Red Cross Monitoring Airports and Ports of Entry

Red Cross Monitoring Airports and Ports of Entry

Executive Order on Immigration and Impact on Travelers

On Friday, January 27, 2017, President Trump issued an executive order on immigration indefinitely barring refugees from entering the United States, suspending all refugee admissions for 120 days, and blocking citizens of seven countries, refugees or otherwise, from entering the United States for 90 days: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. As a consequence of the order, some travelers to the United States were stopped at airports in the United States and abroad.

American Red Cross Response

The American Red Cross is monitoring conditions at airports and ports of entry in collaboration with local emergency management officials in order to assess the need for food and canteen services for stranded travelers and detainees affected by the executive order. Health, mental health, and spiritual care services are also at-the-ready.

“Our fundamental principles guide us to prevent and alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found,” said Celena Roldan, CEO of the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois. “We are working with local officials to continue to monitor the situation. First and foremost, we are a humanitarian services organization, dedicated to the inclusion of and aid to all people.”

The Red Cross is also prepared to utilize the Reconnecting Family Links (RFL) program for detainees, stranded travelers and families that have been separated internationally.

Fundamental Principles

The American Red Cross is governed by a set of fundamental principles. These principles are reviewed in preparation for a potential response in order to ensure that it is guided by important tenants.

Humanity

The Red Cross, born of a desire to bring assistance without discrimination to the wounded on the battlefield, endeavors—in its international and national capacity—to prevent and alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found. Its purpose is to protect life and health and to ensure respect for the human being. It promotes mutual understanding, friendship, cooperation and lasting peace amongst all peoples.

Impartiality

It makes no discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. It endeavors to relieve the suffering of individuals, being guided solely by their needs, and to give priority to the most urgent cases of distress.

Neutrality

In order to continue to enjoy the confidence of all, the Red Cross may not take sides in hostilities or engage at any time in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.

Independence

The Red Cross is independent. The national societies, while auxiliaries in the humanitarian services of their governments and subject to the laws of their respective countries, must always maintain their autonomy so that they may be able at all times to act in accordance with Red Cross principles.

Voluntary Service

The Red Cross is a voluntary relief movement not prompted in any manner by desire for gain.

Unity

There can be only one Red Cross society in any one country. It must be open to all. It must carry on its humanitarian work throughout its territory.

Universality

The Red Cross is a worldwide institution in which all societies have equal status and share equal responsibilities and duties in helping each other.

By: Cat Rabenstine, Regional Marketing Programs Manager, American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois

Celebrating Alden Cohen, long-time Red Cross Volunteer

Celebrating Alden Cohen, long-time Red Cross Volunteer

Celebrated volunteer, Alden Cohen, passed away on December 24th at the age of 82. Alden was a Red Cross volunteer for 65 years and taught thousands in First Aid, CPR, AED, disaster relief and community preparedness.

“Alden was one of the nicest people you would ever be fortunate to meet. I knew him for more than 10 years, and worked with him in his role as a volunteer instructor. He was a compassionate, hard-working, and dedicated volunteer for the Red Cross,” says Yvette Alexander-Maxie.

He was an active DAT responder, assisted during major disasters, and volunteered his time to help with fundraising. Alden was also well known for the thoughtful gifts that he would leave for colleagues – each left with an uplifting note and anonymously given.

“Alden trained me as a Red Cross Responder. We did several fires together and through him I learned to be kind and patient with clients. He will be missed. I enjoyed seeing him just come into the office always with a smile,” says Ray Carter.

Alden found time to volunteer with other organizations including the Evanston Police Department and Community Emergency Response Team. In 2006 he was recognized as the Evanston Senior Volunteer of the Year and in 2011 was given the Spirit of Service Award. For over 10 years he volunteered with Literacy Chicago teaching immigrants of all ages English, American culture, history, and civics. Alden was a US Army veteran and was awarded the Army Commendation Ribbon for his service.

His humor, wit and creativeness was valued so much by everyone who worked with him. He was an incredibly generous and kind person and will be missed by his Red Cross family.

“I am truly heartbroken to hear this news,” says Michelle Patel. “Alden was a great volunteer, mentor, friend, and gift to our world. His generosity and patience changed me. He showed me how to make a difference in our clients’ lives. He showed me how to inspire other volunteers. I will never forget the impact he had made on me and countless others.”

Thank you for donating blood!

Thank you for donating blood!

January is a critical-need time for blood especially when holiday breaks and seasonal weather often reduce blood donations.

ABC 7 Chicago once again generously hosted the annual Great Chicago Blood Drive on Jan. 9, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency and the Drake Oak Brook Hotel. While helping to save lives, participants enjoyed entertainment from Medieval Times and received a free ABC 7 Great Chicago Blood Drive T-shirt.

The event collected a total of 684 units of blood! Watch live coverage from ABC 7 Chicago.

Thank you to all blood donors, volunteers, and sponsors for your generosity!

Couple Recovers After Destructive Home Fire

Couple Recovers After Destructive Home Fire

“We hit rock bottom,” said Nick Tedeschi. “And the Red Cross gave us a start.”

Nick and his wife, Shirley, were going about their daily routine on Feb 13, 2016, when their condo caught on fire. They were left with the clothes on their back. “You never expect, when you leave for the day, to come back and have lost everything,” said Nick. Their Valentine’s Day plans were derailed as they tried to recover.

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Nick and Shirley lost everything in the home fire.

The Red Cross responded to the fire, caused by a next door neighbor’s cigarette, to help them get back on their feet during the immediate recovery after their loss.

Nick reflected on that time, “I was totally gutted out.”

He talked about the months following the fire as a very difficult time. He would wipe his tears away and keep it inside while he was at work, delivering supplies to customers throughout the loop. He didn’t want anyone to know.

Nick and Shirley showed resiliency, and even humor, during a difficult time. Nick said he watched his house burn down while eating a bowl of chili he had picked up on the way home. He laughed, looking back on it, because the chili was from a local chain called Firehouse Subs.

They moved into her daughter’s basement for a few months until they were able to purchase a new home. “We were blessed tremendously,” Nick reflects.

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The house that Nick and Shirley purchased after a fire destroyed their previous home.

Now, he and his wife live in a house and, Nick says, they do things differently. They triple check everything before leaving the house, they put in new smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, and they keep flammable things away from their house – they don’t even have a grill. “We have backyard BYOF parties: bring your own food,” said Nick.

In 2017, Nick plans to volunteer for the Red Cross to answer telephones at a Red Cross telethon. “You guys did so much. It gave us a starting point.”

Learn more about the American Red Cross Home Fire Prevention Campaign.

By: Cat Rabenstine

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

This has been a very busy year. So far in December alone, the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois  has already responded to more than 100 home fires.

Fire responses are occurring at a rate of 4 fires per day, so we’re also actively helping families prepare for disaster. As a result of our efforts, nearly 7,500 smoke alarms have been installed in at-risk neighborhoods and over 40,000 have been provided youth education in 2016.

From the South Holland flooding, to national deployments to Louisiana and Tennessee, the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois has been all over the region and the nation.

Thank you for all your hard work. Whether you are a staff member, a valued volunteer, or a committed donor, the Red Cross is so grateful for all that you do.

Please watch this message below and celebrate all the great work you have done this year, supporting people to prepare for disasters, providing direct response to those affected by disasters, and walking people through recovery after a disaster.

Red Cross Celebrates Holidays with Veterans

The holiday season is a special time for the valued partnership between the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois and the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center.

The Red Cross was honored to volunteer at the Lovell holiday party. Veterans like Nathaniel Davenport, who served in Vietnam, enjoyed a children’s choir and dessert, along with the company of friends and volunteers.

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A volunteer, Nathaniel Davenport, and Chaplain Lyle Swanson at the holiday party.

“I hope we never have to do something like that again,” Nathaniel reflected with gravity on his time in the military. But while the children sang, he smiled. “The is the best one so far,” said Nathaniel, “The kids are great.”

Nathaniel sat next to a friend, Chaplain Lyle Swanson, a retired navy chaplain who used to deliver Red Cross messages (an emergency request to contact a service member). One time, he received a Red Cross message himself, telling him that his mother had a stroke. The Red Cross enabled him to get home with enough time to say goodbye to his mother before she passed away.

“It was 32 years ago almost to the day,” said Chaplain Swanson.

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Ralph Barzowcsi and Gloria Cardenas.

Ralph Barzowsci, who also served in Vietnam, was enjoying the festivities with his care companion, Gloria Cardenas. They share meals together and do activities, like go to the mall.

The Red Cross also collected gifts for veteran families in need to make sure their holiday was a special one.

Learn more about both holiday programs in the video below!

Chicago Winters Bring Home Fires

Chicago Winters Bring Home Fires

Every year, Chicago winters bring frigid temperatures and an increase in home fires. The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois responds to 3-4 home fires daily. So far in December, that response has already reached 71 home fires.

On average, 7 people die every day from a home fire, 36 people suffer injuries as a result of home fires every day, and over $7 billion in property damage occurs every year.

Photos by Carlo Heathcote.

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Can your family escape in just 2 minutes? You can keep your family safe with 2 simple steps.

Step 1. Practice your 2-minute drill. Make sure your family can safely escape a home fire in under 2 minutes. Use our worksheets to plan and prepare your 2-minute drill today.

Step 2. Test your smoke alarms monthly. Make sure you and your family are alerted as soon as a fire is detected. If the smoke alarm isn’t working, change the batteries.

ARC Chicago Home Fire Responders

You can also download the free Red Cross Emergency App for instant access to safety tips for winter weather and power outages. The app also contains weather alerts, life-saving information and ways to contact family and friends in one free, easy-to-use app for mobile devices. The app can be found in the app store for someone’s mobile device by searching for “American Red Cross” or by going to redcross.org/apps.