Donating to the American Red Cross this Giving Tuesday can double your impact

Every donation, no matter how small, helps save lives, as #HelpCantWait

By Tim Poe, American Red Cross volunteer

Tomorrow, November 29th is Giving Tuesday, a day which encourages and celebrates local giving, generosity, and humanity. This year, the need for charitable giving and the American Red Cross mission is as vital as ever. 2022 has been a year of crisis for families and communities here in Northern Ohio and throughout the world.

For this year’s Giving Tuesday, the Red Cross is issuing a matching gift opportunity for all donations made at redcross.org. Sponsored by the Coca-Cola Company, all donations made – regardless of designation – will be matched dollar for dollar up to $250,000.

Even small donations have a major impact. A donation made through redcross.org can be as little as $10, yet provides tremendous hope in a time of crisis or helps prevent disaster. A few examples include providing a smoke alarm and fire safety education; aiding someone to learn CPR; assisting a family with a meal, supplies, and safe place to stay after a home fire; helping someone receive a lifesaving blood transfusion; and aiding a family contact a deployed member of the military during an emergency.

In addition to donating at redcross.org, you can text “REDCROSS” to 90999 and give $10 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief, which will appear on your wireless bill, or call 1-800- HELP NOW (1-800-435-7669).

As a Red Cross volunteer in various capacities, I can attest to the impact these donations have on people’s lives, as I have often seen the moment when people who have experienced a disaster realize they have support, that others care, that they will be able to recover and move on.

And help is needed. The climate crisis is increasing the frequency and intensity of natural disasters. So far in 2022, the Red Cross has responded to 15 billion-dollar disasters, more than twice the number that struck annually two decades ago. Internationally, global conflict and Africa’s hunger crisis have devastated millions, and the Red Cross has provided humanitarian aid in more than 108 countries this year.

Last January, the Red Cross experienced its worst blood shortage in over a decade, due to ongoing collection challenges and varied hospital demand during the pandemic. While the crisis was overcome, thanks to generous blood donors, the need for blood is constant. Hospitals in northern Ohio, as everywhere, need a reliable supply of blood to aid those in an accident, parents with complicated childbirths, individuals battling cancer, and people with sickle cell disease.

You can also help the Red Cross through donating blood or exploring volunteer opportunities.

Whether you care to donate finances, blood, or time, doing so will help the Red Cross continue its crucial, lifesaving mission.

Deck the halls with Red Cross safety

By Ryan Lang, American Red Cross board member and volunteer

Red Cross board member and volunteer Ryan Lang decorating the Christmas tree.

Nothing ties the holidays together quite like decorations. Between the lighted trees, the stockings hung by the chimney with care, and the 20-foot inflatable Santa in the front yard, holiday décor has gotten more elaborate.  
 
Even if you’re not going all Clark Griswold with “250 strands of lights, 100 individual bulbs per strand, for a grand total of 25,000 imported Italian twinkle lights,” it’s important to play it safe.  
 
The American Red Cross offers these steps you can take to deck your halls safely:  
 
Check all holiday light cords to ensure they aren’t frayed or broken. Don’t string too many strands of lights together — no more than three per extension cord.  
 
Turn off all holiday lights when going to bed or leaving the house.  
 
Ensure outside decorations are for outdoor use and fasten lights securely to your home or trees. If using hooks or nails outside, make sure they are insulated to avoid an electrocution or fire hazard.  
 
If buying an artificial tree, look for the fire-resistant label. When putting it up, keep it away from fireplaces, radiators and other sources of heat. Never use electric lights on metallic trees.  
 
If getting a live tree, make sure it’s fresh and keep it watered. To test if the tree is fresh, bend the needles up and down to make sure no needles fall off.  
 
Don’t light the fireplace if hanging stockings or other decorations on the mantel.  
 
Check the labels of older decorations. Some older tinsel is lead-based. If using angel hair, wear gloves to avoid irritation. Avoid breathing in artificial snow.  
 
If using a ladder, be extra careful. Make sure to have good, stable placement and wear shoes that allow for good traction.  

Additionally, if you use traditional candles, keep flammable items, including curtains and holiday decorations, at least 3 feet away from your candles. Keep your menorah or kinara on a non-flammable surface to catch the melting candle wax, such as a tray lined with aluminum foil. Never leave lit candles unattended.
 
For more holiday safety tips, visit RedCross.org

How to ruin a perfect Thanksgiving dinner!

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross volunteer

Been there. Done that. And from experience, I can tell you it wasn’t pleasant.

Photo Credit: Doug Bardwell, Red Cross volunteer

Yes, we had an oven fire…

And our bird was toast – literally…

And our kitchen was full of smoke…

And family was arriving.

The smoke alarm was annoyingly loud. Everyone wanted to know the story of how it happened, but secretly, they wanted the turkey, which wasn’t to be that year.

So, what lessons were learned?

To feed a family this size, we needed a big bird, and our mistake was putting a giant bird in too small of a pan. The legs overlapped the sides of the pan, and grease dripped onto the lower burners, which must have started burning almost immediately. When we noticed it, the entire oven was smoke and flame- filled.

To our credit, we had a charged and ready home fire extinguisher outside the kitchen door. That was fortunate, because the flames in the oven precluded reaching in and removing the pan with the turkey until the fire was out.

Photo Credit: Doug Bardwell, Red Cross volunteer

Also, we had enough side dishes to have a glorious feast still…once the smoke cleared. We averted a tragedy. And, we use larger pans now.

We didn’t adhere to Rule Number One in this Red Cross Thanksgiving cooking tips list – Don’t be like us.

Every eight minutes, donations to the Red Cross help someone affected by a disaster—most often, home fires. You can help save lives by making a financial donation to support our mission, signing up to become a volunteer, or taking steps to protect your family from home fires. Visit redcross.org to learn more.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer

Posted by Ryan Lang, American Red Cross board member and volunteer

Surgeries don’t stop for the holidays and neither does the need for blood

By Christy Peters, American Red Cross Regional Communications Manager

I haven’t spent much time in casinos, but I’ve heard many of them have no clocks or windows visible, on purpose. With no concept of hours passing, much less whether it’s day or night, it’s much easier to part with one’s money. I recently discovered another, much less fun place where time flies by but also stands completely still – a hospital waiting room.

Christy Peters, with her father Dave

A week ago, my father underwent open heart surgery to replace his mitral valve. My father is
very healthy and has never had major health issues, so it was difficult to wrap my head around him having such a major surgery. As we waited with him before he was taken to the operating room, he mentioned that he was asked by the nurse if he would take a blood transfusion, should the need arise during his surgery. He found it ironic, since his daughter works for the American Red Cross. All I could think of was the number of times I’d told someone “You never know when someone you love may need a blood transfusion.”

The winter months are always a difficult time for the Red Cross to collect blood. That difficulty increases when you consider the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is predicting a serious spread of flu, already reporting an early spike in cases in several states. When seasonal illnesses increase, the number of healthy donors tends to decrease, leaving the Red Cross blood supply vulnerable to a potential shortage over the holidays. Donors − especially those with type O blood and those giving platelets − can help bolster the blood supply now by making an appointment to give in the coming weeks.

Dave, the author’s father, with Reid, one of his eight grandchildren

Thankfully, my father’s surgery was a complete success, and he didn’t need a transfusion. I know that is not always the case. My dad was one of hundreds of patients going into surgery that day, many probably facing a procedure more complicated than his. And I was one of hundreds of daughters, sons, wives and husbands hoping that, if the need arose, blood would be available for the person I love. Available because a stranger I didn’t know took an hour out of their day to give blood. So, to all of you who give and will give, thank you. You each make the long wait in a hospital a little easier for families like mine.

On Veterans Day and every day, Red Cross helps active-duty military, veterans and families cope

By Eilene E. Guy, American Red Cross volunteer

Today is Veterans Day, when we honor those who have served in our military. But tomorrow and every day after this national holiday passes, the American Red Cross will continue to honor and support veterans, military members and their families. For more than 100 years, the Red Cross has been helping active-duty men and women in uniform, their families and veterans deal with the unique challenges of military service.

It’s no secret that military life is stressful. Those of us in civilian life can only imagine the toll it takes to be in combat or challenged with heavy responsibilities, leaving and reuniting with family and home, being uprooted, adjusting to assignment after assignment.

Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces has a whole catalogue of programs to ease those burdens – everything from a reassuring presence on battlefields, deployment stations and military hospitals across the globe to reunification and readjustment workshops here on the home front.

There are even Red Cross programs designed specifically for children who have to deal with the unique social and emotional challenges of military life.

Northern Ohio Region Red Cross volunteer Tom Adams of Cleveland uses his education, training and skills as a clinical social worker to facilitate free, confidential resiliency
workshops on bases around the country. He recently returned from Texas, where he has done sessions at Fort Bliss, Fort Hood and Fort Tyler. Some of the highlights of his assignments over more than a dozen years include assisting service members at Fort Pickett in Virginia, Orlando, Fla. and Wright-Patterson here in Ohio.

Tom sees genuine gratitude in the people he works with. Explaining why he volunteers he said, “I can give up a weekend without pay to give them a thumbnail sketch of how to handle what life throws at them. I find it really humbling to be able to do this.”

Tom structures his small-group workshops as conversations, encouraging participants to share the challenges they face in a safe space. “Then I suggest options for handling these situations,” Tom said. “I’m not there to ‘teach.’ My goal is to give them tools they can use, when they need them.”

Here in northern Ohio, the Red Cross is also active with National Guard and Reserve units, conducting workshops to help ease the transitions of deployment and reconnection after active duty.

Jessica Tischler, regional director of Service to the Armed Forces for the Northern Ohio Red Cross recruits and trains volunteers with certification in mental health and social work fields for that program.

“I have the privilege of interacting with veterans every day and hearing their stories of service and sacrifice,” she said. “It’s gratifying every Veterans Day to see the American public come together as a community to thank the men and women who served our country.”

The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the public. Our support for the U.S. military dates back to World War I, and we’re proud to maintain our founders’ commitment to the men and women who have served or continue to serve.

For more information or to volunteer or donate to support the Red Cross mission of helping active and retired military members, visit redcross.org or our Spanish site, CruzRojaAmericana.org, or follow us on Twitter at @RedCross.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer

Posted by Ryan Lang, American Red Cross board member and volunteer

Mike’s 2022 Veterans Day message

By Mike Parks, RADM, U.S. Coast Guard (Ret.), CEO, American Red Cross Northern Ohio Region

November 9, 2022 – Family and Friends of the Red Cross of Northern Ohio – greetings as we prepare this week to honor our nation’s Veterans on Friday, November 11th.  We do so in commemoration of World War I’s Armistice which was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.   Today there are approximately 18.5 million living Veterans in the United States.  Of the 16 plus million people who served in World War II—“America’s Greatest Generation”—only 167,284 (just over 1%) are alive today and we’re losing 180 WWII Veterans every single day.  The origins of the American Red Cross are rooted in the wartime experiences of our beloved founder Clara Barton during our nation’s horrific Civil War.  The history of the American Red Cross is replete with heart-warming stories of the American Red Cross serving those Veterans who have served our grateful nation ever since.    

It is customary on Veterans Day (there is no apostrophe) to express our thanks and appreciation to Veterans we know or that we come across on that day.  A simple “Thank you for your service.” is wholly appropriate.  Although there is some debate on this (many Veterans don’t like to be thanked because they feel they were just doing their duty), it is my personal opinion that we should not limit our expression of gratitude for Veterans to one day a year.  Veterans past and present served and continue to serve 365 days a year (and 366 every fourth year!) so it’s fitting to thank them each and every day for their selfless service and sacrifice.  If you’re a Veteran reading this—THANK YOU for your selfless service and sacrifice!!!

Speaking of sacrifice—we also celebrate Military Family Appreciation Month in November.  Frequent moves, missed holidays, birthdays and anniversaries, and periods of long separation are all par-for-the-course for military families.  I feel I can state with a high degree of certainty that the love, encouragement, sacrifice, support and prayers provided by military families has been, and continues to be, critical to the success and welfare of our entire Veteran community. 

June 20, 2018. Washington, DC. Development SAF Stock Photography Project 2018. Photo by Roy Cox/American Red Cross

It’s appropriate we recognize our Veterans and their families in the month of November—the same month we celebrate Thanksgiving—a holiday focused on counting our blessings and expressing our genuine gratitude for our rich bounty.  Coming full circle, one of our greatest blessings is the freedom we each experience here in America.  This freedom would in no way be possible without the sacrifice of all those Veterans we honor this Friday! 

Thanks again to each and every one of you for your support of Veterans and the American Red Cross of Northern Ohio!  Best regards…Mike

Northern Ohio volunteer delivered supplies and hope in the wake of Hurricane Ian

By Michael deVulpillieres, American Red Cross

Destruction was everywhere as a large truck with an American Red Cross logo taped to its side made its way slowly through Coastal Estates, a small Fort Myers neighborhood lined with single family homes, most either wiped out entirely or badly damaged by Hurricane Ian.

On one side of the street, a stray cat wandered inside a blown-out manufactured home. A few doors down, the driver paused at the sight of a metal roof wrapped around a palm tree.

“Within 30 minutes, we had five feet of water here,” Reba Fennessy told Red Cross volunteers Lisa Mize and David Tolander. “It was so scary.”

American Red Cross volunteers David Tolander of Iowa and Lisa Mize of Huron, Ohio deliver relief supplies to a small neighborhood in Fort Myers, Florida, hit hard by Hurricane Ian. Photo credit: Michael deVulpillieres, American Red Cross

Mize, who is from Huron, Ohio, and Tolander, from Waterloo, Iowa, first met a week earlier after arriving in Southwest Florida to be part of the hurricane relief efforts. They were assigned to deliver supplies together in some of the hardest hit parts of the state.

Their presence meant more than the much-needed free relief items like tarps, bins, brooms, rakes, batteries, bleach and trash bags that filled their truck. Mize and Tolander also represented the reassurance that help would continue to be available as long as needed.

“We’re here where the Gulf (of Mexico) meets the Bay (of the Caloosahatchee River), so we got a double whammy,” Catherine Casby said. The storm surge, pushed by 160-mile-an-hour winds, destroyed so many of the homes around hers. Though damaged, her small house is still standing.

Catherine Casby, a resident of Fort Myers, Fla., hit hard by Hurricane Ian, speaks with Red Cross volunteer Lisa Mize. Photo Credit: Michael deVulpillieres, American Red Cross

Casby spends her days clearing debris, cleaning up inside, and keeping an eye on her neighbors. “We look after each other,” she said of her tight-knit community. In fact, the night Ian made landfall, Casby braved the winds and flood waters to check on residents next door, injuring her leg in the process.

While Mize, who works as a nurse back home, was handing out supplies, she asked Casby about her noticeable limp. Casby said she spent a few days in the hospital after the storm and is slowly recovering.

“That’s the hardest part, the stories,” Mize said of the physical and emotional scars left by Ian. Yet during her Red Cross deployment, Mize has learned how to “laugh and smile, even in the worst of it.” Her positive disposition and sense of humor lifted the spirits of those around her.

“The people are so appreciative of seeing anyone here,” Tolander said. “Many told us the Red Cross was the first and only people they’ve seen (helping).”

Fennessy recalled how, a week after landfall, the Red Cross was in Coastal Estates providing warm meals. “It made us feel that someone cared,” she said, her voice breaking up with emotion.

Before accepting some cleanup supplies from the truck, Fennessy looked up at Mize in the back of the vehicle and said, “If I could come up there, I’d give you a hug.” Mize promptly climbed down to share an embrace.

Despite having just met a week earlier, Mize and Tolander talked and joked as if they’d known each other for years. There was a seamlessness about the way they worked together.

“We’ve clicked really well,” said Mize, who recently joined the Red Cross. “This is my first deployment. But Dave has been on a lot, so he’s taught me quite a bit.” She paused. “He taught me that it’s OK to cry sometimes.”

American Red Cross relief is free to anyone with disaster-caused needs, thanks to the generosity of the American people. To become a trained disaster volunteer, like Mize and Tolander, go to redcross.org/volunteer or call 1-800-REDCROSS.

If you would like to support the Hurricane Ian response financially, visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, text the words IAN to 90999 to make a $10 donation, or call 1-800-HELP NOW.

Edited by Eilene Guy, American Red Cross volunteer
Posted by Ryan Lang, American Red Cross board member and volunteer

Former NEO Board member now volunteering in Florida to help neighbors deal with Hurricane Ian aftermath

By Betty Adams, American Red Cross volunteer

After learning that most of his Fort Myers-area neighbors were safe following the storm surge from Hurricane Ian, Brad Roller, a recent transplant from Cleveland, wanted to help the American Red Cross help others wherever he could.

Former Northeast Ohio Chapter board member Brad Roller. Photo Credit: Selena Hardy, American Red Cross
Former Northeast Ohio Chapter board member Brad Roller. Photo Credit: Selena Hardy, American Red Cross

So he signed up as what the Red Cross calls an event-based volunteer, and immediately found himself with a Red Cross feeding team in a vehicle packed with hot food for people in the hard-hit region.

“Today’s my first day on the job,” Roller said. “I’ve never done feeding before, but I’m a very experienced eater.”

“He’s going to be great,” said Katherine Reilly, one of the two regular feeding team volunteers, as they finished securing insulated food containers, water and snacks in the vehicle.

“He’s going to see a lot of people in one of the most devastated areas of Fort Myers,” his new teammate, Travis Lindsay, said. “We’re going to Fort Myers Beach and a lot of folks there are grateful we’re there helping them.

“There’s no other source of food on that island other than us and the World Kitchen. So we’ll be meetin’ and greetin’ those folks and giving them food so they can back to cleaning up their houses.”

Back in Northeast Ohio, Roller was a Red Cross disaster action team member for years as well as a Northeast Ohio Chapter board member. Now living much farther south, he and his family had minimal damage from the storm. “I’ve seen the devastation on TV, and my motivation is to help where I can help,” he said.

Ft. Myers Beach after Hurricane Ida

Roller and his family had prepared for the hurricane. “I sat looking out my sliding glass doors watching things blowing all over the place. We were enough inland that we didn’t feel too threatened, but we were prepared to go into a safe room if our 160-mile-an-hour glass didn’t hold. Fortunately, everything did, and we just had minor damage, but it was pretty ferocious.”

Roller was one of six event-based volunteers scheduled of help with mobile feeding the day he joined the relief effort. The Red Cross welcomes spontaneous local volunteers, who receive a background screening and abbreviated training for tasks across the operation to help those still working to recover from historic wind and water damage across Florida.

To become a trained disaster volunteer, go to redcross.org/volunteer or call 1-800-REDCROSS.

American Red Cross relief is free to anyone with disaster-caused needs, thanks to the generosity of the American people. If you would like to support the Hurricane Ian response financially, visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, text the words IAN to 90999 to make a $10 donation, or call 1-800-HELP NOW.

Tips to ensure a safe and fun Halloween

By Ryan Lang, Red Cross board member and volunteer

Spooky season is here and soon our streets will be lined with trick-or-treaters looking for Halloween handouts. With that in mind, the American Red Cross has compiled a list of tips for parents to help keep kids safe while enjoying the holiday, especially as we continue to navigate the pandemic.

  1. Make sure trick-or-treaters can see and be seen. Give kids a flashlight to light their way and consider adding reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
  2. Plan the trick-or-treat route in advance and make sure adults know where their children are going. A parent or responsible adult should accompany young children door-to-door. 
  3. It’s not only vampires and monsters people have to look out for. Be cautious around animals, especially dogs.
  4. Walk only on the sidewalks, not in the street. Avoid running. Look both ways before crossing the street, and cross only at the corner. Don’t cross between parked cars.
  5. Only visit homes that have a porch light on, and never go inside.
  6. Make sure a grown-up checks the goodies before eating. Make sure to remove loose candy, open packages and choking hazards. Discard any items with brand names that you are not familiar with.
  7. Make your cloth mask part of your costume. A costume mask is not a safe substitute for a cloth mask. Avoid wearing a costume mask over a cloth mask as it can make breathing difficult.
  8. Plan outdoor activities and avoid indoor events where the risk of virus transmission is higher.
  9. Bring hand sanitizer with you while trick-or-treating and use it after touching objects or other people. Wash your hands when you get home.
  10. Avoid trick-or-treating in large groups, and social distance from others around the neighborhood.

For those planning to welcome trick-or-treaters to their homes, follow these safety steps:

  • Give out treats outdoors, if possible.
  • Avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters by setting up an area with individually bagged treats for kids to take. Wash your hands before handling treats.
  • Maintain social distancing and wear a cloth mask.
  • Light the area well so young visitors can see.
  • Sweep leaves from your sidewalks and steps. Clear your porch or front yard of obstacles someone could trip over.

Trick or treat dates and times vary; in Northeast Ohio, check here and in Northwest Ohio, here. You can also visit your city’s website for specific information.

Download the free Red Cross First Aid app for instant access to expert advice in case your ghost, goblin or superhero has a mishap. Use the Emergency app for weather alerts and to let others know you are safe if severe weather occurs. Find these and all of the Red Cross apps in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps. 

Disaster aid stations provide much needed supplies, snacks and meals for families recovering from Hurricane Ian

By Mandy McMahon, American Red Cross

Three weeks after Hurricane Ian made landfall along Florida’s Gulf coast, the American Red Cross continues to serve communities throughout Southwest and Central Florida. Hundreds of people are still relying on shelters and support following the storm.  

Stow resident Christina Krieger

“We have a long journey ahead. It’s just begun. Even after three weeks there’s still a major amount of devastation. I think it’s going to be a two-year journey,” said Christina Krieger from Stow, Ohio who came to Fort Myers Beach to help her mother pick up the pieces after her home of 22 years was flooded by the hurricane. “All her belongings are laying outside. We have to clean off all the muck and salt just to prepare it for storage while the home is rebuilt inside. It’s really hard – it’s devastating.” 

Christina came to the Disaster Aid Station on Fort Myers Beach on Thursday looking for a meal while she and her mother work through the wreckage searching for salvageable items. At Disaster Aid Stations, the American Red Cross offers mobile feeding and emergency supply distribution, alongside other organizations providing essential services such as laundry and bathroom facilities for Fort Myers Beach residents where water and power utilizes are still not operational.  

Residents waiting in line for a hot meal from the Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle express the struggle of cleaning up an overwhelming amount of destruction caused by high winds and more than seven feet of storm surge.  

“We’ve been working 18-hour days to accomplish what we can before we go back home. What the Red Cross offers for meals and extra supplies is so helpful – it’s one less thing we have to think about. We’ll try to come back in a month when maybe the electricity will be back on,” Christina describes the daunting task of helping her mother down the path to recovery. “Thank you to the American Red Cross for being here, and to everyone else along the beach who’s providing free meals. Don’t forget about us – please stay.” 

Christina hopes that she can come back someday and see the Fort Myers Beach she remembers as a place of fun and relaxation. Residents seeking help at the Disaster Aid Station expressed their hope that vacationers will come back and help the island recover.  

“You can see things on TV, but until you experience it firsthand and feel it, you have no idea what it’s like. We did evacuate, but when we came back, we just cried,” said Cheryl McAllister, describing her reaction to seeing the devastation to her home and community. “Everybody that sees the destruction cries because they’ve been here before and they know what it was, but we will come back. Fort Myers Beach will come back; it just takes time.” 

Like so many other Floridians impacted by the storm, Cheryl calls herself fortunate despite losing her possessions that were either washed out or mangled by flood waters. Her home is still standing.  

Red Cross Disaster Aid Station after Hurricane Ian at Fort Myers Beach, Florida

Red Cross has been amazing. They’re so nice – they stop and ask if you’re ok and make you feel better. They’ve given us food and water,” Cheryl said as she holds hot meals to take back to her home. “We’ve been here a couple of days without any electricity, water or sewage. We come here to get lunch – we usually only eat one meal a day, which is this one.” 

To date, the American Red Cross has provided nearly 1.5 million meals and snacks with the help of our partners. Additionally, more than 350,000 relief items, including comfort kits and other supplies have been provided to people in need serving more than 20,000 total households. 

“We appreciate everything the American Red Cross does and every other organization that’s here helping. I thank everybody who’s helping, volunteering, who cares about us,” said Cheryl. “We’re off the news, but it’s still new and it’s still raw. It’s nice not to be forgotten.” 

Posted by Ryan Lang, Red Cross board member and volunteer