Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Take a Peek into What the Red Cross Does #Allin1Day

By Patricia Billinger
What is the Red Cross up to when we're not responding to massive disasters? Let’s take a peek behind the curtain at what the Red Cross does #Allin1Day. Here’s a snapshot of what really happened on a single day last week in the Colorado & Wyoming Region:

Wednesday, May 20
6:50 a.m. – Sandy Hill answers her phone. There’s a multi-family fire at an apartment complex in Fort Collins, and 24 people are displaced. Sandy’s a volunteer disaster action team (DAT) captain. She gathers her kit, calls several other team members, and heads to the scene. There, her team meets with the residents, fire department, and the managers of the apartment complex. They’re able to determine that the complex can provide housing for the families whose homes were burned in the fire or damaged by the roof collapse and water damage. Sandy and her team connect the residents with other, individualized needs like clothing, food, and help replacing medications.

9 a.m. – Caretakers at Standard Pacific Homes  gather at their facility in Greenwood Village to train in CPR, First Aid and AED skills so they can respond to emergencies at their facility. A Red Cross instructor came to them to train them on site as part of our Full Service program.
CPR training includes how to help someone who is choking
- a handy skill to have at a facility where residents
are more likely to choke on their food.

10 a.m. – Red Cross Disaster leaders are monitoring minor flooding in multiple counties in Colorado, particularly along the Platte River near Sterling. Volunteers Dana Hoffman, Jason O’Brien and John Miller roll out a new tool enabling Red Cross responders to be aware of the current threat analysis so they can prepare and respond accordingly.

11 a.m. – Volunteers and staff in the field of logistics wrap up an important meeting about inventory control: just like any large business, the Red Cross needs to have a clear and efficient way to keep track of and coordinate the movement of supplies – things like cots, blankets and water bottles that we need to be able to move en masse quickly when disaster strikes. This meeting involves the Civil Air Patrol in developing a strategic partnership.
Just like a large business, the Red Cross must have
efficient systems in place to track and move supplies.

Noon Suzanne Ghais takes the podium for the monthly International Services Lunch and Learn in Denver. Suzanne has performed extensive research into international conflict resolution, and she addresses myths and facts about war, conflict and peace processes to educate a small crowd of Red Cross workers and members of the public about the complicated topic of conflict resolution. The international Red Cross played a pivotal role in developing the Geneva Conventions that govern the “rules of war” and protect noncombatants. The International Committee of the Red Cross continues to work to help and protect people affected by armed conflict.
Suzanne Ghais addressed facts and myths
about conflict and conflict resolution.

12:30 p.m. – George Sullivan, Red Cross preparedness lead for the Southwest and Rocky Mountain division, coordinates Red Cross chapters throughout the division for a massive, multi-state home fire preparedness campaign on July 16 in partnership with Smith’s food and drug, a subsidiary of Kroger. Employees from Smith’s will volunteer with the Red Cross on July 16 going door-to-door to install lifesaving smoke alarms and educate residents about fire safety – including in Wyoming.

2 p.m. – Local Red Cross workers who deployed to Texas and Oklahoma to provide disaster relief are only about halfway through their 12-hour day. When deployed on disasters, Red Cross staff work long, hard – but rewarding – hours. They perform a wide variety of duties, from staffing shelters and delivering food and supplies to working behind the scenes to provide leadership, organization, logistics and IT support.
Colorado & Wyoming workers deployed to assist
with a widespread disaster relief operation in Texas.

5 p.m. – Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces volunteers perform outreach to members of the B Company, 299th Brigade Engineer Battalion and their spouses at Fort Carson. Our volunteers want to ensure members of the battalion and their spouses know what Red Cross services are available to them and how to get help from the Red Cross.

6 p.m. – Instructor Juli Renny welcomes 11 everyday people to her Adult and Pediatric CPR, First Aid and AED course. The people in her class may be taking the training because they need it for work, or they’re new parents or grandparents, or because they care for children and want to know what to do in an emergency. No one wants to use the skills they learn in class, but we have plenty of stories of everyday people who became heroes because they used their training to save a life.

Whew, that’s a lot! And none of those was a major disaster. Want to support our work and the ongoing efforts of the Red Cross in your community? Join us on June 2 for the national Day of Giving! You can even schedule your gift now:

Monday, May 25, 2015

Red Cross Presents Wreath at Memorial Day Ceremony

Story and Photos by Bill Fortune/American Red Cross

Red Cross SAF volunteers provided information and
water to those attending the Memorial Day ceremony
in Pueblo, CO

Memorial Day is one of those days when American's set a side time to remember those that have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Veterans, active duty military, their families and the Pueblo community came together to remember all of those who have served and especially those that we have lost. The community gathered at the Pueblo Veterans Memorial Bridge in a ceremony that was a dignified and emotional tribute.

True to its mission, the American Red Cross was represented at this special event. They were there, like so many others, to commemorate our service men and women.

The American Red Cross has supported our nation's armed forces for more than a century in peacetime and in war.

LTC (ret) Wayne Lacey (L) and Dan Chaves salute as they
present a wreath at the Memorial Day Ceremony in Pueblo
"Our volunteers have been a strong presence during war time making sure that emergency messages get passed from family to service member," said Wayne Lacey, Service to Armed Forces director for the Colorado & Wyoming Red Cross. "They were that shoulder to lean on for service members and families."

Wreath presented by the Colorado & Wyoming
Red Cross at the Memorial Day Ceremony
in Pueblo, CO. 

As a proud supporter of our nation's military, the Colorado and Wyoming Region Service to Armed Forces volunteers and staff presented a wreath that will be placed at the Pueblo Veterans Memorial Bridge. It will be placed alongside wreaths from several other organizations who were there to show support. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Copy. Paste. Touch Lives. Are you #AllIn?

by Patricia Billinger
Quick test: Set your timer on your smart phone or watch, then time how long it takes you to:

  1. Copy the image below.
  2. Paste it into your twitter, Facebook or Instagram feed.
  3. Hit post/send.

I timed myself and it took…27 seconds. Boom. Message sent.

Pretty easy, right?

With a few clicks, you can be a part of a bigger movement to help people – people like the 24 Fort Collins residents who were shaken out of sleep early on the morning of May 20 by an apartment fire and whose homes and belongings were damaged or lost to the fire and its subsequent roof collapse and water damage. People like Gina,  whose life was saved by a neighbor who had learned CPR through his work. People like  Desire,  who was able to get her husband home from Korea when his father died.

These are the types of stories happening every day in the Colorado & Wyoming region of the Red Cross – and in every state across the country. In order to support what the Red Cross does #AllInOneDay, we’re asking the public to donate on June 2, 2015.

If you can donate, thank you! Gifts can be scheduled today.

Another, even easier way to help is to use the power of your voice and your social network to spread the word.


Go to to become a social ambassador. The site has a ton of easy-to-access tools like images, pre-written posts and ideas to inspire you.  There are ideas for every day through June 2!


Don’t have time to log on every day? Anything you do can help. If nothing else, check one of these actions off your to-do list:

  • Follow @redcross or your local chapter (see below) and RT positive stories.
  • Like the Red Cross or your local chapter on Facebook and share the content from those accounts.
  • On June 1 or June 2, visit and copy and paste the text or one of the images into your preferred social media account. 
Your local Red Cross chapter social media accounts:

Mile High Area:

Southeast Colorado:

A Legacy of Angels and Generals: A Memorial Day Tribute

By Ed O’Brien
WWII Maj. General John F. (“Jack”) Curry presided over training of 2 million airmen, founded the Civil Air Patrol (The Air Force Auxiliary), and built Peterson, Nellis, and Wright-Paterson Air Force Bases, among many other facilities. Four-Hundred and twenty-four airbases, auxiliary fields, depots, and bombing ranges to be exact.

John F. ("Jack") Curry reviewing troops
at  Sacramento Field, 1944
The Good General was head of the Army Air Corps Western Technical And Training Command, Headquartered at Lowry for all of WWII.

And, in the end, “Jack Curry” was also a Mile High Chapter Red Cross Volunteer.  Though his name may have slipped into the past, his legacy continues to this day.

After the War, Jack lived in the Hilltop neighborhood of Denver. He’d retired from the Air Force in 1947. Curry was one of only six men who were both an Air Force and Army Air Corps General.

His achievements were great. His career was complete. But, his life was far from over.

In the years following his retirement, Jack went to find volunteers in oddest places. Places where no one else thought to look. Bars, cloistered churches, and hovels.

As head of the local Boy Scout Council, he went looking for troop leaders at the American Legion and VFW Halls. There the retired General discovered virtuous men without jobs, unsure of their future, and even without kids… yet.

Curry in Dress uniform shortly before his retirement ceremony.
Curry talked these men at loose ends into to leading Boy Scouts out to the woods on adventures in the wild. Many of these men spent years hiking and camping in the Army. They were experts. And they were a little wild themselves. He got the American Legion to sponsor baseball teams, dens, packs and troops.

He put fire back into men worn out by war but ready for a different service.

You see, Jack was more than a Boy Scout… he was a talent scout. He could see a job and talk a person into seeing that job too. And not unsurprisingly, he’d get them to envision that they were the person to do that very job. Jack was a down-to-earth, humble, and for a General a rather soft spoken kind of guy. Even if you didn’t love him… you liked him.

Orville Wright, then Maj. Curry and Charles Lindbergh
during construction of Wright Patterson Field in 1927. 
Claire Chennault, Jimmy Doolittle, George Kenney, Ira Eakers, and many more Air Force luminaries owe a piece of their careers and their place in history to Jack Curry. He was their talent scout too. But, that is another story.

After WWII, Jack was summoned to use his talents to assist the Red Cross.

During the War, everyone volunteered in the Red Cross: Moms with boys overseas. Wives waiting at home. Kids, parents, lawyers, doctors and nurses, bell-hops and bartenders -- even parolees lent a hand. It was the thing to do.

Everyone volunteered except those “drafted” into the Red Cross. Conscientious Objectors who proved they were against military service on moral grounds were drafted into Alternative Civilian Service and the Red Cross was one of the beneficiaries. So there were “draftees” in the Red Cross. However, that is yet another great story… for later.

But after WWII, Red Cross Volunteer numbers were down. So Jack Curry set out to find new blood where no one thought to look. Again, VFW Halls, American Legion Posts, and Anti-Military Churches such as the Brethren, Mennonites, Amish, and Seventh Day Adventists. Jack knew where to look.

Jack’s reasoning was sound: These were people with passionate beliefs, people who’d shown that service was important -- all they’d need was a place and a calling. The Red Cross was that place and that calling.

Maj. Gen. John F. Curry's grave can be found at
Ft. Logan National Cemetery. Photo by Ed O'Brien
Jack spent about 10 years on the Red Cross Board in Denver. Volunteer numbers increased every year.  As such the role of the Red Cross did too.

Maj. Gen. John F. Curry died in Denver in 1973. He is buried, along with his wife Eleanor, at Ft. Logan National Cemetery.  His Grave is in Section Q number 4172.

This Memorial Day, should you be in the vicinity of Fort Logan National Cemetery, John Francis Curry, Maj. Gen. Army Air Corps, is worth your salute. Be an angel and look for his place of peace.