In Northern Ohio and nationwide, Americans support one another a year into COVID-19

Please take part in Red Cross Giving Day as #HelpCantWait

Tim Poe, American Red Cross Volunteer.

As a Northern Ohio-based American Red Cross volunteer, I have seen how quickly disaster can strike. How a fire, tornado, lightning strike, flood, or other event impacts lives. And I have seen the effectiveness of your donations. How a comfort kit, meal, blanket, or financial assistance helps those affected begin to recover, to look toward the future. I have also seen the dedication and compassion of many Red Cross volunteers and staff members across several service areas, including Disaster Response, Blood Services, and Service to the Armed Forces. As today is Giving Day, please consider joining thousands of caring people and taking part, whether through financial support, a blood donation, or volunteering.

Red Cross services have been especially needed in the past year. In addition to the COVID-19 global pandemic, 2020 had the greatest number of billion-dollar disasters in a single year. Many from our region helped; nearly 200 Northern Ohioans deployed to 24 large-scale disasters during the year.

Locally, just since July 1, the Red Cross’s Northern Ohio region responded to 848 disasters, assisting 1,249 families (2,074 adults and 1,122 children).

Through it all, the Red Cross effectively continued its mission, with safety protocols in place.

Emotional, spiritual, and mental health support during the pandemic have been one focus area. In 2020, disaster mental health and spiritual care volunteers had more than 53,000 conversations, and free counseling is available through the Red Cross’s Virtual Family Assistance Center for grieving families during COVID-19.

I spoke with Red Cross volunteer Mark Cline, whose numerous responsibilities include Region Program Lead for Northern Ohio’s Disaster Action Team (DAT).  Mark focused on how the Red Cross has continued helping people recover from disasters using safety measures like virtual responses where possible. Mark lauded his fellow volunteers and staff, saying, “Being part of the Disaster Action Team proves to me a team working together will get the job done, even in a pandemic!”

Here are some examples of what a financial gift can provide:

  • $500: Help families affected by disasters. In Northern Ohio, the Red Cross responds to an average of more than three disasters each day, mostly home fires.
  • $200:  Deploy an emergency response vehicle (ERV) for a day. ERVs deliver food, supplies, comfort, and information to those in need.
  • $100: Cleaning supply kits for five families.
  • $95: A day’s worth of food and essential supplies for a family in urgent need after a disaster.
  • $60: Warm meals for six.
  • $35: Essential relief items for two.

To participate in Giving Day with financial support, please go to redcross.org/GivingDay. A gift of any size makes a difference.

For volunteer opportunities, please visit redcross.org/VolunteerToday.

If you are healthy and feeling well, please consider donating blood. Visit RedCrossBlood.org.

To learn lifesaving skills like CPR and First Aid, consider taking a class at redcross.org/TakeAClass. Online options include Psychological First Aid for COVID-19.

Mark Cline to be Recognized as a “Sparkling” Volunteer

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross volunteer

Mark Cline

CLEVELAND – Decades of volunteer service will be honored next week when American Red Crosser Mark Cline receives the top individual award from Greater Cleveland Volunteers.

Cline will be in the spotlight when the David F. Leahy Volunteer Excellence Award is presented at Greater Cleveland Volunteers’ annual “Sparkle at the Zoo” benefit Sept. 21 at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

“I volunteer with the Red Cross because it gives me the opportunity to use my 40+ years of emergency response training,” Mark says. “Helping people prepare for a disaster or helping people in need after a disaster makes me feel like I’m making a difference in their lives.”

Actually, Mark – now 61 – has been serving the people of northeast Ohio since he was old enough to join Boy Scouts. He worked his way up through the scouting program to the rank of Eagle Scout. He went on to become an Explorer Scout with the Wickliffe Fire Department, eventually becoming a part-time firefighter and EMT.

Helping those in need motivated Mark to join the Emergency Response Team at Cleveland Hopkins Airport while he was working for Continental Airlines. He also took on the role of Explorer post advisor, working with teens interested in aviation.

When back injuries ended Mark’s days on the tarmac, he went looking for other opportunities to serve. That’s when he discovered the Red Cross. Since joining the Greater Cleveland Chapter in March 2016, he’s been putting in 40 hours a week with disaster services.

Mark is a Disaster Action Team (DAT) leader, administrator-on-call and DAT induction trainer, a presenter for the Pillowcase disaster preparedness program, and volunteer partner of the chapter’s disaster program manager (DPM), Jeremy Bayer.

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“Mark is a tremendous asset to the American Red Cross of Greater Cleveland,” Jeremy says. “His personal sacrifice of time and energy has made countless numbers of people more comfortable in their time of need during disasters.  Mark is also an integral part in the administration as the DPM (Disaster Program Manager) volunteer partner of the Greater Cleveland Chapter.”

Mark was recently recognized as a Hometown Hero by Cleveland 19 News for his volunteer accomplishments

The Red Cross depends on the generosity of the American people, who donate time, financial support and life-sustaining blood to help those in need. Volunteers are always welcome and you don’t have to commit 40 hours a week like Mark.

To learn more about the many volunteer opportunities within the Red Cross – from preventing and responding to disasters to serving our armed forces to teaching first aid, babysitting or water safety skills – visit https://www.redcross.org/local/ohio/northeast/volunteer.html