Red Cross, American Cadet Alliance proves fruitful

September 5, 2007



 By: Glenda Plunkett
American Red Cross


ROCHESTER, MN, September 2, 2007; It takes so many pieces to assemble any puzzle and which is akin to a disaster relief operation. Each piece does their job and when the pieces are totaled up they make a picture, except this picture is one of relief.

One of the pieces of the Minnesota – Wisconsin Flood Disaster Relief Operation is the help of the American Cadet Alliance. The cadets start at age 12 and go through 17 years old. “The cadets are in trained with a military preciseness and are at the disposal of the Red Cross,” said Sergeant Jason Albers.

The nation’s number two man in this program is Lieutenant Colonel Joseph M. Land, Sr., said, “It’s all about the mission for these dedicated youths. This program is about inspiring national pride to others. All people as citizens should step up at some point to help others. We all have an obligation to do something for our nation. When these youths put on that uniform they represent heroes. The decorum they present emulates those heroes.”

The cadets may be assigned to clean up in affected areas, security, traffic control, load or unload trucks, or perimeter containment to name a few. The cadets like the Red Cross are here to help people, communities, and their country. For the first few days in the aftermath of the flood it was their job to keep a tight perimeter for the town of Rushford. Without proper identification no one was allowed to enter the town of Rushford which received extensive damage from the flood.

“The cadets have brought security to the headquarters of the American Red Cross in Rochester, MN. They are mobile and can be plugged into the need as we see it arise. They also helped affected populations clean up their communities. To say that they are useful to us is an understatement,” said Pat Kraemer, Director of the Minnesota – Wisconsin Flood American Red Cross Disaster Relief Operation.

Eight cadets endured long hours, hot weather, mud, and debris to help. This group of cadets included: Sergeant Jason Albers, US Army Cadet Corps; Instructor Jack Rector, American Cadet Alliance; Private Jacob Recht, US Army Cadet Corps; Private Frist Class David Andrzejeski, Minnesota Army National Guard; Private Kazi Tyler Rashid, Minnesota Army National Guard. One of their own, Sgt. Jason Albers, said, “This gives youth an opportunity to decide whether a military life is for them. And as far this group of guys goes, they are a stellar group of people.”

 “I have been doing this for about 30 years. I started as a cadet myself. It’s an opportunity to become a part of something bigger than them,” Land said. “I think the partnership with the Red Cross on this mission has been a highly successful one and would like to see an agreement formalized. I would like to see the American Cadet Alliance working with the Red Cross become more of a norm. Hopefully, you will see more of us in the future.”


September 4, 2007

News Release Header 


Attention News Directors: Please air this announcement immediately through September 4, 2007


This is an IMPORTANT message from the American Red Cross for THOSE AFFECTED BY THE RECENT Minnesota/Wisconsin floods. The Red Cross will close its disaster relief Service Center IN soldiers grove (crawford county), WISCONSIN today at 3pm. and the service center in winona, minnesota will close on Tuesday, september 4th at 5pm. If you have been affected by the floods and STILL need assistance but have not been to a Red Cross Service Center, please do so as soon as possible. or call the Red Cross TOLL FREE at 1-866-GET-INFO.

Findlay, OH: Loading food aboard Red Cross vehicle

September 4, 2007

Findley, OH: Loading food aboard Red Cross vehicle at Souther Baptist kitchen

A Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle is loaded with food, water, and supplies at the Southern Baptist kitchen prior to delivering hot meals to flood-impacted neighborhoods.

Photo credit:  Allen Crabtree, American Red Cross

Findley, OH

August 31, 2007

Findlay, OH: Thank you Red Cross

September 4, 2007

Findlay, OH: Thank you Red Cross

This sign, posted on the side of a condemned home in Findley, expresses the sentiments of many impacted by the floods in North Central Ohio.  Shown here are the Red Cross volunteer crew of ERV 2165, (l-r) Joseph Molnar, Sue Richardson, and Julie Bauer.

Photo credit:  Allen Crabtree, American Red Cross

Findley, OH

August 31, 2007

Findlay, OH: Thank you American Red Cross

September 4, 2007

Allen Crabtree

Southern Maine Chapter, Portland ME

Public Affairs Volunteer

Cell (207) 653-9271

 “Thank you American Red Cross for all that you are doing!” 

Friday, August 31, 2007FINDLAY, OH – The residents of the flood-devastated Brookside Drive neighborhood lay down their shovels and wheelbarrows when they hear the air horn on Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) #2155 coming down their street.  They walk out to the curb to meet the ERV and its crew, whom they are getting to know as old friends.  The Red Cross is here with a hot meal, some cold water, and encouraging words for them as they face the daunting task of digging out and cleaning up from the floods. 

“The Red Cross has just been wonderful for us,” said homeowner Faye Lane.  “We hear you coming along the street and we know it is time to take a break and eat. The first time my neighbors and I up and down the street heard the ERV air horn we didn’t know what it was, but now it is as familiar and welcome as a dinner bell.”

She continued: “There is so much to do to clean up.  I can’t tell you how helpful all the Red Cross support has been to help up get back on our feet.”

Lane said that the 28 years she and her family have lived on Brookside Drive these were the second floods they have experienced here, but that the 2007 floods came on particularly fast.  By 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday the water was waste deep in their basement, and by the time the fire department came in a boat to evacuate her husband and son at 9:15 p.m. the water had filled their basement and was coming into the first floor of the house.

The Lanes, with help from their family and neighbors have now cleaned everything out of the basement and ripped out drywall and insulation.   All that was damaged by flood waters on the first floor and in the garage has also been removed, “but we have two stories and weren’t as badly hit as some of our neighbors who have only a ranch.”

All dozen of the crew working on the cleanup have had their tetanus shots, and the Lane’s have been visited by a Red Cross case worker doing outreach.  One of their neighbors whose lawn mower was not damaged by the flooding has mowed all their lawns, just to help out.

The Lane’s are one of the more fortunate families in the flooded neighborhoods in Findlay.  Not too far away, James Bowling has lost everything.  He is a renter at East Main Cross Street and lost everything when the water rose to five feet deep in his apartment.  The building has been condemned as unsafe and the landlord has said that he is not going to repair it.  The building will likely be torn down.  Members of the Calvary Baptist Church have come to help Bowling remove flood damaged furniture and clothes from the apartment and to salvage what personal effects that they could.  Bowling has found another place to stay temporarily.

Despite this tragedy, he still is thankful for all the help that the American Red Cross has provided to him and the community since the floods.  He told Red Cross volunteer Joseph Molnar driving ERV #2165 that he had lived all of his live in Findlay and Toledo, and couldn’t say enough about the Red Cross. Bowling drew a large sign and posted it on the side of his building that said “Thank you American Red Cross for all that you are doing.”

Red Cross nurse offers assistance to Indiana flood victim

September 4, 2007

Red Cross nurse offer help to Indiana flood victim

Red Cross Nurse Gail O’Neill-Merchant talks to Susan Goodman, a victim of the NW Indiana Flooding.

Red Cross Nurse offers help to Indiana flood victim

September 4, 2007

Red Cross Nurse offers help to Indiana flood victim

Four strong chicks provide Red Cross assistance to flood victims

By Courtney Miller, American Red Cross Public Affairs


            It’s been a tiring day for Belinda Tolle, a volunteer from the Ft. Kearney Chapter of the American Red Cross. Tolle and her team of three other Red Cross volunteers from across the country spent the morning driving through the streets of Lake Station, IN, meeting flood victims and making sure they had the proper means to get back on their feet.

            “These people are in desperate straits,” says Tolle. “This isn’t an easy story.”

            Tolle and her team, which includes Carole Raymundo, a client caseworker from the Southern Tier Chapter in Endicott, NY, Gail O’Neill-Merchant, a nurse from the Greater Steuban Chapter in Corning NY, and Susan Halford, a mental health volunteer from the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter in Philadelphia, have been working together for two days and feel they have a strong team.

            “We work well together and we have a system that doesn’t overwhelm the people we’re working with,” says Tolle.

            “We’ve met some great clients and we’re happy that we’re out here with the ability to solve their needs,” says Raymundo.

            On Saturday, September 1, 2007, the team left the Northwest Indiana Chapter in their rental car and ventured out into surrounding neighborhoods that had been affected by recent flooding. They weren’t prepared for what they found in a small neighborhood in Lake Station, Indiana.

            One of first people they met in the neighborhood was Susan Goodman and her son Justin. Susan had two broken feet and was using a wheelchair to get around. Their home had been one of the hardest hit during the flooding and standing water remains in their basement.

            “The Red Cross provided the clean up kits and water and they’ve been the only organization to come out here to make sure we’re ok,” said Goodman, who sits in her wheelchair on the front porch to get fresh air and to take a break from breathing in the stench of mold.

            “We’ll be giving the Goodman family direct assistance to make sure they can get what they need,” says Tolle.

            Meeting families like the Goodman family is difficult. When asked how this group manages to keep their spirits up and those of the families they work with, Susan Halford, the mental health volunteer from Philadelphia says, “We’re a group of four strong chicks. We laugh a lot. These situations are tragic, but every one of these families is so grateful and so respectful, we go away feeling good.”