Red Cross Assesses Tornado Damage in Texas

By Lois Beckman and Lena Morris, Red Cross Disaster Relief Volunteers

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Mary Green talks with Red Cross volunteer Diane Telfer regarding the damage to her home caused when a tornado tore through her neighborhood. Mary was home alone studying when a tornado alert was issued for the area. “I was getting alerts on my phone, but I always get them, and nothing ever comes,” she said.

Without a basement, Mary felt the tornado damage her home as parts of her roof got torn off.

“I had never been through a tornado before,” Mary said. “The house really shook. When it stopped and I looked out my front door and saw parts of my roof across the road and in the tree, I started to cry. Not because I was upset, but because I was grateful to be alive.”

Red Cross volunteers met Mary while assessing local damages in Navasota, Texas. Volunteers like Diane are a part of the disaster assessment team, who look at homes damaged by recent severe weather to determine the assistance needed from the Red Cross.

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Red Cross volunteer Bill Wilson stands in front of Mary’s lawn, where parts of her roof were torn off by the tornado and flew onto the tree and the road.

If you or anyone you know is in need of assistance, please call the American Red Cross of Central Texas at 1-800-928-4271. To learn more about how you can get involved, visit www.redcross.org.

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Red Cross Assesses Tornado Damage in Texas

Home Damaged By Floods for the Second Time

By Lois Beckman and Lena Morris, Red Cross Disaster Relief Volunteers

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Travis County resident Martha Miles, with her son Patrick on the right and Red Cross volunteer Catherine Sarkany on the left.

The recent floods have caused damage to the home of Martha Miles for the second time in less than eight months.  “We were in the process of replacing floor tiles that were damaged during the flooding in October when this flood happened. Now we have to rip up the entire floor and start from scratch,” said Miles, pictured above with her son Patrick and American Red Cross volunteer Catherine Sarkany.

Martha and her son were at the Family Assistance Center in Travis County on Sunday where the Red Cross provided assistance to those affected by the recent flooding. Like Martha, many in the neighborhood experienced flooding up to 4 feet when severe weather hit the area on May 26th. Although rain has stopped in Texas, the recovery efforts continue as residents salvage their homes and many still seek refuge at Red Cross Shelters.

If you or anyone you know is in need of assistance, please call the American Red Cross of Central Texas at 1-800-928-4271. To learn more about how you can get involved, visit www.redcross.org.

Home Damaged By Floods for the Second Time

Family of 57 Finds Refuge in a Red Cross Shelter

By Monique Knight and Lena Morris, Red Cross Disaster Relief Volunteers

Ranging in age from 1 to 50 years old, 57 members of the Smith* family are eating lunch, playing video games, shooting basketball, playing musical instruments and creating structures out of building blocks – all at a local Red Cross shelter. The family has been here since May 26 and has found comfort in being together in the face of disaster.

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Member of the Smith* family plays with blocks at the Red Cross shelter in Giddings, Texas.

It was 10pm when a deputy Sheriff knocked on the door and warned Lydia* of rising flood waters in her neighborhood. “The deputy left and barely reached the end of the road when he came back with his emergency lights on. He told us that evacuation was now mandatory and that we had to leave immediately,” Lydia said. “I put some clothes into a plastic bag and got everyone to the front door, but the water had risen so fast it was already coming in under the door. By the time we reached the road in our car, it was almost up to the top of the hood.”
The extended Smith family lives in the same neighborhood, so all were able to escape the flood together. “We were the first ones to leave and I could see a line of cars behind us,” Lydia said.  “Some vehicles were left behind and are still under water.” But at least the family is safe.

“I put some clothes into a plastic bag and got everyone to the front door, but the water had risen so fast it was already coming in under the door,” Lydia said, as a deputy Sheriff warned her family to evacuate her home immediately.

Sheriffs informed the family about the Red Cross shelter in Giddings and the clan headed there.  “The Red Cross gave us someplace to go when there wasn’t any other place,” Lydia said.  “Thanks to the Red Cross, we all have a place to sleep and plenty to eat. The Red Cross workers entertain the children but they also sit with the grown-ups and comfort us too.”

The family is not letting their temporary living situation hamper joyful events — they have celebrated two birthdays, a kindergarten graduation, and a high school graduation in the shelter.

Lydia and her husband recently visited their home site by boat to assess the damage and said the house has shifted on its foundation, with major cracks in the roof and sides. Water on the inside of the home remains about 3 feet high and they cannot get inside to salvage any of their belongings. Officials have estimated that it may be more than a month before electricity is restored in the area.

It will be a long road to recovery, and The Red Cross will be here with resources for the Smith family and others long after they leave the shelter and make their way through the recovery process.

 

*Names have been changed in respect of client privacy.

 

If you or anyone you know is in need of assistance please direct them to the American Red Cross serving Central Texas, 1-800-928-4271. To learn more about how you can get involved, visit www.redcross.org

Family of 57 Finds Refuge in a Red Cross Shelter

Dynamic Duo: Why the Bergerons Keep Coming Back to the Red Cross

By Monique Knight and Lena Morris, Red Cross Disaster Relief Volunteers

Roy and June Bergeron have been volunteering with the Red Cross for 13 and 12 years, respectively. The retired couple from Baton Rouge, LA, spends much of their time travelling to assist with relief efforts during national disasters. In fact, they have been on 32 Red Cross deployments across the country and have provided assistance in nearly every type of natural disaster – flood, hurricane, tornado, wildfire and snow storm.

DSC_0159It was a hurricane in Florida that called them to action.  “We saw an article in the newspaper, asking for volunteers to help with the Red Cross,” June explains.  “Roy responded then, and I joined a year later.”

The couple volunteers primarily in shelter settings. “We find it very rewarding,” said Roy.  “We get to meet a lot of people, and they are all very thankful for our presence.”

Both said that they have enjoyed a good clientele through the Red Cross shelters.  “We get to know them and develop friendships, sharing laughs and tears,” said June.  “We’ve had people who cry when they leave the shelter because they don’t want to go.”

June and Roy say that volunteers just have to relax and have fun, because the clients have a lot going on.  Roy added that you just have to be flexible. “Sometimes we start doing mobile feeding and bulk distribution, then open shelters,” Roy said.

The couple says they have met lifelong friends through their Red Cross experience. In fact, they travel to Minnesota to visit another Red Cross husband-wife team every year.  It’s the human connection that keeps them coming back year after year.

Dynamic Duo: Why the Bergerons Keep Coming Back to the Red Cross

Internships Available

Want to get experience or earn credit while working at an organization that gives back?  Explore our many opportunities for interns.  Work for the Red Cross and support our lifesaving mission, while gaining valuable professional skills and building your resume with real-world experience.

We have internships in many different departments, and we offer flexible scheduling.  Interns have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience, learn professional responsibility and work with a mentor in their field.

Internships are available year round in the spring, summer, and fall.

Application Instructions:

Interested applicants should submit a resume and cover letter to Jose Dominguez at jose.dominguez@redcross.org for review and consideration.  Applicants are accepted year round so be sure to indicate your desired time frame for an internship and which office within our region you would like to be based out of.

If there is not an internship you are interested in however you feel you have something to offer we will consider special requests and projects if it can benefit our organization.

Mission Statement:

The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.

AVAILABLE POSITIONS

COMMUNICATIONS AND SOCIAL MEDIA INTERN

Department:  Communications

Open to:  Current college and graduate students and professionals looking for experience

Employment Category:  Unpaid Internship, Academic credit available

We are looking for talented and creative individuals to help maintain and improve our communications network through traditional and new media projects.  This person will report directly to the Regional Director of Communications and should provide creative ideas and innovative solutions for our nonprofit to maintain positive public opinion and increase fundraising opportunities.

Responsibilities include:

  • Media appearances as assigned
  • Responding to disaster media requests as assigned
  • Writing, editing and publishing news releases and blog articles
  • Using Twitter to promote regional events, safety information and communicate with our online community
  • Writing, editing and publishing blog articles
  • Evaluating and monitoring appropriate metrics
  • Managing chapter Facebook accounts and Flickr page
  • Encouraging volunteers, community members and staff members to engage in social media

Required Skills:

  • Experience with Facebook, Twitter and related social media tools; knowledge of FBML preferred
  • Familiarity with photo and video sharing applications including Flickr and YouTube
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office including Outlook
  • Public relations background or experience a plus

DEVELOPMENT INTERN

Department:  Development

Open to:  Current college and graduate students and professionals looking for experience

Employment Category:  Unpaid Internship, Academic credit available

We are seeking a dynamic and energetic individual to report directly to the Chief Development Officer/Executive Director of one of our Community Chapters and work closely with other members of the Development team to advance our fundraising capabilities.  This intern will work on special development projects, attend onsite and offsite meetings and represent the chapter at events.

Responsibilities include:

  • Supporting and promoting various fundraising projects within the chapter
  • Working closely with Executive Directors/Development staff to increase fundraising efforts within the chapter
  • Executing Development project research
  • Representing the Red Cross at events
  • Other duties as assigned

Required Skills:

  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office (PowerPoint, Excel Word, Outlook)
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Willingness to speak with donors, potential sponsors and corporate partners

DISASTER SERVICES INTERN

Department:  Disaster Services

Open to:  Current high school, college and graduate students and professional looking for experience

Employment Category:  Unpaid Internship, Academic credit available

The American Red Cross Central Texas Region responds to a disaster every 48 hours.  This internship will provide a firsthand experience of how we help disaster victims, as well as how our organization coordinates with other agencies and nonprofits to assist community members when they need it the most.  This intern will work in coordination with other emergency preparedness and response staff and volunteers to provide emergency relief and preparedness services to clients in the Central Texas area.

Responsibilities include:

  • Educating the community at preparedness events and community education courses
  • Assisting volunteer instructors as they provide disaster response training
  • Learning how to assist the client (client casework) and coordinating with referral agencies to provide additional services
  • Administrative duties: filing, sorting and answering phones

Required Skills:

  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office and Internet-based applications
  • Bilingual (Spanish/English) translation skills to work with a variety of community members preferred
  • Previous volunteer experience in nonprofit or public health sector preferred
  • Ability to work with sensitive information and maintain confidentiality

INTERNATIONAL SOCIAL SERVICES INTERN

Department:  Operations

Open to:  Current college and graduate students and professionals looking for experience

Employment Category:  Unpaid Internship, Academic credit available

We are looking for talented and creative individuals to build and support our Internal Service Programs.  This person will report directly to the Regional Chief Operating Officer and should provide creative ideas and innovative solutions for our nonprofit to help build, maintain and grow our program in the Central Texas community.

The American Red Cross helps vulnerable people around the world prevent, prepare for and respond to disasters, complex humanitarian emergencies and life-threatening health conditions. We do this by:

• Responding and meeting needs when international disasters strike

• Better preparing communities around the world for future disasters

• Preventing disease and responding to global public health emergencies

• Promoting international humanitarian law and issues

• Reconnecting family members separated by war or disaster

When the American Red Cross works internationally, it must be both invited by and work collaboratively with the host or affected Red Cross national society. Together, we form the largest humanitarian network in the world.  Every effort strengthens this bond working towards one common goal: alleviating human suffering.

Responsibilities/Project Areas could include:

  • Obtain training as a Restoring Family Links Caseworker
  • Provide Restoring Family Links casework
  • Create Q&A Brochure for Clients
  • Research local resources available to refugees and immigrants
  • Build local reference guide for caseworkers
  • Promote programs throughout Central Texas community
  • Research Central Texas community to determine ethnic and potential refugee makeup

Required Skills:

  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel Word, Outlook)
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Ability to work with sensitive information and maintain confidentiality

OPERATIONS INTERN

Department:  Operations

Open to:  Current college and graduate students and professionals looking for experience

Employment Category:  Unpaid Internship, Academic credit available

We are looking for talented and creative individuals to support and collaborate with the Operations Team with special projects or tasks.  This person will report directly to the Regional Chief Operating Officer and should provide creative ideas and innovative solutions for our nonprofit to increase efficiency and workflow.

Responsibilities/Project Areas could include:

  • Perform general clerical work including; filing, call-downs, collating materials, and copying when necessary
  • Keep all information confidential
  • Assist with purchasing for the region
  • Assist with facility management and maintenance
  • Process and code deposits
  • Attend meetings with and on behalf of Operations Team
  • Process requests for system access
  • Human Resources
  • Documenting Policies & Procedures
  • Research vendors
  • Post outgoing mail
  • Develop and document new procedures and processes for information flow

Required Skills:

  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office (PowerPoint, Excel Word, Outlook)
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Ability to work with sensitive information and maintain confidentiality

OUTREACH INTERN

Department:  Volunteer Services

Open to:  Current high school, college and graduate students

Employment Category:  Unpaid internship, academic credit available

In an attempt to prepare the community for disasters and to spread the word about safety, the American Red Cross attends and produces outreach events.  The intern would be responsible for managing the event invitations, planning events, preparing materials and coordinating and managing volunteers at events.  This intern reports directly to the Volunteer Services Manager.

Responsibilities include:

  • Coordinating with area agencies, nonprofits and educational facilities
  • Preparing and designing materials for outreach events
  • Working in coordination with volunteers to represent the Red Cross within the community
  • Determining appropriate locations for safety information distribution
  • Speaking to area associations and organizations about the American Red Cross

Required Skills:

  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office
  • Ability to speak confidently before a crowd
  • Willingness to work with a diverse set of people and help the Central Texas Region prepare for disasters

SERVICE TO THE ARMED FORCES

Department:  Service to the Armed Forces

Open to:  Current high school, college and graduate students

Employment Category:  Unpaid Internship, Academic credit available

We are seeking an organized and talented intern to support and collaborate with the Service to Armed Forces Team on SAF Casework and special projects, i.e. the Veterans History Project.  This intern will report directly to our Service to the Armed Forces Manager.

Responsibilities include:

  • Obtain SAF Caseworker Training, assist with casework follow-up
  • Assist/Cover Yellow Ribbon Events
  • Veterans History Project:
    • Obtain oral histories of veterans on video
    • Format videos for Library of Congress
    • Prepare materials for volunteers
    • Work with Volunteer Services to recruit additional SAF volunteers to cover various SAF activities throughout the region

Required Skills:

  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office
  • Knowledge of military helpful, but not required

YOUTH SERVICES INTERN

Department:  Volunteer Services

Open to:  Current high school, college and graduate students

Employment Category:  Unpaid Internship, Academic credit available

We are seeking an organized intern to increase interest in youth programs and to help develop interesting programs, events and opportunities for area youth.  This intern will report directly to the Volunteer Services Manager and will also work closely with Volunteer Services Specialist in the region.

Responsibilities include:

  • Developing plan for Central Texas Youth Council, recruiting members and coordinating meetings and community service projects
  • Proposing ideas for sustainment and recruitment for youth volunteers in collaboration with youth organizations, schools and religious institutions
  • Collaborating and communicating with youth organizations and clubs in area universities, high schools and religious groups
  • Assisting in development of a two day youth leadership conferences (components include recruiting speakers, attracting students, coordinating of events workshop, coordinating food, etc.)
  • Improving relationships with youth volunteers in the Central Texas Region

Required Skills:

  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office
  • Previous experience in extracurricular organizations at the high school or college level (clubs, societies, etc.)
Internships Available

June Volunteer Spotlight

Central Texas Chapter: Lisa Bovee

Lisa Bovee is a go-to public affairs volunteer who never hesitates to try something new. She works with the media like she was born to do it and supports her fellow volunteers when they need backup. Lisa leads by example in everything she does, and is never afraid to try something new. If there is a job that needs to get done, she is happy to pitch in and help.

West Central Texas Chapter: Tammy Haines

Tammy is one of our newer volunteers but definitely does not act like it.  She has taken up any opportunity to increase her role within the Red Cross and is also an active DAT responder and helps cover the office on Fridays.  In addition, she has been an active voice for the Red Cross in the community and through her we have added additional volunteers to the chapter. Thank you for your service!

Hill Country Chapter: Kathleen Marshall

Kathleen, or “Ms. Kathy” as we affectionately call her, is one of our office squad volunteers and is a friendly face who greets our visitors on 333 Earl Garrett.   She is very helpful around the office and is always eager to keep herself busy.   She is reliable and really seeks to improve things throughout the chapter office.

Heart of Texas Chapter: Bill Madden

Bill Madden has been a dedicated volunteer with us for many years. From helping maintain our Emergency Vehicle to lending a hand at any event we have, Bill is ready and willing to help! Recently, he spent a few weeks in Arkansas helping with Mass Care/Feeding after the tornadoes.  His generous and open personality helped make the Red Cross’ efforts there a huge success and we are grateful to have such an amazing volunteer with us!

June Volunteer Spotlight

May Volunteer Spotlight

West Central Texas Volunteer of the Month:  Fred Anderson  

FVolunteer_May_Fredred has been with the West Central Texas chapter for more than a year and has recently assumed an increased leadership role.   He is currently a Disaster Assessment Team member who has responded to several fires.  Additionally, he took on the role of Disaster Assessment Lead and has been analyzing potential points of concern within the chapter area.

 

Hill Country Volunteer of the Month:  Jacquelyn Lacefield

Volunteer_May_JackieJackie has been volunteering with the Red Cross for only a few months, but has become active in many different areas. She primarily volunteers with Preparedness Health and Safety Services, and she recently completed a large inventory project and helped out with a first aid tent at a large event over the Easter holiday.

 

 

 

Heart of Texas Volunteer of the Month: Edward Jaworksy

Ed JaworskyEdward Jaworsky has been a fantastic Red Cross volunteer with us since October when h​e immediately stepped up to help during the Austin Flooding. Aside from being a Disaster Assessment volunteer, he recently became one of our newest Disaster Services Technology volunteers in Waco! Edward has spent part of the past month whipping our office technology into shape. We are so thankful for his expertise and service.

 

 

 

Central Texas Volunteer of the Month: Jo Anne Ortiz

Volunteer_May_JoAnneJo Anne is a fearless leader of the Public Affairs team and a skilled Red Cross instructor. From teaching workshops to responding to fires to attending community outreach events, she never hesitates to represent the Red Cross in our community. Thank you, Jo Anne!

May Volunteer Spotlight