From Marty McKellips, Volunteer and Board Chair-Elect
The Central Texas Chapter was delighted to be part of a presentation Saturday at Threadgill’s to honor musician Pat Green with a Pat Green Day Proclamation. Mr. Green is a member of the Red Cross Celebrity Cabinet and is a big supporter.

Volunteer and Board Chair-Elect Marty McKellips said this: 

“I presented the award in front of a crowd of loyal Pat Green fans, most of whom had won the privilege of attending this VIP event in radio contests. People were there from as far away as Oklahoma. There was a free buffet of Threadgill’s favorites. The fans were very enthusiastic and cheered at the mention of the Red Cross, the Celebrity Cabinet and the work the Pat Green had done for us. He then performed an intimate set taking questions from the audience between songs. One fan suggested the Pat Green Day in Texas should be an annual event.”

Pat Green


From Kevin & Sandy McCoy, Volunteers
It is just not meant to be. We were about to start our afternoon walk when Mario [Chapa, Staff Emergency Services Specialist] called. “We have another UT Student housing fire.”  
Mario and Worth [Haggerton, Staff partner Services & Planning Specialist] had meetings and wanted to know if we could be downtown by 3:30 in order to wait for students returning from work or school.   
We loaded up the Jeep with our gear and were on our way. The fire was at 2810 Rio Grande – only two blocks from the Student Housing Fire 4 days ago! This fire started at the join where two buildings had been built side by side. That created a thin void, and it was in this void where the fire started. The building was quite old but had been remodeled several times. A few apartments were damaged badly, and several others had water damage. Some vehicles were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and were also damaged.
By the time we arrived Mario had a damage assessment done and many of the students had been worked with. The Dean of Students at the university was very helpful in arranging for alternative housing, excuses for late assignments, etc. The housing complex was working very quickly as well to clear up the damage and start repairs.

Worth was there with the Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) and students and firefighters stopped by for water and a snack. Only a few apartments had been badly damaged and we helped those folks as best we could. By the end of the day the Red Cross Team had worked with 22 students. Everyone had a place to stay and their next few days of food and shelter arranged. We only had to help out in a few special cases due to the resourcefulness of the students and the help of the Dean.

The students spoke highly of the fire department for saving as much as they could and for how quickly they were able to get the fire under control. The fire department also had community support person at the scene. Some students were at school, and others were at work. So we stayed until students had been notified, and had time to make it back. They were allowed into the building to get their possessions, and we assisted the late arrivals that needed it.
Jaylie Mecray and her dad Jay Mecray live on Rio Grande Drive. They came by to see the fire trucks and we inducted Jaylie as our youngest volunteer and gave her a very official Red Cross Disaster Services Vest.
A job well done, and with all the student issues met, we closed the scene. Sandy and I are very grateful that no one has been injured in the two fires we have worked on this week. The students are very resourceful in making their own arrangements, and grateful for the assistance they receive.
debris clearing
Youngest Volunteer


Sandy and I went for a walk this afternoon. It is about a three mile walk to a favorite coffee place, and we had taken all the dogs with us – the sun shining and the weather gorgeous after our brief cold snap. We were just heading home when we got the call that we were needed at a University of Texas housing fire. Well, we picked up the pace and were home in a flash.
We then received a call from our Disaster Action Team captain – Bill Dorman, asking how many comfort kits and Client Assistance Cards we had on hand. Shortly thereafter we had loaded the jeep and were on our way. The reason he was asking was that it looked as if there might be as many as 27 students/coop residents in the coop house that was damaged by the fire.  He also asked us to redirect to another coop property – Whitehall on Nueces Street. The fire itself was on Rio Grande Street about two blocks from where our daughter Mandy works.
We arrived at the Whitehall Coop residence which was to serve as our client services base of operation. We arrived just as a long line of students wound their way there from the site of the fire. It was a curious procession especially as one of the students was carrying a full scale Paper Mache Narwhal! 
We set up shop and started talking to the folks most impacted by the fire, who lived on the third floor. Next we interviewed the students on the second floor that had water damage.  The remainders of the students suffered no damage, but were displaced since the electricity and utilities were shut off until repairs can be made. Bill Dorman – our DAT (Disaster Action Team) captain – had provided us with a damage assessment that was helpful.
We also met a representative from the CO-OP and she was able to arrange for housing, food, and transportation to the new housing for all the coop residents! That meant that we only had to worry about the smaller number of students who lost their clothing, bedding, and personal food in the fire.
The casework plan in place we interviewed the students and offered them Client Assistance Cards where appropriate (based on the interview and damage assessment).
The fire was caused by a glue gun that had been left on after working on a student project. They had a party to complete the project and unfortunately it lasted until dawn, and it looks like the clean up was less than effective. They slept, and then left for sailing, and sometime during the day the glue gun caught the cardboard on fire.  The Dean of Students came in to offer assistance to the students.
Lonnie Williams came and supervised the client case work. Worth stopped by with the ERV, and we got additional comfort kits from him. Sue Gaines was our CAC (Client Assistance Card) activator. By 8:30 we had done all the work with the students that needed assistance, and all the students had shelter, food, and immediate needs of clothing and bedding handled. We could not have done it that quickly except for the cooperation that we received from the CO-OP. They were fantastic.
Most of the fires we respond to are single family dwellings, so this was a bit of a change of pace for us. The students were very appreciative of the help they received, and the CO-OP really stood by them.
Kevin McCoy


The American Red Cross of Central Texas had the honor of welcoming Austin’s new fire chief, Rhoda Mae Kerr. We’re excited, because Chief Kerr served on the board of the American Red Cross in Little Rock, Arkansas, and she really understands how important the Red Cross is to any community. After all, the vast majority of the disasters we respond to are fires — one every 48 hours here in Central Texas. Carmen and Saleem Tawil hosted the event in their home. Thanks Carmen and Saleem! And thanks to all the area firefighters and city officials who joined us. It was great to spend time with you when everyone could relax and have a good time!

(From left: Chief Kerr, Red Cross CEO Derrick Chubbs, and Carmen and Saleem Tawil)


Local Agencies Still Responding to Ike by Richard Whittaker
Austin Chronicle

“But the biggest local burden was and still is being shouldered by the American Red Cross of Central Texas. Its shelters held a fraction of the 25,000 maximum evacuees the Red Cross agreed to take in, but it was still a costly undertaking. Nationwide, the Red Cross opened 916 shelters in 17 states, said Central Texas board Chair-elect Marty McKellips. “We provided 14 million meals and snacks, 100,000 comfort kits, 100,000 cleanup kits, and at the start of the season, we had no money in the disaster relief fund.” Read the full story…


The American Red Cross of Central Texas upped our “street cred” this week when we were featured in the Austin Chronicle’s Best of 2008 Critics Poll. The ARC of Central Texas was recognized, along with the Capital Area Food Bank, as the Critic’s Choice for Best Response in a Crisis for our work with evacuees from Hurricane Ike. The recognition is rightly attributed to volunteers for both organizations who tirelessly devote their time and energy to help those in need, while still maintaining their regular responsibilities to work and family.  Your continued efforts allow us to open our community in response to disasters such as Hurricane Ike in ways we could never manage without you.  We join the Chronicle in recognizing our volunteers and staff who make the American Red Cross of Central Texas work. Thank you!
From the Austin Chronicle:
Best Response in a Crisis: Central Texas Red Cross, Capital Area Food Bank
It’s not their job. That’s the first fact that everyone should remember when thinking about how the volunteers with these two charities stepped up to help the Hurricane Ike evacuees. It was the Red Cross that staffed shelters and the Capital Area Food Bank that handed out emergency supplies to those that had fled the coast. This award is not so much for the institutions but for the people that sacrificed their time and energy to help those in need – and will again.
American Red Cross of Central Texas 
2218 Pershing 
Capital Area Food Bank 
8201 S. Congress