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,


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.

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 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.

Red Cross Helps 20 Residents Displaced by a Multi-Unit Fire at Stone Ridge Apartments in Columbia

On March 6th, we received a call from the Columbia Fire Department about a multi-unit apartment fire that they were battling at Stone Ridge Apartments located at 1000 Watermark Place in Columbia. We immediately begin to dispatch our disaster workers to help meet the immediate needs of all residents that were displaced by the fire.

Here are some photos from our response…




Our workers provided all 20 displaced residents with financial assistance to purchase food, clothing, shoes and other essential items. We also gave each person a blanket and a hygiene kit, which includes basic items such as a tooth brush, soap, and shampoo. Children were given stuffed animals for a sense of safety and security.

We also worked with the apartment complex to secure temporary housing for all displaced residents.

Thank you to our disaster team for helping make this response possible!


The Palmetto SC Region is made of up seven Red Cross chapters that span across 35 of 46 counties of South Carolina.  On average, our volunteers respond to a disaster every 6.5 hours.

You can help your neighbors recover from disasters like home fires by making a financial contribution or volunteering your time by visiting or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.  Donations may also be mailed to your local Red Cross chapter.  

Give Something that Means Something this Holiday Season

This holiday season we are asking you to “give something that means something” by purchasing gifts from the 2012 Holiday Giving Catalog in honor of family, friends or colleagues.

You can support Red Cross programs by purchasing a variety of symbolic gifts. You can buy food and shelter for a disaster victim, phone cards for members of the military, vaccinations for an entire village and many other gift ideas. Catalog purchases come with greeting cards shoppers can send to a friend or loved one, letting them know a donation has been made in their name.

The purchase of each gift item is a tax-deductible contribution and provides support to the mission of the Red Cross. The catalog gifts are contributions toward a Red Cross program area, not a donation to a specific project or item.

Click here to start shopping our 2012 Holiday Giving Catalog.  

It’s National Fire Prevention Month – Are You Prepared?

October is Fire Prevention Month and the American Red Cross is encouraging families and businesses to learn how to protect themselves and others from fires.  Last year, the  Red Cross responded to about 63,000 home fires across the country by providing comfort and basic necessities to more than 82,000 families.

“We respond to a disaster every eight hours across the Columbia Region,” said Scott R. Salemme, regional chief executive officer, American Red Cross, Columbia Region.  “The best thing you can do to protect your loved ones is to install a smoke alarm and develop and practice a fire escape plan. Fires can spread very quickly, so everyone at home, school and work should know what to do when they hear the sound of a smoke alarm.”

Additional recommendations include:

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of the house and inside bedrooms.
  • Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year. Test each alarm monthly by pushing the test button.
  • Ensure that household members know two ways to escape from every room and designate a place to meet outside of your house in case of a fire. Practice your plan at least twice a year.
  • Follow your escape plan in case of fire.Get out, stay out, and call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
  • Download the American Red Cross First Aid App to get access to life-saving information on what to do for common, everyday first aid emergencies. The app is available in the Apple App Store and on Google Play for Android.
  • Visit for additional fire safety tips.

The Red Cross is there to help those in need when disasters strike. The Columbia Region, which serves 28-counties in South Carolina, responded to 1,035 disasters and assisted 1,090 people last year.

In conjunction with National Fire Prevention Month, the Red Cross has kicked-off, “Fire Hurts – Red Cross Helps,” a local initiative to encourage community members and businesses to make a financial donation of $1,250 to support a family following a home fire.  The average cost to provide Red Cross disaster relief services to a family of four is $1,250.  Click here to learn more about this initiative.

“In order to respond to disasters in our community the Red Cross depends on the generous financial support of individuals and businesses,” added Salemme.“Giving through Fire Hurts – Red Cross Helps will ensure that our essential services are provided everyday to families who have been devastated to a home fire.”