Third annual door decorating contest spreads holiday cheer and joy

By John Bernard,  Crossroads Division Disaster State Relationship Director

December 19, 2019- Editor’s note: The winner of the 3rd annual Northeast Ohio Region Disaster Cycle Services (DCS) holiday door decorating contest has been announced by John Bernard, the Crossroads Division Disaster State Relationship Director. Like in previous years, we found his comments to be so entertaining that we couldn’t resist including them, along with photos of all 7 doors entered in this year’s competition.

OK, third year in a row. Was hoping for an upward trend. But, I suppose even Santa had tough years – that’s why he hired that bullied kid with the weird nose after all. Anyway, here we go.

Emily Probst, Regional Disaster Workforce Engagement Manager: Let It Snow

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Entire door decorated – with wrapping paper and an anorexic Santa straddling a let it snow ornament. Is this a Santa-came-in-like-a-wrecking-ball theme, borrowing from Miley Cyrus? First, that was 2013 and second, no one wants to see a naked Santa. So, thank you for at least putting clothes on him. I would have suggested a more timely approach – maybe Baby Yoda as Santa?

Renee Palagyi, Senior Regional Disaster Program Manager: Merry Christmas with Santa’s Head and Three Big Snowflakes

door 2 (2)

At first glance, meh. BUT, the Santa head is really nice. Very primitive – which is an “in” thing as far as decorating, as my wife tells me.  It’s not a chinoiserie Santa, but it’s still hot! Thank God it’s not “simple,” “clean” and made from “shiplap.” The long reign of terror under Joanna Gaines has come to an end!

Teresa Greenlief and Carrie Shultz, AmeriCorps American Red Cross Corps: The Chimney

door 3 (2)

Did we NOT cover this a year ago?  We do NOT do fires. Especially ones with so much inflammable….wait a second, flammable….wait, let me get my thesaurus……..WHAT?  They mean the same thing. Well, regardless, so much stuff above it that can catch on fire! Yeah, that snowman would have melted. Holy Santa, look at the size of that one elf in that photo! He’s like 8 feet tall! Must be related to Buddy from the movie.

Debbie Chitester, Disaster Program Manager, Summit, Portage and Medina Counties: Pedro the Penguin Ugly Sweater

Ugly SweaterDoor

Just…what?

Tim O’Toole added the following comments on the door: I think the incorporation of the Pedro theme was very well thought out, however, Pedro lacking both thumbs and fingers, it is unclear how he would have typed the associated message.  So obviously some foul play here.

Tim Reichel, Disaster Program Manager, Stark and Muskingum Lakes Chapter: Honoring Our Heroes

Tim Reichel Door

Going for the heartstrings approach, huh?  Might as well have put baby Yoda up there again.  Wait, you don’t know about Baby Yoda?  Jeez, get Disney + and watch the Mandalorian. Great Western! Anyway…..re those patches organized is the same geographic alignment as they would be on a map? Thank Santa there is not a Coast Guard patch up there!

Tim O’Toole, Regional Disaster Officer: The Wreath

Tim O'Toole Door

Can you honestly suck up to Gail any more? “I took her leadership tips, posted them on my door and put a wreath around them.” I bet you have a Joanna Gaines tattoo on your lower back.

Chad Whitaker, Regional Disaster Manager, Mass Care and Logistics: Two Doormats

Chad Whitaker Door

Had you gone all in with the Jimmy Buffet theme, you’d be the win. BUT, two door mats is like have the nice hand towels in the half bath for guests to look at BUT NOT USE AT ALL! Step over the good one. Well, which one is the good one?

So, with that….

The runner up is Honoring our Heroes. Obvious effort went into getting the patches and putting others before oneself pretty much sums up what it’s all about, right? (Tim Reichel)

The winner is the terribly unsafe, out of proportion, big-elf having chimney! Love seeing those Red Crossers at work, enjoying each other’s company and serving our clients.  Obvious time (not safety efforts) went into this effort. (Teresa Greenlief and Carrie Shultz)

It’s the spirit of giving that makes this holiday special. Every gift is a reflection of love that exists in our hearts. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

JB

Give something that truly means something this holiday season- Give blood!

By Christy Peters, External Communications Manager, Northern Ohio Biomedical Services

December 16, 2019- The American Red Cross urgently needs donors of all blood types to donate blood or platelets and be the lifeline patients need this holiday season.

Monroe Carell Jr Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, Nashville, Tennessee 2019

The need for blood doesn’t take a holiday.

This holiday season there are thousands of patients who will be in the hospital instead of enjoying holiday parties, finishing their shopping or preparing for family gatherings. They’re counting on blood and platelet donors for their treatments.

Blood bank Campaign ceremony 2017

But a decline in donations occurs from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day when donors are busy with holiday activities and travel. Donors of all blood types, especially platelet donors and those with type O blood, are urgently needed to ensure a sufficient supply for patients.

Blood Donation in Murray, Utah 2014

Join the Red Cross at one of several holiday blood drives happening in northeast Ohio and help save lives this holiday season:

Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019

Cuyahoga Falls Holiday Blood Drive

Sheraton Suites Akron/Cuyahoga Falls

1989 Front St., Cuyahoga Falls, 44221

7 a.m.-7 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019

Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse Blood Drive

The Atrium

1 Center Court, Cleveland, 44115

8 a.m.-2 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 20, 2019

Mahoning Valley Holiday Blood Drive

Stambaugh Auditorium, 1000 5th Ave., Youngstown

Packard Music Hall, 1703 Mahoning Ave., Warren

9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 23, 2019

Hilton Garden Inn Twinsburg Holiday Blood Drive

8971 Wilcox Dr., Twinsburg, 44087

7 a.m.-7 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020

Landerhaven Blood Drive

Executive Caterers at Landerhaven

6111 Landerhaven Dr., Mayfield Heights, 44124

7 a.m.-7 p.m.

Bloodmobile Blood Drive Columbia, South Carolina 2018

During the season of giving, please make time to give the gift of life. Appointments can be made by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

Be the lifeline for patients in need this holiday season – Give Blood!

Community urged to help patients in need across northeast Ohio

By Christy Peters, External Communications Manager, Northern Ohio Biomedical Services

November 25, 2019- The American Red Cross urges eligible donors to be the lifeline for patients in need this holiday season by making an appointment to give blood or platelets. While helping to save lives is likely motivation enough, those who come out to give Nov. 18-Dec. 18 will also receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email, courtesy of Suburban Propane.

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As schedules fill with holiday parties, shopping and fun with friends and family, many blood and platelet donors delay giving. Unfortunately, that may lead to delays in treatments for patients relying on blood. Right now, there is a critical need for type O blood donors.

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Join the Red Cross and Cleveland Clinic for a special Black Friday blood drive Friday, Nov. 29 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Emerald Event Center. The center is located at the Residence Inn by Marriott, 33040 Just Imagine Drive in Avon. All who come to donate will also receive a Red Cross long-sleeved T-shirt, while supplies last and enjoy a catered meal.

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Your blood donation may give a patient in need more time – and more holidays – with loved ones. To make an appointment or for more information download the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

Blood Drives Abound this Holiday Season

Give more life this holiday season by donating blood or platelets at one of the many blood drives scheduled throughout Northeast Ohio.  Donations typically drop during the holidays, with people occupied by other activities or travel.  But patients don’t get a holiday from the need for blood or platelets, so if you can, visit redcrossblood.org to find the blood drive most convenient for you, or call 1-800 RED CROSS.

Some of the blood drives scheduled include:

  • Tuesday, December 19 – Quicken Loans Arena, 12:00 noon to 6:00 pm.
  • Tuesday, December 19 – Hilton Garden Inn Twinsburg, 7:00 am – 7:00 pm.
  • Thursday, December 21 – Sheraton Suites Akron Cuyahoga Falls, 7: 00 am – 7:00 pm.
  • Friday, December 22 – Stambaugh Auditorium, Youngstown, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
  • Friday, December 22 – Packard Music Hall, Warren, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm.

A special blood drive took place in Ashtabula last week.  Red Cross Communications Volunteer Paul Wadowick captured the story:

Arturo Gomez, a sophomore at Lakeside High in the Ashtabula City School District, wanted to help his community in a positive way.  Arturo shared, “By surrounding myself in a blood drive environment, it would also help me towards my goal to be an RN.” The door opened towards achieving this project with parental support. Eager to do this drive, Arturo met with the area blood drive manager, Tara Dragon. She introduced him to the components needed for organizing a drive. Next, this fifteen year old applied himself to promoting. Flyers were posted in the school and community.  Social media was engaged.  One-on-one contacts were made with people he knows. Blood drive reality arrived on December 15, 2017.

Sophomore Hosts BD 2017 12 15

Arturo hosted during the entire scheduled time. The volunteer Blood Drive Ambassador highlighted ‘customer service’ ways for registration requirements and canteen courtesies. When the day was done, Arturo’s learning curve had grown and four first time donors had signed in.  Thank you Arturo for a job well done!

Holiday Doors Take Awards

Disaster Service staff members got into the fun of the holiday season with an office door decoration contest.

Taylor 1st (1)Lora Taylor, Disaster Program Manager for the Lake Erie/Heartland Chapter took first place with her snowman door.

 

 

 

Tony Rivera 2nd

Tony Rivera, Workforce Engagement Manager, took second place with a gorgeous 3-D poinsettia and candles.

 

 

 

Gallagher 3rd tiePalagyi 3rd tie (2)

And there was a third place tie between Kristen Gallagher, Disaster Program Specialist for Lake to River and Renee Palagyi, Disaster Program Manager.

 

 

OToole HM (1)Honorable mention went to Tim O’Toole, Regional Disaster Officer, for his Batman door.

The contest was judged by the Crossroads Division Disaster Director, Janine Brown.

 

Click the image below to view all of this year’s festive doors!

Holiday Doors 16

Annual Holiday Blood Drive a Success

Almost 600 people came to donate yesterday at the Sheraton Suites Akron/Cuyahoga Falls blood drive and the Red Cross collected 560 pints of blood. Yesterday’s event will help ensure patients have the blood they need throughout the holiday season. We encourage donors who weren’t able to come and give at the Sheraton  to find a drive near them in coming weeks and help the Red Cross during a time of critical need.

Volunteer With the Red Cross-The Perfect New Year’s Resolution!

by Pat Buckhold, Regional Volunteer Services Officer, Northeast Ohio

As 2015 winds down and 2016 looms on the horizon, I can’t help but think of over 2,000 Red Cross volunteers in northeast Ohio who continue to make a difference every day in the lives of those who live in our community.  The Red Cross has many faces- Disaster Services Team Member, Blood Donor Ambassador, CPR/First Aid Instructor, Services to the Armed Forces Community Outreach Worker, Operation Save-A-Life Smoke Alarm Installer and yet all have one thing in common-  the desire to save lives and alleviate human suffering in the face of disaster.  I am humbled by the genuine caring and compassion of our volunteers and their selfless giving to others.  While many of us will be enjoying holiday gatherings and New Year’s celebrations over the next week, somewhere in northeast Ohio disaster volunteers will be giving up their time to respond to a fire or other disaster and help someone in need.

So when the last of the bowl games is over and the last of the holiday treats are gone, don’t let those New Year’s resolutions end too!  The New Year offers opportunities to make new choices and take new chances in life. Things that were on your back burner, such as volunteering, can take on new meaning so why not consider joining the Red Cross as a volunteer.  And if you didn’t know, volunteerism has countless benefits.  Volunteering has been linked with increased levels of happiness and decreased depression.  People who volunteer report physical, mental, and emotional health benefits.  Volunteers help create and support healthy communities.  I can’t think of any better reasons to volunteer (and spoken like a true volunteer services officer)!

For more information on volunteering, please contact NEOvolunteer@redcross.org , call 216-431-3328 or begin your on-line volunteer application here.

 

The Twelve Days of Christmas: Preparing Families for Emergencies

Most people believe that on the First Day of Christmas the appropriate gift to give is a Partridge in a Pear Tree. Well, the Red Cross believes in building Disaster Resilient Neighborhoods during the Holiday Season, as well throughout the year.

To help you select stocking stuffers and Christmas gifts designed to make individuals, families and the homes they live in as safe as possible, the Red Cross has put together the following recommendations for gifts for the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Smoke AlarmOn the First Day of Christmas, the Red Cross recommends that you install a SMOKE ALARM. Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of a home; outside bedrooms on the ceiling or high on the wall, at the top of open stairways and at the bottom of enclosed stairs and near (but not in) the kitchen. It is important to check your Smoke Alarms every month and replace their batteries when Daylight Savings Time begins in the spring and ends in the fall.

CO2On the Second Day of Christmas, the Red Cross recommends that you install a CARBON MONOXIDE (CO2) ALARM. Carbon Monoxide Alarms should be placed in hallways throughout the home. They should also be placed in recreational vehicles and on boats.

 

Fire ExtinguishersOn the Third Day of Christmas, the Red Cross recommends that you install a FIRE EXTINGUISHER. Install A-B-C type Fire Extinguishers in the home and teach all household members how to use them.

 

Fire Escape LadderOn the Fourth Day of Christmas, the Red Cross recommends that you install a FIRE ESCAPE LADDER. Homes with more than one floor should have at least one Fire Escape Ladder stored on all floors, other than ground level. Store these ladders where they are easily accessible.

 

Disaster Supplies KitOn the Fifth Day of Christmas, the Red Cross recommends that you assemble a FAMILY DISASTER SUPPLIES KIT. A family will cope best by preparing for a disaster before it strikes. One way to prepare is by assembling a Family Disaster Supplies Kit. Once disaster hits, you won’t have time to shop and search for supplies.

Pet Supplies KitOn the Sixth Day of Christmas, the Red Cross recommends that you assemble a PET SUPPLIES KIT. Pets enrich the lives of individuals and families in more ways than you can count. In turn they depend on people for their safety and well-being. Having a Pet Disaster Supplies Kit is one of the best ways to care for pets when disaster strikes.

NWSOn the Seventh Day of Christmas, the Red Cross recommends that you acquire a WEATHER RADIO. As the voice of the National Weather Service, a Weather Radio provides continuous broadcasts of the latest weather information directly from a National Weather Service Forecast Office. During severe weather routine broadcasting is interrupted and special watch and warning messages are issued.

First AidOn the Eighth Day of Christmas, the Red Cross recommends that you get a FIRST AID KIT. Because the first five minutes of a medical emergency are critical, every individual and family should have First Aid Kits in their home and vehicles (including boats).

 

CPROn the Ninth Day of Christmas, the Red Cross recommends that you attend FIRST AID AND CPR TRAINING. For more than a century, the Red Cross has been saving lives with Health and Safety Services education programs. A unique idea for a Christmas stocking would be a Gift Certificate for a First Aid and CPR Training course.

House Numbers aOn the Tenth Day of Christmas, the Red Cross recommends that you purchase HOUSE NUMBERS. Each home should have its number posted clearly on the front door, over the doorway, or elsewhere on the front so emergency responders can easily locate it. Lives and property can be saved simply by using adequate house numbers placed where emergency workers can find them. You can purchase numbers at your local hardware store.

Flash LightOn the Eleventh Day of Christmas, the Red Cross recommends that you purchase a FLASHLIGHT. As simple as a Flashlight is, it can become a very important tool to use during and after a disaster. Every family disaster supplies kit should contain a flashlight and spare batteries.

PhoneOn the Twelfth Day of Christmas, the Red Cross recommends that you create an EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION PLAN. Each home should have a list of Emergency Phone Numbers posted near the phone or in the front of a phone book. 

 

For additional information on these and other safety tips visit:

http://www.redcross.org/news/article/7-fire-safety-tips-for-holiday-decorating-and-entertaining