Mayo pledges $100,000 to Red Cross

September 6, 2007


September 5, 2007, ROCHESTER, Minn. –Mayo Clinic announced on Friday, August 31, 2007, it will be making monetary donations to the agencies that have been heavily involved with the flood relief effort:


  • $100,000 to the Southeast Minnesota Chapter of the American Red Cross;
  • $100,000 to the Northern Division of the Salvation Army;
  • $100,000 to the United Way of Olmsted County;
  • And joining with other local organizations in making a contribution of $25,000 to the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation’s Business Recovery Fund, which will make grants available to local businesses to assist in their recovery.


Mayo Clinic officers, Glenn Forbes, M.D., Chief Executive Officer, and Jeff Korsmo, Chief Administrative Officer, were inspired by the overwhelming need in the affected communities and moved by the response of the employees and generous spirit of their willingness to help those affected by the floods.


The Mayo Clinic also delivered stethoscopes, insulin and blood pressure cuffs along with other supplies and services for the relief effort to the Red Cross shelter in Rushford. 


Melanie Tschida, Executive Director of the American Red Cross Southeast Minnesota Chapter said, “We are continually amazed by the generosity of the Mayo community.  They have been working with us side-by-side since day one of this disaster, and now they have also made a very generous financial gift to support our relief efforts.  We are proud to call them our partner and grateful for their support.”


To date, the American Red Cross has distributed 51,632 meals, 115,891 snacks, and 3,763 clean-up kits to the Minnesota and Wisconsin flood victims.

Partnership provides meals with caring, kindness

August 31, 2007
By: Donna Walker
American Red Cross


Unassuming under a white tent at the edge of a Winona highway in front of a Baptist church, sits a mobile kitchen that cooks thousands of meals a day for those affected by the Minnesota/Wisconsin floods.

In 10 days from Aug. 20 to 30, the kitchen prepared more than 40,000 meals for people in these southeastern Minnesota counties and neighboring Wisconsin towns.

A three-sided partnership makes these meals happen. It begins when the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) arrives to set up the mobile kitchen. With SBC providing the equipment and cooking, American Red Cross is able to deliver meals in its Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs) to those affected by disaster. Finishing off the partnership is the Salvation Army which also assists with delivery.

A volunteer crew, that totals more than 40 for this operation, has at the helm Ronald and JoAnn Hahs from Daisy, Mo. Ron is the on-site cooking manager, or “Blue Cap,” as evidenced by the color of his hat. He and his wife plan the meals and supervise their preparation and packaging.

“The Red Cross tells us how many meals they want in each Cambro,” Hahs said, pointing to large, red, insulated carriers for food. The crew arrives at 6 a.m. to make the noon meal which they finish by 10:30 a.m. They clean up, eat, then cook the evening meal.

Fourteen ERVs line up in the church lot with their noses pointed toward the tent, waiting. Once ready, they back up to the tent and Red Cross and SBC volunteers load the Cambros and leave for their routes. Some will deliver to Red Cross Service Centers. Others will drive through once-flooded streets and announce their presence with horn blasts and announcements.

Somehow, the three partners find a way to cook and deliver lunches and dinners with the caring and kindness of their respective organizations. The Hahs’ experience, which includes 55 days at the Katrina/Rita disaster, finds them repeatedly meeting up with the same Red Cross volunteers.

“There’s one man here we’ve met for the third time,” said JoAnn. “I’m very impressed with the quality of people from the American Red Cross.”

Donna Walker is a volunteer with the Iowa Rivers Chapter assisting with the Minnesota/Wisconsin floods in Rochester, Minn.

Two Minnesota Service Centers Closing

August 31, 2007

ROCHESTER, MN, August 31, 2007 The American Red Cross will be closing two (2) Service Centers August 31st – one located in Steele County and the other in Olmstead County in Minnesota.

Individuals and families affected by the recent Minnesota – Wisconsin floods still needing disaster relief assistance may proceed to any of the three remaining Red Cross Service Centers located in Rushford and Winona, Minn., and Soldier’s Grove, Wis. Disaster clients may also contact the American Red Cross at 1-866-GET-INFO. Red Cross operators are available 24 hours a day to answer questions and direct disaster clients to the closest location to receive assistance.

Joe Becker visits Minnesota-Wisconsin response

August 28, 2007

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Rochester, Minn., August 28, 2007 — Joe Becker, Senior Vice President of Disaster Preparedness and Response, stopped by to rally the troops at Rochester. He wanted to thank everyone for their hard work.

Becker had just returned from a field trip to Rushford, one of the hardest hit communities in Minnesota where at least 600 people have been permanently displaced. There the Red Cross opened and maintained a shelter, feeding, distribution, and service center for client assistance.

He commented, “If you could put the Rushford Center in a bottle and move it around. It would be the perfect example of Red Cross services in action. Great work! Rushford is a job well done. Those who have started these jobs have laid a great foundation for those to come. Floods are hard and you should know that your partners are doing great work.”

Becker asked the crowd to indulge him, “Let’s give a hand for Pat Kraemer, Job Director of the Minnesota – Wisconsin Flood Disaster Response.” As the room roared in applause, he added, “Pat is not just a manager. She is a first class leader! She is doing a terrific job.”

Becker continued to say, “I appreciate the work you do here, and the circumstances, the heat, you have to overcome to do such tremendous work. I know tunnel vision is easy to acquire and it is easy to get wrapped up in mundane forms, however, it has all come together to be a response we can all be proud of. You and your partners are doing a great job.”

Governor, dignataries deliver good news to Rushford

August 27, 2007

 By: Tim Kane

American Red Cross


The sun shone on citizens of Rushford, Minn. for the first time in what seemed, like a long time on Friday, August 24 – both literally and figuratively. Governor Tim Pawlenty, Senator Norm Coleman, and FEMA administrator David Paulison came to a town meeting held at the Red Cross Shelter, and, they came with good news.  

After thanking the Red Cross and all the other organizations that have been helping with the relief effort, the Governor brought the crowd to its feet when he announced that President Bush had declared southeastern Minnesota an emergency disaster area. FEMA could now begin the process of providing financial assistance to those affected by the flooding.

After Don Vold, manager of the Rushford Red Cross shelter, assured the audience that the Red Cross would continue providing shelter, food, water and health assistance as long as there was a need, Senator Coleman and FEMA representative Paulison took questions from the audience.  Mr. Paulison explained said that anyone in the designated area who experienced damage should register for FEMA assistance by either calling 1-800-621-FEMA or register on-line by visiting  Paulison said applicants would be asked for the code number for their disaster area.  For southeastern Minnesota that number is 1717.

During the question-answer session, many in attendance expressed frustration with insurance companies.  Senator Coleman told the crowd that when he returns to congress he will press for a special hearing regarding what insurance companies should be obliged to tell policy holders regarding flood insurance.  Governor Pawlenty added that any misrepresentations related to flood insurance would be investigated by the attorney general’s office.  In response to a question about how long it was going to take to get all the utilities up and running, the governor also told those gathered that requests have gone out to bring in additional electrical and plumbing contractors to help expedite repairs.

By the time the three featured guest left the Red Cross shelter the sun was shining and moods were brightened.  Everyone in Rushford knows that the journey to recovery will be a long one, but they are comforted by knowing that there are people and agencies on site and ready to help them along the way.

If you’d like to become involved in helping those in need, do so by making a financial contribution or becoming a volunteer.  Call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit for more information.

Consolidated Relief Operation Information

August 26, 2007

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This is a consolidated report for Tropical Storm Erin affecting Texas and Oklahoma, and the Midwest flooding affecting Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio and Illinois. Information is current as of August 25, 2007, at 6:00 p.m.

Shelters open: 26

Meals Served: 27,492

Snacks Served: 14,903

Total Red Cross Workers: 1834

Staying Healthy After a Flood

August 26, 2007

 Click here for a printable news release

North Central Ohio Floods

Relief Operation Headquarters

2111 Stonehedge Drive

Findlay, OH 44804

Contact: Lynn Cook

(512) 529-7899



The American Red Cross urges safety as clean-up begins

 FINDLAY, OH , Aug. 25, 2007 – Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters in terms of human hardship and economic loss. The American Red Cross offers the following tips to keep community members safe as they begin to clean-up their homes. 

  • When entering your home, use extreme caution. Building damage may have occurred where you least expect it. Watch carefully every step you take. 
  •  Wear sturdy shoes. The most common injury following a disaster is cut feet.
  •  Use battery-powered lanterns or flashlights when examining buildings. Battery-powered lighting is the safest and easiest, preventing fire hazard for the user, occupants and building.

  •  Examine walls, floors, doors, staircases and windows to make sure that your home is not in danger of collapsing.

  •  Inspect foundations for cracks or other damage. Cracks and damage to a foundation can render a building uninhabitable.

  •  Look for fire hazards. There may be broken or leaking gas lines, flooded electrical circuits, or submerged furnaces or electrical appliances. Flammable or explosive materials may travel from upstream. Fire is the most frequent hazard following floods.

  •  Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can and call the gas company from a neighbor’s home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional.

  •  Look for electrical damage. If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell burning insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice.

  •  Check for sewage and waterline damage. If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, contact the water company and avoid using water from the tap. You can obtain safe water from undamaged water heaters or by melting ice cubes.

  •  Watch for loose plaster, drywall and ceilings that could fall. 

  • Take pictures of the damage, both of the building and its contents for insurance claims. Throw away food that has come in contact with flood waters. Some canned foods may be salvageable. If the cans are dented or damaged, throw them away. Food contaminated by flood waters can cause severe infections.

  • If water is of questionable purity, boil or add bleach and distill drinking water before using.

  •  Pump out flooded basements gradually (about one-third of the water per day) to avoid structural damage. If the water is pumped completely in a short period of time, pressure from water-saturated soil on the outside could cause basement walls to collapse.

  •  Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits and leaching systems as soon as possible.

  •  If you hire cleanup or repair contractors, be sure they are qualified to do the job. Be wary of people who drive through neighborhoods offering help in cleaning up or repairing your home. Check references.