Tiffany Circle and continue mobilizing the power of women in philanthropy.”

Rachel Hodges welcomes Red Cross volunteers and staff at the Rachel Hodges Leadership that was held in May 2012 at Francis Marion University.

Rachel Hodges welcomes Red Cross volunteers and staff at the Rachel Hodges Leadership Institute that was held in May 2012 at Francis Marion University.

Rachel Hodges is a Pee Dee native and currently serves as the Chairwoman for the American Red Cross, Central South Carolina Chapter and the Chairwoman of the American Red Cross, Palmetto SC Region’s Advisory Council. In 2012, Hodges was instrumental in bringing the Rachel Hodges Leadership Institute to the campus of Francis Marion University. The six-day institute gave over 300 Red Cross staff and volunteers the opportunity to develop the necessary leadership skills to respond to small and large scale disasters throughout South Carolina and along the East Coast.

Hodges is a founding Bonnie McElveen-Hunter Lifetime Member of the Tiffany Circle Society of Women Leaders. Additionally, she and her husband, former Governor James H. Hodges, are members of the Clara Barton Society. In 2010, Hodges was presented the Clara Barton Society Award in recognition of her outstanding commitment to the Red Cross as a volunteer and philanthropist.

For more information on becoming a Tiffany Circle member, please call (803) 540-1220 or email Adrienne.Bellinger@redcross.org.

VIDEO: Red Cross Responds to Myrtle Beach Fire in Carolina Forest

You can help your neighbors recover from disasters like home fires by making a financial contribution to the American Red Cross today by visiting redcross.org or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.  Financial donations may also be mailed to your local Red Cross chapter. Click here to find your local chapter.

Disaster Alert: We Need Your Help

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Red Cross Provides Relief to People Affected by Myrtle Beach Apartment Fire

On March 16th, a large fire in Myrtle Beach destroyed over 100 units at Windsor Green apartments in Carolina Forest, displacing hundreds of people. Red Cross jumped into action immediately and is continuing  to help displaced residents and first responders. 

Red Cross arrives on the scene of the apartment fire on March15th in Carolina Forest.

Red Cross arrives on the scene of the apartment fire on March15th in Carolina Forest.

Since yesterday’s fire, the Red Cross has registered 189 residents in its shelter and has provided over 1,000 meals and 2,100 snacks and drinks to residents affected by the fire and first responders.

Casework to determine financial assistance will begin on Monday, March 18th at 10 a.m. Residents are encouraged to go the Red Cross shelter starting at 10 a.m. at Beach Church, located at 557 George Bishop Parkway to receive assistance. If you cannot come to the shelter, please call the Red Cross at (843) 477-0020 for assistance.

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30 Red Cross volunteers and multiple Red Cross response vehicles remain on the scene of the apartment fire, providing food and hydration to first responders. Trained Red Cross mental health workers are providing emotional support to people affected by the fire.

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You can help your neighbors recover from disasters like home fires by making a financial contribution to the American Red Cross today by visiting redcross.org or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.  Financial donations may also be mailed to the American Red Cross, 8085 Rivers Avenue, Suite F, North Charleston SC 29406.

If you would like to donate non-cash items, the Red Cross recommends contacting their partner agencies, Goodwill and Salvation Army or contacting other local non-profit organizations in the community that accept non-cash items.

On average the American Red Cross, Palmetto SC Region responds to a disaster every 6.5 hours. Since the beginning of its fiscal year to March 15, 2013, the Palmetto SC Region responded to 1,097 disasters, helping 3,737 adults and children that were affected by disasters. The Palmetto SC Region is made up of seven Red Cross chapters that span 35-counties of South Carolina.

 

Long-time Red Cross Worker from South Carolina Becomes a Hero in New York

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When Kathy Garrison began volunteering for the American Red Cross in 2006, little did she know that it would be the start of an incredible journey. Kathy has lived in Chester, S.C. since 1964. She had been searching for a volunteer job for quite some time and in April 2006, she found what she was looking for and hasn’t turned back.

There was an ad in the paper seeking volunteers for the Red Cross and Kathy thought this would be a perfect place to start giving back to her community.

“After a week or so of joining the Red Cross, we had the Great Falls Mill fire and I was needed,” said Garrison. “I had not had much training at that point, but went to help out in the shelter. It was quite the learning experience, but I knew from that point that I had found the place for me.”

Later, Kathy began volunteering with the Upper Palmetto Chapter of the American Red Cross, which serves Chester, Lancaster and York counties. She was a volunteer for several years, and in September 2012, Kathy accepted a job offer for the Office Manager at the Chapter.

“Starting a new job usually has its moments—like getting used to the other employees, finding your way around in a new office, new duties, etc. But this wasn’t like other jobs, this was like joining a family,” said Garrison. “I had been working with most of the employees for years as a volunteer. It was the perfect fit for me.”

When Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast of the United States on October 29, 2012, Kathy received updates daily on the magnitude of the disaster. Kathy had always wanted to volunteer on a national disaster, but her previous job had prevented her from doing so. On November 16, Kathy received the request to deploy to help with the Red Cross national response to Sandy in New York. Kathy was deployed as a client caseworker and assisted displaced residents that had been moved from shelters to hotels in the middle of Manhattan.

“Each day we went to the hotel we were greeted with smiles and thanks from people we didn’t even know,” said Garrison. “I missed Thanksgiving at home with my family, but I knew in my heart that I was where I needed to be.”

The second week, they went out in teams to canvass the area for any victims that needed help. They talked to many people, some with very sad stories and some who just wanted someone to talk to.

“The last day for me at the coast, we helped a couple that had been staying in their apartment for three weeks without electricity, but were thankful that their building was built high enough so that the only flood damage was in the garage. According to the client, they sat and watched their car float all around the front of the house,” Garrison said.

Kathy and her team were able to help so many and truly made a lasting impact on people affected by Sandy. “They were in shock that someone would do something like this for them and said when they were able, they would pay-it-forward and always remember what Red Cross volunteers did for them and others in the area,” said Garrison.

Kathy is one of 140 Palmetto SC Region disaster volunteers that deployed to help with the Red Cross Sandy response.

“This is the American Red Cross in action. I will certainly deploy on another national disaster, but I will always be here for my community in their time of need,” said Garrison.