Category Archives: Stories

Amazing stories from amazing people.

Coast Guard Auxiliary: Semper Paratus

When the Toledo area was alerted to the water crisis, the Coast Guard Auxiliary put in motion an emergency alert program within their unit. The Everbridge system notified members of the unit by text, phone and e-mail of situations and all who were available were directed to respond on Sunday to the Red Cross headquarters located at 3100 Central in Toledo. For three days, 35 to 40 members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, under the command of Commodore Llornes Chenevert,  loaded trucks and delivered water to homebound individuals. On the  third day of the operation, the unit provided security operations and created disaster safety awareness packets.

Fairchild and Pam

Linda Fairchild and Pam Schwarzkopf

Commodore Chenevert

Commodore Chenevert

The units responding came primarily from Southeast Michigan and the Ohio Metro Toledo divisions of the Coast Guard Auxiliary. The members of these units are all volunteers and range from 17 years of age to retirement. Many are veterans of various branches of the military but that is not a prerequisite for membership. You must be of age, a US citizen and pass a background check. The first year new members must take a series of classes including boating safety, health, and ethics as foundations for their training and work responsibilities.


Members creating disaster safety awareness packets


When not respondingto disasters and emergencies, the Auxiliary’s primary function is boating safety. This is accomplished by teaching the public boating safety classes, doing safe boat inspections, and providing patrols during heavy boating activities such as regattas and firework events. There is also an air wing of the unit that is manned by members with their personal planes.

Nelson and Bresnan

Nelson and Bresnan

Wunder and Cartlidge

Wunder and Cartlidge

We would like to thank Commodore Chenevert and his members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary for the professionalism and great attitude shown during a time of need.

– This blog entry was written by Disaster Workforce volunteer Dave Morrow


And the award goes to…

Lawrence and Pearlia Kynard have been volunteers for nearly a decade. Together, they’ve traveled the country, responding to fires, floods, and tornadoes from California to Louisiana and back again. They also serve locally as members of the Lucas County Disaster Action Team. As Team Leaders, they mentor new volunteers and are always available to assist when disasters strike. They even help out with special events like our annual Oscar Night or anywhere else we need them.

Because of their efforts, we’re proud to announce the Kynards won Medical Mutual’s Exemplary Senior Volunteer of the Year Award in the Silver category. Congratulations!

We couldn’t do what we do without our volunteers. Sign up to be one today!

The Robello Family

The Andover tornado is something that Kathy Robello’s family will never forget. In 1991, the tornado swept through their house in Derby, Kansas.

“Here’s the crawl space, the hole- that’s what saved our life” said Kathy.

Kathy and her family were left with nothing and had nowhere to go. The American Red Cross was immediately there to help. It is something that the Robello family will forever be grateful for.

Oso Deployment – Letters of Support

59B42Yesterday, we discussed the spirit of community in Darrington, Washington – home of an emergency shelter for victims of the Oso mudslides. The spirit and sense of fellowship is alive and well with ongoing support from the youth of Oso.

“The walls are lined with letters, cards and posters of support, many from the children in the area. As I read some of them, my heart was hurting for this proud, strong town. Healing and recovery won’t be easy or fast, but we will be here supporting all affected by this tragedy for as long as it takes.”

Sometimes, it’s as simple as providing hope through encouraging letters to let others know that you feel for them, thank them, and are with them.

IMG_20140406_143444_046 IMG_20140406_143738_367

Oso’s Red Tide Community

IMG_20140406_161740_200Recently, our own Todd James was deployed to the Oso, Washington, community in the aftermath of the ruinous landslide on March 22. The strength of community is a powerful healing tool. Having the help of friends, family, neighbors, and even complete strangers has a way of giving people hope through tough times.

Two weeks ago, he spent the day at an emergency shelter in Darrington, Washington. The mudslide cut off the route to the city of Arlington which serves as a hub for shopping, laundry, and other essentials. Resources like food for families and their pets, water, and clothing are all invaluable items that the affected families worried about attaining. We assisted the families in their time of need, showing they were not alone.

“Everyone was affected by the landslide, many losing family and friends. The Red Cross team leader was telling us today that the evening meal at the shelter has become a community event, bringing the residents and the responders together for fellowship and support.”

In addition, with the help of Red Cross partner Tide, Todd joined Loads of Hope members and gave people a means to have their laundry cleaned and returned. Not only does this return the comfort of their clean clothing after having gone so long without them, but imagine the sensation a child feels when they finally have their favorite, clean blanket to keep them warm at night.


Helping O-so Much

Last month, we told you about Red Cross relief efforts in Oso, Washington, and thanked you for supporting the victims of that tragic mudslide. We are one Red Cross and during disasters like this, volunteers respond from around the country. Todd James – executive director of American Red Cross of Hancock, Seneca, and Wyandot Counties – was recently deployed to Oso to to help with communications on the scene.

Today, we visited the site of the SR530 slide. Finding the words to describe the enormity of the event and the devastation is difficult. I am still having a hard time comprehending this disaster, it’s far outside my scope of experience. The one aspect that I do recognize is the sight of hundreds of dedicated people working to provide relief and recovery to the families affected. Please, continue to keep these families and communities in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you.” – Todd James, April 9, 2014.

We will be taking a special look into Todd’s journey this week as he weighs in on Oso, shares his experience, and offers a view first-hand perspective from the front lines of disaster response.

Rising from the Ashes

13abc's story

Toledo 13abc’s story on the Secor fire that took place early morning on April 12, 2014.

We assisted more than 50 people involved in a large fire at Secor Terrace Apartments on April 12 by providing emotional support, food, clothing, infant supplies, comfort kits, medical needs, and temporary shelter. Moving forward, we will continue to help the families with direct recovery assistance including support for security deposits at new rentals, bedding, and linens.

“You see hurricanes, tornadoes and fires and the Red Cross always pops up to help. You never think you are going to need that kind of help but I am so glad they were there for us. They sure have been wonderful.” – Linda Bliss, client.

Recovering from a disaster is never an easy process, but it doesn’t have to be one our clients do alone. Of all the disasters we respond to, home fires are the most common. It’s thanks to the commitment and generosity of our community that we can provide hope to these families.