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News of interest to ARCRA members

  • 10/14/2016 10:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A retired chapter exec keeps our international reach front and center

    by Janet Filling, ARCRA Board Member

    When I became Executive Director of the Mid-Fairfield County chapter we decided to fly, in addition to the American flag and the American Red Cross flag, those of the Red Crescent and Israeli Magen David Adom, symbols that also represent members of the International Movement. 

    Our chapter was close to New York City, and our area had a strong international flavor. The display of the three flags drew many inquiries, often from people who wanted to learn more. I remember a conversation with a community member who was curious about the Red Cross symbol: he was delighted to learn it wasn’t just a sign of assistance, but that it was the reversal of the Swiss flag. And that the symbol was chosen because visionary Swiss businessman Henry Dunant saw the need for a humanitarian organization after witnessing the Battle of Solferino and its aftermath. It can truly be said the genesis of the Red Cross movement was a commitment to members of the military.

    In America, Clara Barton continued this tradition during the Civil War with a commitment to the care of the wounded and dying.  This commitment carries through today. Often, when in my office at the Red Cross, I would be told that a member of the military came to ask for some kind of assistance. Whenever I could, I made a point of giving these visits my immediate and personal attention. This created more opportunities to talk to members and veterans of our military about our roots and our fundamental principles.

    With the exposure we have to worldwide events it is important for our members to understand our international connections, whether it is another Red  Cross member responding to a disaster as we saw in Nice or the Red Crescent helping the Middle East refugees.

    Along with our board and our staff, I truly enjoyed sharing information about the International Red Cross with our own community. In the same spirit, as an ARCRA board member, I will periodically be writing about international matters for our Association’s members, to help all of us tell this larger story to others.

  • 09/28/2016 7:51 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Christie Phillips

    ARCRA is partnering with ARC Biomed, specifically with the Volunteer Managers, to recruit volunteer transportation specialists to deliver lifesaving blood to hospitals. This new partnership is an opportunity retirees located within ARC Blood Regions to engage in a true partnership. ARCRA administrator, Christie Phillips, recently met with all 19 Volunteer Managers, and provided background information about ARCRA and a list of possible relationships between regions and ARCRA members and groups. 

    As a volunteer driver, you’ll play a critical role in helping make sure blood products are available when patients need it. Drivers help deliver blood products to local and regional hospitals. Volunteer driver shifts may include travel around the region. Training and use of Red Cross vehicles will be provided.Volunteers must meet the following minimum requirements:

    • Have a valid driver’s license with a minimum ofthree years driving experience
    • Be able to verify a safe driving record with insurance
    • Be able to lift boxes of lifesaving blood products of up to 45 pounds for hospital deliveries
    • Be available to volunteer for two to four shifts per month (flexible schedules available) 
    If you live in an area served by a Red Cross Blood Services Region and want to learn more reach out to your local Volunteer Management team located at your regional office. 

    This is the first of what we hope are several opportunities to create volunteer opportunities with clear objectives and impact for ARCRA members and other retirees. Special thanks to Joby Jester, ARCRA board member who is also Mid-Atlantic Regional Representative. Joby has built some of the critical relationships at ARC that enable us to moveforward with this program. If you have any questions about the program, please drop Joby an email or contact Christie Phillips.

  • 09/28/2016 7:50 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    When in doubt--throw it out! If you receive a suspicious email message, it may be a phishing attempt. Phishing is a type of social engineering attack intended to trick you into divulging personal information. If you receive a suspicious email, don’t click on the links or attachments, and don’t send personal information such as passwords, credit card numbers, bank account numbers or social security numbers by email.  October is  National Cyber Security Awareness Month- never provide any personal information to unknown sources or respond to suspicious email.

  • 09/28/2016 7:47 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On August 25, 2016, the National Park Service turned 100. Buy a Senior Pass for $10, load up the car, head to you closest National Park, and join the Centennial  celebration.

    If you are 62 or older, the best $10 gift you can give yourself is a National Park Service Senior Pass. For a one time fee of ten dollars you can get free lifetime admittance to over 2,000 National Parks, National Refuges, and National Forest Lands. A Senior Pass allows free admission for the pass owner and three additional adults traveling in the same vehicle. This is a big savings. For example, admission to Acadia National Park is $12/person for 7 days or $25/ carload for 7 days. And remember, children 16 and younger always get free admission.

    You can obtain your pass for $10 at any National Park or Recreation site that charges admission.  You will need to present photo id, i.e.driver's license or passport.

    You can also apply for a Senior Pass through the mail. Go to www.store.usgs.gov/pass/senior.nt and print the application form.  Send the completed application with $20 and a copy of you driver's license or passport to: USGS, Box 25286, Denver, CO. 80225

  • 09/28/2016 7:31 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Christie Phillips

    At a staff Townhall meeting on July 13, Red Cross President Gail  McGovern continued her tradition of providing regular updates on the health of Red Cross.   While the numbers are not yet finalized, she expects that ARC will finish the past fiscal year in the black.  

    She remarked ARC staff are now relocated from 2025 to Red Cross Square or Fairfax.  While the sale of 2025 is not yet finalized, the building is fully rented to The State Department and that rent provides a reliable revenue source. 

    McGovern remarked about how wonderful it was to be out from under the FDA Consent decree and again thanked Biomedical staff for their diligence and commitment to compliance and excellence.  She also stated that the financial health of Red Cross is much stronger due to the ongoing efforts of all parts of the organization to control costs and increase revenue.  

    She singled out Biomed, who in 5 years has cut their deficit in half, increased the number of hospitals serviced by Red Cross, increased their productivity by focusing on blood drives that produce more units, and expanded market share in an environment of shrinking demand.  

    Fundraising continues to explore new national giving platforms like Giving Day and Direct Response TV ads.  Health and Safety has grown revenue, is more efficient, and expanding its outreach into industry.  Service to Military Families increased its casework 38 percent and responded to 270 suicide calls.   There is an increased focus on volunteers and identifying work that was formerly contracted out or done by staff including a transportation specialist program recruiting volunteers as blood drivers to transport blood products. 

  • 09/28/2016 7:18 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Betty Wagner

    Julie Burger, ARCRA Secretary, former member of the ARC Board of Governors, and lifelong Red Cross volunteer, was recognized for her fifty years of service to the American Red Cross on September 24th at Red Cross Square, Washington DC. Julie was recognized for “a lifetime of exemplary service” through her Red Cross volunteer work and her work in the community. Much of Julie’s Red Cross volunteer work was in SAF, as a case worker and trainer, working on many military bases as she accompanied her husband during his military career. She also developed the “Get to Know Us Before You Need Us” program. 

    Julie was recognized at the annual memorial service, a Red Cross and American Red Cross Overseas Association (ARCOA) event. The annual event honors the lives of ARCOA members whose “enduring bonds of friendship” were forged in service of others far away from home. 

    “The first time that the American Red Cross provided services to the U.S. military in an area of conflict was during the Spanish American War,” said Koby Langley,Senior Vice-President Service to the Armed Forces. “American Red Cross founder Clara Barton recruited and deployed 700 nurses to join other Red Cross field staff in Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Philippines.” 

    ARCOA membership is made up of Red Crossers who served overseas and seek to promote international understanding, promote community service and maintain the friendships that they established while on Red Cross assignment. Today ARCOA members include those who served during World War II, the Korean Conflict, Vietnam,and most recently in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Djibouti, Kosovo, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. In addition to serving with U.S deployed military, ARCOA members also include those who have served in international humanitarian relief missions in the aftermath of devastating natural disasters in support of other Red Cross societies and as part of postwar relief efforts for civilians.

    Among other ARCRA members attending the memorial service were Sharon Richter, Norm and Joyce Bottenberg, Washington , Armond Mascelli, Virginia, Philip Chapman, Connecticut, and Betty Wagner, former ARCRA administrator. For more information on ARCOA go to their website at http://www.arcoa.org/

  • 08/16/2016 5:42 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    From Americanredcross.org

    Your kid comes home from school with an empty pillowcase and a list of disaster preparedness supplies to fill it with. That's the big take-away when youngsters participate in The Pillowcase Project, a Red Cross program sponsored by Disney. Along with the pillowcase, there's on online book and an app to help the third through fifth graders learn about fire prevention, family preparedness, and how to cope with disasters.

    The Pillowcase project got a tremendous boost in late July when the Red Cross received an AmeriCorps grant of just over a million dollars from the Corporation for National and Community Service. The money will be used to deploy 60 AmeriCorps members across 15 states to send 60,000 youngsters home with their pillowcases. 20 more AmeriCorps members will distribute free smoke alarms and teach adults about home fire safety, with the goal of reducing deaths and injuries due to fires by 25 per cent over five years.

    Families of the military and veterans will be a special focus of the joint effort, with 10 of the 80 AmeriCorps workers assigned to work with them.

    “We are thrilled with this outstanding support from the Corporation for National and Community Service,” said Harvey Johnson, senior vice president, Red Cross Disaster Cycle Services. “This grant will support two critical projects that have already helped to save lives and will now be able to reach even more children and households, teaching people about preparedness and fire prevention.”

  • 08/16/2016 5:37 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Al Rettig

    As the ARCRA board set out to revamp our communication program, it was clear that we needed a new logo that captures the forward-looking spirit that marks our new website, our newsletters and all the other ways we stay in touch with you. We asked our friend and ARC alum Kat Jamieson to volunteer to tackle the job, and she soon created our new look. The former head of the graphics department at Red Cross headquarters, Kat is an accomplished and versatile commercial artist who has now added the fine arts to her portfolio, working and teaching in everything from painting to silk screening to jewelry making and more.

                It's a special challenge to create a look for an organization that has strong Red Cross ties but isn't part of the Red Cross itself. Using the actual Red Cross symbol in the ARCRA logo is out of the question, so Kat's task was to evoke a Red Cross "feel" without treading on international law.

                She did it by incorporating four of the five "equal squares" of the Red Cross--in the appropriate shade of red--at the corners of the new logo. The rest of the design portrays the ARCRA as a vibrant and active 21st century organization, ready and anxious to represent the retirees who built and nurtured the American Red Cross.

                The board is proud of our new look, and we hope you find it attractive and powerful too. We'd love to hear your thoughts, and we thank Kat Jamieson for her outstanding design.

  • 07/25/2016 8:33 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Dave Therkelsen, ARCRA President

            Chances are you recognize the name Anna Shearer. You’ve seen it on a lot of official documents that come to employees and retirees of American Red Cross.

            I’ve known and worked with Anna over a long period of time: as an executive in both a Blood Region and a Chapter, as an employee planning my own retirement, as a member of the ARCRA board, as ARCRA president. I know first hand how much all of us owe to Anna for the smooth and effective administration of benefits that we all take for granted. In fact, the smoother things go with Red Cross benefits, the more it reflects Anna’s quiet but firm determination that things be done right. A lot of the information you get from ARCRA about benefits originated with Anna.

            Anna has announced her retirement, after 15 years as Vice President, HR Support Services, as of this August 2016. We’ll welcome her to our own ranks. We’ll miss her as a key person within ARC who helps make things go well for retirees.

  • 07/07/2016 6:16 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Al Rettig, ARCRA Board

            The only surprising thing about the ruckus over a racially insensitive Red Cross pool safety poster is that it was published in 2014 and it took until mid-2016 for somebody to notice that the white kids are "cool" and the minority kids are "not cool."

            When Margaret Sawyer saw the poster at two different pools in Colorado recently, she put an image of it online and pointed out the obvious racial bias to the NBC television station in Denver. Both social media and traditional media were quick to foment a flood of criticism.

            Red Cross president Gail McGovern quickly issued an unequivocal apology and expressed her disappointment that the poster was ever released. She said that the poster has been removed from the Red Cross website and swim app, that production has been discontinued and that swimming facilities have been asked to no longer display it. McGovern added, "We are currently in the process of completing a formal agreement with a diversity advocacy organization for their guidance. . ."

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