National Volunteer Week spotlight: Carol Schemmer is dedicated to helping others

By: Sam Pudelski, American Red Cross volunteer

Carol Schemmer of Ottawa County is no stranger to the amazing work that the Red Cross does here at home and abroad.

“When I was in the military, I saw the work of the Red Cross firsthand — when military members needed support to get back home in an emergency or to communicate with loved ones,” said Carol.

Carol has spent her life helping others. She has held many distinguished roles in her life, including spending 22 years serving as a nurse in the United States Navy, leading an emergency room in Connecticut and teaching at Lorain County Community College, just to name a few.

Currently, she spends her time as a volunteer with the State of Ohio Medical Reserve Core (MRC) administering COVID-19 vaccines and as a leader for Club Red, a local organization that supports the Northern Ohio Region of the Red Cross through fundraising and advocacy efforts.

“Carol is an idea person and an action person. She’s always willing to step up and offer advice or help coordinate boots on the ground. She is highly organized, extremely reliable and caring,” said Rachel Hepner-Zawodny, executive director of the Red Cross of Northwest Ohio.

As part of Club Red, Carol has led the group to fundraise for the Red Cross but also expanded its effort to teach CPR to communities. She believes that CPR is so easy to learn, yet can be so vital to saving a person’s life during an emergency.

Carol admires the Red Cross volunteers who coordinate and deploy to disasters to offer relief to those affected. When disaster strikes, volunteers are there to provide basic necessities to communities impacted by a flood, storm or other natural disaster—supplying food, water, medical care and more. These efforts are possible thanks to donations and the support of volunteers—who make up over 90% of the Red Cross workforce.

We cannot do the work that we do abroad and at home without the support of people like Carol. Her dedication to supporting others in need throughout her life as a nurse and as a volunteer has helped countless people. We are truly honored to call her a supporter.

If you aren’t a volunteer but are interested in how you could support the Northern Ohio Red Cross, there are many opportunities available for a variety of skill sets. You can visit our website or click here to learn more.

Edited by: Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer

Local realtor puts heart into home buying experience by supporting community charities

By Chris Chmura, American Red Cross volunteer

The Coronavirus Era has challenged us all with our daily lives. But one thing that is certain is that we are learning to adapt with new habits and fresh ideas.

Melissa Utterback is one of those people. She is a successful realtor for the Danberry Co. in Western Ohio. For more than 40 years, Danberry Realtors has been one of the most successful residential real estate brokerages in Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan. Melissa has been in the real estate business for 20 years, 13 at the Danberry Co. Melissa loves that her personal and professional passions for helping others, supporting her local community and providing her customers with an incredible home buying experience are all possible as a Danberry realtor. 

Recently, Melissa successfully sold a property for Rachel Hepner-Zawodny, executive director of the American Red Cross of Northwest Ohio. They were wrapping up the paperwork when Melissa asked Rachel a question. “Which charity would you like to donate a $100 from the Heart of the Home program?” Rachel selected her local American Red Cross. Melissa has donated blood in the past. But this was one extra way for her to give back.

At every closing, her client can select from one of four charities to which she will contribute $100 of her own money.

Melissa’s new Heart of the Home program is inspired by the important role of charities in her local community. At every closing, her client can select from one of four charities to which she will contribute $100 of her own money. She wants her company to be simple to understand, offer a fun element to the home buying process and hopes to “inspire her customers to continue to support their charity of choice.”

Melissa has been giving back for years through Danberry’s charities (for details on the company’s charitable efforts, visit Melissa’s company’s culture is based on charity for community. She came up with the creative idea of Heart of the Home to help her community even more in these tough times.

The Heart of the Home program is based on the premise of authentic connections to customers, friends and peers. She has discovered that this new idea has resulted in being very fulfilling personally and gratifying for customers. 

We thank Melissa for creating the Heart of the Home program designed to support her local community, putting in the hard work to build this fun charity perk for her customers and helping the American Red Cross. 

Melissa is in the process of building her social media platforms for Heart of the Home and can be reached at or by calling (419) 787-8311.

Are you interested in following Melissa’s generous lead and donating to the American Red Cross of Northwest Ohio Chapter? If you would like to donate or volunteer to help those in need or take a lifesaving class, visit

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer