Hometown Heroes 2014 Profiles: A Global Vision: Arend D. Lubbers

This week we continue our series of blog posts highlighting the awards recipients for the 2014 Hometown Heroes Celebration hosted by the American Red Cross of West Michigan. Each year the American Red Cross celebrates the community heroes who inspire us through their commitment to service and their recognition of the humanity of their neighbors down the street, across the country, and around the world. The event will be held on Thursday, May 1 from 6:00PM-10:00PM at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids. For ticket information please visit our Hometown Heroes event page.


ImageThe American Red Cross of West Michigan is proud to present the Henry Dunant Global Impact Award to President Emeritus Arend D. Lubbers. He is being recognized for the precedence he set for the students of Grand Valley. As president, he valued the experiences of a global community and encouraged students of Grand Valley State University to reach beyond the borders of the classroom, regardless of political concerns, to engage with communities around the world and to bring those experiences home to Grand Rapids.


Lubbers is a native of Holland, Mich., and a graduate of Hope College, where his father, Irwin Lubbers, served as president. He received his master’s degree in history from Rutgers University in 1956, and then taught at Wittenberg College in Ohio before returning to Rutgers in 1958 to pursue his doctorate. In 1962, Life magazine named him to its list of the top 100 young men under 40 in the United States. Before coming to Grand Valley, Lubbers worked at Central College in Pella, Iowa, where he served as president for nine years. At the time of his appointment to that position at Central College, Lubbers was the youngest college president in the country, at 29.


President Emeritus Arend D. Lubbers became president of Grand Valley in 1969 at the age of 37, making him one of the youngest college presidents in the nation. When he retired in 2001, he was the longest-serving public university president in the country. In the 32 years in between, Lubbers led the university’s evolution from a small, liberal arts college to a regional university.


“He started with not much more than a field in Allendale and a handful of faculty clustered in separate colleges,” said Kate Cragwall, colleague of president Lubbers and fellow 2014 Hometown Heroes Award recipient. “But, his vision for Grand Valley went way beyond building a university of bricks and mortar.”


As President of the University, Lubbers set the tone for compassionate internationalization for the growing institution.  Infusing global
understanding as part of the educational mission for GVSU, Lubbers founded the International Studies program and personally fostered institutional partnerships with universities behind the Iron Curtain, including in Poland and the former Yugoslavia.  His Imagecommitment to the peaceful exchange of ideas and students was almost unheard of for U.S. universities in the Cold War era.

“It was as if he could see the future—of how the world would become a global community,” observed Cragwall.

If you’re interested in learning more about the amazing work of president Lubbers, you can check the book Old Hopes for a New Place: The Legacy of Arend D. Lubbers at Grand Valley State University by Stephen Rowe.

Join the American Red Cross of West Michigan at our annual Hometown Heroes Celebration on May 1 at DeVos Place as we recognize Arend Lubbers for his incredible career!

Hometown Heroes 2014 Profiles: Tackling Problems of All Sizes: Kate Cragwall

This week we continue our series of blog posts highlighting the awards recipients for the 2014 Hometown Heroes Celebration hosted by the American Red Cross of West Michigan. Each year the American Red Cross celebrates the community heroes who inspire us through their commitment to service and their recognition of the humanity of their neighbors down the street, across the country, and around the world. The event will be held on Thursday, May 1 from 6:00PM-10:00PM at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids. For ticket information please visit our Hometown Heroes event page.

Story by Jon Breems

ImageThe American Red Cross of West Michigan is excited to honor Kate Cragwall with the Dr. Charles Drew Health Advocate Award for her leadership and commitment in the field of mental health.

Throughout her career, Kate has exemplified the selfless dedication to the health and wellbeing of others the Health Advocate Award embodies. For more than 40 years, Kate has served her community as a clinical social worker, trainer, consultant, and volunteer.

Dr. Charles Drew (1904-1950) was a pioneer in the field of blood transfusion. His research led to improved techniques for storing blood and creating centralized blood banks. Eventually, out of his work came the American Red Cross Blood Bank. Each year, the American Red Cross of West Michigan honors the pioneering work of Dr. Drew to the Red Cross by presenting the Dr. Charles Drew Health Advocate Award to individuals who have dedicated their lives to the health and wellbeing of the community.

This year is the first time the Dr. Charles Drew Health Advocate Award has been given to someone in the mental health field. In her career, Kate has focused on being an agent of change—both in the personal lives of clients and in the larger picture of mental healthcare. Kate likes to talk about how she switches back-and-forth between the two ‘levels’ of mental health work—the “macro” and “micro”. At the “micro” level, for decades Kate, in clinical practice, has helped individuals and families from all walks of life.

“I just felt like it wasn’t enough to just do things at an individual level,” she added.“While that was important, you weren’t dealing with some of the systemic problems”.

Indeed at the “macro” level, Kate has been an influential member of a multitude of organizations and societies in West Michigan. She has served on numerous volunteer boards including Spectrum Health, Heart of West Michigan United Way, Michigan Multiple Sclerosis Society, and National Voluntary Hospitals of America Foundation She has presented widely on the behavioral treatment and management of stress disorders, Multiple Sclerosis, chronic pain, traumatic brain injury, and Dissociative Disorders. She has been a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers, a Board-Certified diplomat in Clinical Social Work, a Clinical Member of both the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and the International Society for the Study of Dissociation. She has served as a delegate to the National Assembly of the National Association of Social Workers.

Join the American Red Cross of West Michigan at our annual Hometown Heroes Celebration on May 1 at DeVos Place as we recognize Kate for her accomplishments!

Hometown Heroes 2014 Profiles: Investing in Our Community: The Right Place

This week we continue our series of blog posts highlighting the awards recipients for the 2014 Hometown Heroes Celebration hosted by the American Red Cross of West Michigan. Each year the American Red Cross celebrates the community heroes who inspire us through their commitment to service and their recognition of the humanity of their neighbors down the street, across the country, and around the world. The event will be held on Thursday, May 1 from 6:00PM-10:00PM at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids. For ticket information please visit our Hometown Heroes event page.

Story by Marjorie Steele


In February of 1917, Kent County resident Mrs. Caroline Campbell received a telegram instructing her to establish a local chapter of the American Red Cross. That same month, Caroline assembled the first meeting of the American Red Cross of Kent County, and by July of that same year, the chapter had amassed over 37,000 contributing members.


Each year, the American Red Cross West Michigan Region recognizes one individual or organization with a Community Impact Award that carries on Caroline Campbell’s legacy of affecting extraordinary positive change in the community. This year, the economic development non-profit the Right Place is being highlighted for its pioneering work in West Michigan’s economy, and for the measurable and positive change it has brought about in the lives of people living here.


The aptly named “Right Place”has served West Michigan for nearly thirty years as a non-profit economic developer. In that time, the Right Place has assisted thousands of local companies, has affected the investment of over $3 billion in capital and has spurred the creation of over 40,000 jobs. In 2013 alone, this powerhouse nonprofit worked with nearly 1,700 companies, supported $102 million in new investment and helped create or retain over 2,500 jobs.



Birgit Klohs has been the President and CEO of The Right Place since 1987

The Right Place has been led by President and CEO Birgit Klohs since 1987, just two years after its founding. Having worked in economic development in West Michigan for nearly thirty years, Birgit’s dedication to the region’s growth has spurred the Right Place to keep our local economy thriving, through prosperity and recession.


To learn more about this organization, we dug deeper into the organization’s mission and values with VP Tim Mroz.


How would you describe the Right Place’s vision for West Michigan?

The Right Place, and our board of directors, share a common vision for creating long-term, sustainable economic growth here in West Michigan. We want this to be a region where freedom and independence can be gained through quality employment opportunities.


Can you give a few specific examples of our communities’growth over the past thirty years?

One look at downtown Grand Rapids, and you get a sense for the tremendous economic progress West Michigan has made over the last three decades. Our businesses have grown and diversified, our quality of life has improved, and our ability to work together in a private-public collaborative spirit has strengthened.


What are a few examples the Right Place’s programs and initiatives which have led to positive change here in West Michigan?

Over the past few years, the Right Place has led an effort to establish a 13-country economic development collaborative in West Michigan. This is the first time in our region’s history that a region this large has been able to come together under the common vision of spurring economic growth throughout all our counties – not just in our urban hubs.


What did the Right Place do in 2013 which has had the biggest impact?

One of our largest and more recent projects is a good example of the impact economic development can have on a community. That work was successfully retaining Spartan Stores, which are now SpartanNash. When we first heard about Spartan’s plans to merge with Nash Finch, we knew it would mean a lot of change for Spartan Stores in West Michigan. At the time, we weren’t sure whether that change would be good or bad, we simply knew something big was on the horizon.


We began to meet with the Spartan executive team, and we learned a few important things: 1) as a publicly traded company, the deal was by no means a “slam dunk”, and 2) our competitor would be Minneapolis, a bigger city with arguably more resources and assets.


We wasted no time putting together a team of local and state resources, the governor’s office, workforce development support, and everything else we could possibly do to assemble the most competitive business incentive and support package possible.


The results were an astounding win for West Michigan. Today, we’re proud that 620 jobs are still here in the region, and 372 new jobs will be coming to our community over the next three years.

Everyday Ticket, Extraordinary Value: Leonard’s Story

April 6-12 is National Volunteer Week. This special week is another opportunity to recognize the extraordinary service and dedication of the nearly 400,000 volunteers who support the American Red Cross. This week on our blog, we will feature stories of the amazing work being done by Red Cross volunteers here in West Michigan.

Story by Jon Breems

Sometimes the life-changing work of the American Red Cross can be as simple as a plane ticket. Leonard Garyson, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, was a 19-year-old U.S. Army service member stationed in Mannheim, Germany, when he found out his uncle had passed away.


Leonard Garyson (front) was stationed in Mannheim, Germany in 1972

It was 1972 and Leonard had been in the military for less than a year, sent to Germany to transport supplies for the Army. His monthly stipend wasn’t enough to cover a ticket home and no one could lend him the money—that’s when the American Red Cross stepped in to help. They paid for Garyson’s ticket home to be with his family.

“It’s not easy to get home when you’re 1,800 miles away from home, and you’re 19 years old,” said Garyson. “Without the Red Cross, I know I wouldn’t have come home.”

Leonard’s uncle held a special place in his life, and he knew he had to attend the funeral.

“My uncle was like a dad to me,” he added. “That would have been a big part of my life missing if I hadn’t come home.”

The plane ticket was Leonard’s only interaction with the Red Cross during his time in the military, but the gesture’s value did not wane over the years. He decided then, in 1972, that when he had spare time, it would be given to the American Red Cross.

More than 30 years later, in 2004, Leonard began volunteering at the Red Cross of Greater Grand Rapids.

“Joining the Red Cross—I was just grateful to give back,” he said.

Today, Leonard is a familiar face at the Greater Grand Rapids chapter and serves as the Disaster Services Program Administrator for Kent, Barry, Montcalm and Ionia Counties. He says one of his favorite parts about volunteering with the Red Cross is that anyone can do it.

“Some organizations require yoImageu to be a specialist to volunteer, whereas with the Red Cross you can be an everyday individual.”

Garyson certainly knows how the “everyday” can sometimes be special. It was a seemingly everyday plane ticket paid for by the Red Cross 32 years ago that he’ll always remember.

“I couldn’t pay that back. It was priceless to me… I still carry that with me today.”

To learn about Red Cross volunteer opportunities in your area, visit redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

Hometown Heroes 2014 Profiles: From Military Hero to Hometown Hero: John & Nancy Colburn

This week we are starting a new series of blog posts highlighting the awards recipients for the 2014 Hometown Heroes Celebration put on by the American Red Cross of West Michigan. Each year the American Red Cross celebrates the community heroes who inspire us through their commitment to service and their recognition of the humanity of their neighbors down the street, across the country, and around the world. The event will be held on Thursday, May 1 from 6:00PM-10:00PM at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids. For ticket information please visit our Hometown Heroes event page.

Story by Heather Goodale

ImageThis year for our Hometown Heroes Celebration, we’re honored to present retired Army LTC John Colburn and his wife, Nancy, with the General George Marshall Patriot Award for their amazing contributions to the Red Cross and the military community. The Patriot Award is given to individuals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in service to the United States and our country’s men and women in uniform.

As a military veteran, I know how valuable the services the Red Cross provides to the military are – I’ve taken the calls for Red Cross messages, delivered news to soldiers, and coordinated with the Red Cross to help get soldiers home for joyous actions such as the birth of a child, and heart breaking situations such as a loved one’s funeral.

As a LTC in the Army, John dealt a lot with the Red Cross in his role and saw the impact the Red Cross had on soldiers. He started volunteering his time in the Kalamazoo area shortly after retiring and, 19 years later, he is still active with both the Red Cross and the military.

LTC Colburn

LTC. John Colburn and his wife, Nancy, are the 2014 recipients of the General George Marshall Patriot Award

As  case worker and station manager, John has traveled to Washington, D.C.; Fort Polk, Louisiana; Fort Hood, Texas; Alaska; Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada; Fort Irwin, California; London, England; Germany; Japan; Italy; and countless other locations.

He spends months apart from his wife Nancy, also a Red Cross volunteer; 2 years ago, they were both home in Michigan for Christmas for the first time in 10 years.

Nancy Colburn started volunteering with the Red Cross as an assistant station manager and station manager when John was the station manager at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The assistant station manager and station manager from Fort Irwin, California, were both deployed to Iraq and the Red Cross asked John to take over at Fort Irwin on very short notice, but that would leave Nellis very short handed – so Nancy applied for his position and started her Red Cross career.

The Colburns spend their off time traveling the world and gaining new experiences, but always return home to Michigan for a period before setting off on the next Red Cross adventure that will inevitably separate them while also bringing them closer to the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines that they serve.

When John was in Italy, Nancy volunteered to serve in Iraq while it was still designated as a combat zone. For Red Cross volunteers, deployments are not required but Nancy felt this was something she needed to do to help people, teach people, and interact with military service members in need on a daily basis.

John and Nancy still joke about how his record number of cases in a non-combat zone is 21 in a month, while Nancy’s record number of cases is 21 in a DAY from her time in Iraq. John calls his time with the Red Cross a “pretty marvelous” experience and knows that volunteers are so important to the organization. We really couldn’t do it without dedicated volunteers like John and Nancy Colburn!

Preparedness is Sexy

Originally posted on February 10th, 2012 by Gail J McGovern

This week I had the opportunity to meet with several CEOs of large associations and talk with them about a number of topics, including the importance of preparedness.  I’ve found in my work that most people are more interested in the idea of emergency response, than emergency preparedness.  “Response” sounds sexy and exciting.  “Preparedness” sounds like homework and conjures up images of your mother telling you to eat your spinach.

But as I told the gathering of CEOs, preparedness can be sexy, and it certainly is impactful.

On March 11th, we’ll mark the one-year anniversary of the horrible earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan.  When I visited Japan not long after the disaster, I saw 350 miles of communities literally wiped off the face of the earth.  That disaster claimed more than 15,000 lives.  But there’s one fact that seems to get lost when we reflect on the Japan story:  Hundreds of thousands of Japanese heard the tsunami whistle and got to higher ground.  That simple preparedness measure saved their lives.

I think it’s a testament to our American optimism to think that nothing bad will happen to us in our country.  At various times in my career at AT&T and Fidelity investments, I’ve preached about the importance of back-up systems and preparing for retirement.  But since I’ve joined the American Red Cross, I’m more committed and determined than ever to help our country get prepared.  Research shows that only 12 percent of Americans are fully prepared for a disaster, and only 15 percent of those in communities like New Orleans—that know full well the impact of disasters—are prepared for another one to hit.

Since I’ve been at the Red Cross, there have been two employees who have had heart attacks on campus and their lives were saved because their co-workers had been trained in CPR.  Caterpillar, a very generous Red Cross donor, has opted in recent years to host CPR training at executive retreats, instead of the usual golf outing.  In the four years since they’ve been doing this, those executives have saved two lives because they were prepared with the right skills when someone needed help.

Preparedness is easy, and it saves lives.  And I happen to believe that knowing what to do when an emergency strikes is very important, empowering, and yes, sexy.

To learn more about your local American Red Cross of West Michigan and ways to be prepared for disasters visit www.arcwestmi.org.

Red Cross Helping Thousands Recover From Devastating Tornadoes

Allen Crabtree, Contributing Writer

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 — Thousands of people across the south are sifting through the rubble left behind after deadly tornadoes swept through their neighborhoods over the weekend. The American Red Cross is with them, offering shelter, food, and a shoulder to lean on as the clean-up slowly begins.

Leobardo Olvera and family
Leobardo Olvera and his family have been staying in a Red Cross shelter in North Carolina since a tornado hit their neighborhood over the weekend. He said through the kindness and generosity of the Red Cross they will be able to start over.
Daniel Cima, American Red Cross

The Red Cross is helping people across several states and will continue to assist them in the weeks ahead as they try to get back on their feet. More than 650 Red Cross disaster workers have been deployed, and are working with state and local officials to help those affected by the devastating tornadoes. The Red Cross has more than 50 emergency response vehicles in the area, working with community partners to provide food and water to those in need. Red Cross disaster mental health workers are available to help people cope in the aftermath of the storms.

Lives of entire families have been changed by the storms. One family from Wake Forest, North Carolina described what has happened to them since a tornado hit their home.

‘It sounded like a freight train coming through our home!’

It has taken a couple of days, but Leobardo Olvera, his wife Rosa and their three children have started to settle into tHe routine of the Red Cross shelter in Wake Forest, North Carolina, which is just north of Raleigh.  This has been their temporary home since the family evacuated from the Stony Brook Trailer Park after it was hit hard by a tornado on April 16.

“We were warned about severe thunderstorms coming through our area, and I made the children come inside to be safe,” Olvera said, sitting on the edge of his cot in the shelter’s dormitory.  “The tornado caught us completely by surprise though!”

Olvera told how he and Rosa gathered 5-year-old son Leo Jr, 7-year-old daughter Lezith and 11-year-old son Mario in the center of their mobile home, away from any windows.  When the tornado struck it shook the entire trailer and air pressure blew out all the windows.

“It only lasted about five minutes, but it seemed like a train was going to come right through our home,” he said. Twenty minutes after it passed, the family emerged from their home to a bright sunny sky and a horrible scene of destruction. Trailers on either side of them had been blown into pieces and big pines had fallen on others.

Olvera is a fighter and a survivor.  He has been battling leukemia for two years and has defeated it, although his face shows the scars of his fight.  He has been unable to work because of his cancer, but was able to purchase their trailer and move the family into it about a year ago.

“I don’t know what my family and I would have done without the support of the Red Cross,” he said.  “We have lost everything, and it is only through the kindness and generosity of the Red Cross that we are going to be able to make a start back.  Without the Red Cross we would have had nothing!”

Raleigh Chief of Police Dolan announced Monday afternoon to an anxious crowd that residents of the Stony Brook Trailer Park would be allowed short term visits to their trailers to pick up personal items needed. “No one will be allowed back to live there just yet,” he said.  “It is not quite safe enough.”  Of the approximately 150 homes in the park, the tornado completely destroyed 25 and a total of 30 are uninhabitable.

The Olvera family will visit their home today for the first time since being evacuated.  “We’re not going to bring the children the first time back,” Olvera said.  “It has been hard enough for them without making them go through that.  What would we have done without the Red Cross?”

Busy season for disasters

In the last few weeks, Red Cross disaster workers have responded in 20 different states, helping people affected by floods, tornadoes and wildfires. Prior to this weekend’s severe weather, Red Cross workers were already helping residents all across the country whose communities are recovering from floods, tornadoes and wildfires.

The Red Cross and its partners have served nearly 46,000 meals and more than 159,800 snacks to those affected by disasters in just the last two months alone. More than 650 Red Cross disaster workers and 50 emergency response vehicles have already been deployed this spring to areas of the country where flooding, tornadoes and wildfires have left widespread damage in people’s neighborhoods.

The Red Cross depends on financial donations to get help to people affected by disasters. Please consider making a donation today to help to those in need. Visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

I Confess. You don’t need to eat well and exercise to lose weight.

Dear Runner, You read right. I am admitting, revealing, exposing the truth.

You do not need to exercise or eat well to lose weight.
You can think yourself thin. Put needles in your body, eat cabbage soup, cookies or take magic potions. You can wrap things around your body and get massages to burn the fat. You can wear magnets, magic sneakers or order any of those infomercial products.

All these things work. Avoid all physical activity and eating healthy. I am revealing the truth, putting all cards on the table!

Oh…and by the way. Happy April Fools Day.

Serious about striving to stay fit? Serious about helping to save lives? Then Join our Run Red Team and support the Red Cross in the Fifth Third River Bank Run on May 14, 2011. WALKERS AND RUNNERS ARE WELCOME! Raise support and stay healthy.

To join our Run Red Team visit http://www.redcrossggr.org/53riverbankrun or contact Katie Pals at kpals@ggr.redcross.org for more information.

Red Cross Scales Up Relief Efforts to Meet Huge Needs in Japan

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 — The Japanese Red Cross Society is scaling up its relief operations to help meet the needs of hundreds of thousands of survivors who are now housed in evacuation centers following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, which devastated large tracts of northeastern Honshu, the main island of Japan.

Today, about 264,000 people are staying in the approximately 1,800 shelters operated by the government and supported by the Japanese Red Cross. Each day, approximately 10,000 people leave the evacuation centers and return to their homes as electricity is restored. But most do not know how long they will remain in the public shelters.

“The Japanese Red Cross is also involved in looking after those in evacuation centers who have been forced to leave their homes in the exclusion zone that’s been created around the nuclear facility, “ said Francis Markus, a Red Cross spokesperson working from Japan. “This adds to the complexity of the humanitarian situation.”

To date, the Japanese Red Cross has handed out more than 125,000 blankets and 20,700 emergency kits – including portable radios, flashlights and other supplies – to help evacuees cope with the cold weather and lack of electricity. Other badly needed items, such as diapers, baby food, undershirts and face masks, are being procured from within the country as well. These additional supplies will benefit approximately 100,000 people.

In parallel with the distribution of relief goods, Japanese Red Cross leaders are also consulting with the local authorities to map out other ways of making survivors’ lives more comfortable during their stay in evacuation centers.

“The first few days people had one rice ball a day, then two and now, on the sixth day, are eating three meals a day,” said Nan Buzard, senior director of international response and programs with the American Red Cross, during her week-long mission in Japan which ended Saturday, March 20. “But without fuel and stoves there is no heat, and I hate to think how miserable it will be when night comes. No electricity means no water though there were some buckets for minimal washing.”

The Japanese Red Cross is exploring ways to bring hot showers and improve the sanitation facilities in the government-run shelters. And with advocacy, fuel and food deliveries are becoming more regular.

Since the disaster, which left more than 8,000 dead and many thousands more missing, the Japanese Red Cross has also focused its operations on providing medical care to those affected by the disaster.

To date, the Japanese Red Cross has deployed nearly 275 medical teams, made up of more than 1,600 people, including doctors and nurses. Currently, more than 40 teams are working through hospitals, mobile clinics and other health facilities to provide medical care and counseling for survivors. The psychological wellbeing of a mainly elderly population that has been traumatized by the destruction of their homes and traditional way of life will remain a priority.

“This is going to be an enormous recovery operation,” said Buzard. “We saw hundreds of thousands of people displaced – many elderly who will need particular kinds of care. That will be a challenging opportunity but a challenge to all (Red Cross and Red Crescent) national societies who are going to work with the Japanese Red Cross to support them – not only getting relief to people who are still suffering a trauma but (dealing with) the long-term trauma of displacement and losing all of the things that matter to them.”

Evacuation center in the gymnastic stadium of  the Rikuzen Takada 1st Junior High school in Iwate Prefecture.
Evacuation center in the gymnastic stadium of the Rikuzen Takada 1st Junior High school in Iwate Prefecture.
Photo: Japanese Red Cross Society
The Japanese Red Cross has been distributing a  bag called 'Emergency Kits'. The kits contain contains a blanket, radio  and flashlight.
The Japanese Red Cross has been distributing a bag called ‘Emergency Kits’. The kits contain contains a blanket, radio and flashlight.
Photo: Japanese Red Cross Society
Mr.Hirakuri, a disaster management volunteer  for the Japanese Red Cross Society, lives in Fukushima prefecture. He  owns the acupressure clinic, and he normaly provides a mobile clinic  service to the homes of elderly peoples. Without fuel, he is travelling  by bicycle to check on the elderly and provide care when needed.
Mr.Hirakuri, a disaster management volunteer for the Japanese Red Cross Society, lives in Fukushima prefecture. He owns the acupressure clinic, and he normaly provides a mobile clinic service to the homes of elderly peoples. Without fuel, he is travelling by bicycle to check on the elderly and provide care when needed.
Photo: Japanese Red Cross Society

As longer-term plans are formed, the Japanese Red Cross also expects to offer further support to the most vulnerable when they are relocated to prefabricated housing organized by the Japanese government in the coming weeks and months.

Officials from the Japanese Red Cross have publicly said they are grateful for donations from the American Red Cross and that they will go far to support these relief and recovery activities.

The American Red Cross has made an initial contribution of $10 million to the Japanese Red Cross Society and is funding about half of the United Nations World Food Programme’s (WFP) logistical operation designed to help move and store relief supplies post-disaster.

“The support of the American people and our partnership with the American Red Cross is critical for WFP and the Japanese authorities to provide a flow of relief supplies to those suffering from so much tragedy and hardship,” said Nancy Roman, WFP’s director of communications, public policy and private partnerships.

As pledges are fulfilled, the American Red Cross plans to make additional contributions to assist people coping with this disaster in Japan. The American Red Cross and Japanese Red Cross have a history of mutual support. The American Red Cross aided the Japanese during the Kobe earthquake in 1995 with $10 million worth of assistance. The Japanese Red Cross also sent us support after September 11 and Hurricane Katrina, totaling nearly $30 million.


Click here for opportunities to get involved and to donate!

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcrossggr.org.

American Red Cross Responds to Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami

National Headquarters
2025 E Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20006

WASHINGTON, Friday, March 11, 2011The American Red Cross stands ready and willing to assist following  a magnitude 8.9 earthquake in Japan and the resulting tsunami that affected other countries in the Pacific region.

The Japanese Red Cross Society has extraordinary disaster response capabilities, and has mobilized eleven teams to heavily-damaged communities to provide assessments and first aid and prepare to supply emotional support and relief. The American Red Cross is in communication through its global partners with the Pacific nations that sustained the most damage, and stands ready to provide assistance as needed. To date, the Red Cross has not received any requests for blood from the Japanese Red Cross, the Japanese government or the U.S. State Department.

With potential danger headed to the west coast of the United States, Red Cross chapters are on alert and stand ready to provide assistance as needed in their communities in coordination with local and federal response partners. Red Cross warehouses in Saipan (Northern Mariana Islands), California, Washington and Hawaii are mobilizing resources; and approximately 100 mobile feeding vehicles are on standby. Evacuation shelters are open with additional locations on standby in Oregon, Washington and California.
The Red Cross does not collect blood in Hawaii but has reached out to other blood collection agencies to offer services and is on standby to support any blood needs across the mainland as well.

The best way to contact or locate U.S. citizens living or traveling in Japan is to contact the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services, at 1-888-407-4747 or (202) 647-5225. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has offered to assist Japan with restoring family links.

In addition, with ongoing evacuations in the United States, the Red Cross Safe and Well website is a secure and easy-to-use online tool that helps families connect during emergencies like tsunamis. There are several easy ways to register yourself or search for a loved one on the Safe and Well website: from a computer, visit www.redcross.org, from a smartphone visit www.redcross.org/safeandwell or from any phone, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) for help registering.

Those who want to help can go to www.redcrossggr.org and donate to Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami. People can also text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and tsunami throughout the Pacific.