Encore & Red Cross Team Up to Support Veterans

The American Red Cross in Massachusetts partnered with Encore Boston Harbor and their employees to bring some joy this holiday season to veterans at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital in Bedford, Mass.

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John Tocco, Executive Director, Government & Community Relations; and Holly Grant, CEO of the Red Cross in Massachusetts address volunteers and employees.

In a two-day event, Encore Boston Harbor employees and Red Cross volunteers assembled more than 500 bags of supplies for are veterans. Encore Boston Harbor provided shampoo, toothbrushes and other hygiene items, along with activity books to fill up comfort kit bags. Encore employees volunteered to build the kits and distribute them in Bedford to veterans in need.

“The Red Cross is a phenomenal organization and we’re honored to be partnered with them,” said John Tocco, executive director for government and community relations for Encore Boston Harbor. “The Red Cross as a national organization, but it’s the grass roots that appealed to us. Being able to respond to every disaster, being able to connect with the families in our neighborhoods; it’s extremely important to us.”

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More than 30 Encore Boston Harbor employees joined Red Cross staff and volunteers in Medford, Mass., December 5 to make the more than 500 comfort kits. Encore employees wrote ‘thank yous’ in holiday cards and packed them in with the other supplies.

“These partnerships are so important to support our military families and veterans,” said Holly Grant, chief executive officer for the Red Cross in Massachusetts. “The Red Cross needs partnerships like Encore Boston Harbor to help us support both our military communities and those affected everyday by disasters.”

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The Service to Armed Forces program regularly partners with VA facilities across the state to ensure veterans have what they need during their hospital stays.

“I’ve seen their faces when they receive even the smallest gift, they know that someone is thinking about them,” Said Dawn Sargent, director for Service to the Armed Forces in Massachusetts for the Red Cross. “Veterans have told me that the show of support is greater than any gift they might receive.”

The Service to Armed Forces program is one of the founding missions of the Red Cross. By providing emergency communications services, financial assistance and reconnection workshops; the Red Cross and its volunteers help thousands of active duty military members, their families and veterans every year.

Encore Boston Harbor is a $2.6 billion five-star global destination gaming resort featuring 671 hotel rooms with sweeping views of the Boston skyline and Boston Harbor, an ultra-premium spa, specialty retail, award-winning dining, and state-of-the-art ballroom and meeting spaces. The three-million-square-foot resort will generate more than 4,000 construction jobs and 10 million labor hours, more than 4,500 permanent jobs, $265 million in traffic mitigation and approximately $660 million in direct annual expenditures from Wynn ($242 million in annual taxes and fees, $170 million in payroll and $249 million in goods and services to operate and maintain the resort). It is the largest private, single-phase development in the history of the Commonwealth.

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New CEO Hits Ground Running

Is Cooking & Heating Safety on Your To-Do List for Thanksgiving?

As families prepare for the coming holiday and all the trappings that it brings, a rash of recent home fires is a sad reminder that extra care is always a good idea around fire safety.

Since Nov. 15, Red Cross volunteers in Massachusetts responded to seven home fires across our region that displaced 19 families totaling 45 people. These fires displaced families in Amherst, Rockland, Bellingham, Plymouth, Malden and Brockton. Red Cross volunteers in Massachusetts are on call 24/7/365 to respond when the call goes out.

Home fires are more likely to start in the kitchen than any other room in the home. The second leading cause of home fires is heating sources like wood stoves and fireplaces. Fires caused by smoking are the leading cause of deaths.

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Residents should also take steps to ensure their home heating system is properly maintained and in good working order as winter quickly approaches. Furnaces and chimneys should be inspected regularly by a professional to ensure dangerous carbon monoxide gas isn’t collecting in utility and living spaces. Carbon monoxide is a silent killer, all homes should have detectors placed near heating sources to ensure safety.

The American Red Cross provides the means for families to get immediate emergency support such as clothing, food and shelter in the first few days after a fire. Volunteer Client Caseworkers then work with the families to help them navigate the days and weeks following to recovery. The American Red Cross is a charitable organization, not a government agency. It depends on volunteers and the generosity of people like you to perform our mission.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

The Red Cross asks everyone to take two simple steps to help prevent injury and death during a fire in their home – check their smoke alarms and practice fire drills at home. Every household should develop a fire escape plan and practice it several times a year and at different times of the day. The plan should include two ways to get out of every room and a place to meet outside. Consider escape ladders for sleeping areas or homes on the second floor or above.

People should also install smoke alarms on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. The alarms should be tested every month and the batteries replaced at least once a year.

The Red Cross and community partners around the country are participating in a campaign called the “Home Fire Preparedness Campaign.” If you, or someone you know doesn’t have smoke alarms installed in your home, Red Cross is working with local teams to install them free of charge. If you are in need of someone to install smoke alarms, please contact the American Red Cross to arrange for a free smoke alarm installation or battery check by going to redcross.org/ma or by calling 1-800-564-1234.

In Massachusetts, a family is displaced by a disaster – most usually a home fire – on average every two hours. You can help people affected by disasters like home fires and countless other crises by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit redcross.org/MA, call

1-800-564-1234, or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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Lest We Forget – Red Cross volunteers supporting veterans

American Red Cross volunteer Hillary Sandy served for 24 years in the U.S. Army. Now she gives back by volunteering with the Services to the Armed Forces.

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“Working with the military, I see young soldiers coming back after the war,” said Sandy. “We can give back, help support them, help uplift them, and that’s important.

The Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) program dates back to the establishment of the American Red Cross by Clara Barton in May 1881. Today’s American Red Cross volunteers proudly carry on this tradition through the SAF program, which serves as a critical line of communication between the U.S Armed Forces and their families.

Local Red Cross offices develop and maintain relationships with key community partners. Military families rely on the Red Cross to help them identify their needs and connect them to the most appropriate Red Cross and community resources.

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“We provide service for veterans and active military members. We do education and we give information on how to take care of yourself and what to look out for,” said Sandy.

The American Red Cross offers confidential services to all members of the military, veterans, and their families by connecting them with local, state and national resources through our network of chapters in communities across the United States and offices on military installations worldwide.

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“I make them aware or I let them know that, ‘Hey I’m a veteran and I know where you’re coming from, and what you’ve been through,’” said Sandy.

This key Red Cross service ranges from responding to emergency needs for food, clothing, and shelter, referrals to counseling services (e.g., financial, legal, mental health), respite care for caregivers, and other resources that meet the unique needs of local military members, veterans and their families.

“I feel that I contribute to taking care of those in the greatest need. I belong, I’m part of a community. I’m serving a purpose that will be remembered long after I’m gone,” said Sandy.

The American Red Cross Emergency Communications Center is available to help 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call 1-877-272-7337 (toll-free) or contact your local Red Cross.

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“They Saved our Life” A Georgetown Mother and Son Share Their Home Fire Story

by Cuthbert Langley

This originally appeared on the Red Cross Palmetto Post blog. Photo and video by the American Red Cross, SC Region. 

Janette Washington and her son were in church on Sunday when a message stuck with them. Not just a message of faith, but one of preparedness. Firefighters from the Georgetown County Fire Department spoke to the congregation about the importance of having working smoke alarms in their homes. The firefighters said they had free alarms to install from the Palmetto SC Region of the American Red Cross.

“I noticed there was just one in my house, so I decided we needed more,” Janette said.

Educating Georgetown residents about home fire safety is a goal of the Georgetown County Fire Department.

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“Anytime we can get to a community event and talk about fire safety and smoke detectors, we’re there,” said Chief Mack Reed.Educating Georgetown residents about home fire safety is a goal of the Georgetown County Fire Department.

A few days later, the firefighters installed several alarms and discussed with Janette ways to escape from her home should a fire break out. She remembered filing away that conversation, never thinking she’d need to use it.

However, in April, as she was falling back asleep after severe weather woke her up, she heard the screeching sound coming from one of the newly installed smoke alarms.

“When I looked down the hall, all I could was the fire coming from the ceiling,” she remembered.

The mother quickly jumped into action to save herself and her 28-year-old son.

“She calls me, and she bangs on the wall: Timothy, wake up! The house is on fire,” said Timothy.

Within just a few minutes, the mother and son said the smoke began choking them. In that moment, however, Janette remembered: two ways to escape from every room in the house. She remembered they could escape from the back door.

The mother and son are alive today, thanks to the smoke alarms and knowing what to do when a fire occurs.

“It was very scary, but I know for a fact, if it hadn’t been for those fire alarms, I was going back to sleep,” Janette said. “They saved our life. We would have been gone, honestly.”

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In the days following the fire, the Red Cross helped in another way. Volunteers helped the family by providing financial assistance for their immediate needs, replacing necessary medications that burned and providing referrals for other agencies that could help in their recovery.

“For me and my son, [the assistance] was a blessing because we didn’t have nothing at the time,” said the thankful mother.

Janette and Timothy are the 52nd and 53rd lives saved in South Carolina since the Red Cross’ home fire campaign launched in 2014. Together with its partners, the Red Cross has installed more than 57,000 free smoke alarms throughout the state over the last several years.

While much of her home is destroyed, what was not damaged was Janette’s sense of gratitude for the Georgetown County Fire Department, the Red Cross and the working smoke alarms.

“I’ve told a lot of people, if you don’t have one, don’t let a day go by because it’s true: they will save your life,” Janette said.

The Red Cross wants to thank all of the local fire departments, Fire Safe SC and Red Cross volunteers for helping save lives throughout South Carolina.

Red Cross Honors Area Volunteers for Community Contributions

NEWS RELEASE

P.O.C. Jeff Hall
jeff.hall@redcross.org
617-999-3319

Red Cross Honors Area Volunteers for Community Contributions

MEDFORD, Mass., July 26, 2018 – The American Red Crossrco_blog_img_volwill honor 20 volunteers from across Massachusetts for their service to local communities and the mission of alleviating human suffering today at the Regional Headquarters in Medford at 4 p.m.

Volunteers worked in all Red Cross mission areas, helping people after disasters, aiding our men and women in the Armed Forces, as well as their families, training Massachusetts residents in first aid and CPR, and the collection of life-saving blood products.

The Red Cross has been helping Massachusetts residents for more than 100 years, bringing aid and comfort to those affected by disaster. One of the largest missions of the Red Cross in Massachusetts is the response to homes fires, which affected nearly 700 homes last year. Volunteers respond to assist residents displaced by home fires, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Among those being honored are Boylston resident Linda Russell and Quincy resident Stephen Coady, both of who deployed to Texas in 2017 to assist those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Both Linda and Stephen drove Massachusetts-based emergency vehicles to Texas and stayed several weeks on the ground helping those hit hardest.

If you’d like to attend please contact Jeff Hall at the above number.

A Note of Thanks for a Good Deed

The Red Cross is in communities everyday 3helping people affected by disaster, be it a flood, tornado or fire. Home fires account for much of the disaster work the American Red Cross does every day.

Since 2014, the Home Fire Campaign has been making homes safe across the United States. Four years and one million smoke alarms later, volunteers with the Red Cross have helped save nearly 250 people, people who didn’t have working smoke alarms in their homes and were alerted to danger by one of those million smoke alarms.

Here in Massachusetts volunteers installed more than 7,000 smoke alarms in homes across the Commonwealth. Our most vulnerable communities are densely populated areas with multi-family homes and the elderly. Our volunteers are hard at work finding those in need and making homes safer for residents and their local community.

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Our Central Massachusetts Executive Director Kim Goulette, received the following hand-written thank you note from a resident who benefited from the Home Fire Campaign.

Together we can help make more home safer with fire education and smoke alarms.

 

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Dear Ms. Goulette,                                                                                         May 7, 2018

Thank you for sending two Red Cross men to my home to install the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide devices!

Chief D’Amico of the Marlborough Fire Department came also to assist them in making my home safe and protected from smoke and fumes.

I appreciate the “Lunch & Learn” info workshop very much.

 

Sandra M.

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