Meet one of our shinings stars

Meet UMass Medical School student,  honoree of the Massachusetts Department of Education’s “29 Who Shine” award and Disaster Action Team member of Red Cross of Central Mass, Jennifer MacDonald!

On May 8, Jennifer was recognized for her contributions to the commonwealth by Governor Deval Patrick at the fourth annual recognition ceremony. Each honoree is a Massachusetts resident “who has made an outstanding civic contribution to the state and intends to remain in the commonwealth upon graduation.”  Yes, we are claiming you for the foreseeable future Jennifer!

MacDonald began her residency at Clark University and her first volunteer experience was with our very own DAT team of which, she is still an active member of today.  MacDonald is part of a team of volunteers who attend to needs of community members that have been affected by a house fire or other catastrophic disasters.

We are proud to have one of our own being recognized for her immeasurable help in the community!




Say Hello to Colonel Doonan

Ginger DoonanJoin the Cape Cod Community College in welcoming Colonel Virginia Doonan as Commencement Speaker for the graduating class of 2014!

Col. Doonan entered the Air Force in 1986 and has since then climbed the leadership ladder to her current role as  Executive Deputy Director (Air) at Otis Air Force Base. Her day-to-day tasks are to oversee strategic management and base operating support. She also works with a department centralized in identifying opportunities for development of future business plans with the community and renewable energy opportunities.

Col. Doonan holds an undergraduate degree in Professional Aeronautics at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University as well as a Master of Education degree from Lesley College. She sits on our Cape Cod & Islands Board of Directors.

To learn more about Col. Doonan, her journey and America join us at the Cape Cod Melody Tent in Hyannis on Thursday May 22.

Red Cross offers brush fire safety tips

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????The triple threat of warm weather, strong winds and dry leaves can leave Massachusetts very vulnerable to brush fires.

Here are a few tips to follow to reduce the risk of brush fires:

1) Burn brush only where permitted by your town or city. It’s important to pick a clear spot away from your home. All it takes is one strong wind to lead to a potential disaster.

2) Double and triple check your home’s gutters to ensure they are clear of flammable debris. Identify a reliable water source in the perimeter of your home in case of emergency.

3) Make a plan with your family and neighbors if necessary in the case a brush fire breaks out. Selecting a meeting spot and 2 or 3 evacuation routes will ensure your family and friends are prepared.

4) We love Emergency Preparedness Kits at the Red Cross and this is another great instance in which it would come in handy. Have a first aid kit ready along with bottled water, maps of the area, flashlight and nonperishable food.

Take a #TeddySelfie!

Dawn Leaks poses with her teddy

Dawn Leaks poses with her teddy

No matter how large or small a disaster is it can turn a persons life upside down in an instant. To restore hope and symbolize the very real help Red Crossers bring to those in need, teddys are given to children (and sometimes even adults) to aid in restoring a sense of security.

So take a selfie that counts! The Red Cross wants to see you and your teddy strike a pose. Tweet us at @RedCrossMA on Twitter.

-Emily Dechambeau

Top Ten Valentine’s Day Tidbits from the Red Cross

Yes, it is back again- another Valentine’s Day for the books. If you’re like me (a complete procrastinator who also considers herself an extraordinary planner) you’re still struggling to think of that perfect gift for your special guy or girl. If you’re not like me and you’ve had the perfect restaurant, candies and romantic playlist picked out for weeks then you can get out of here. Just joking! Seal the deal on your already amazing plans or fill your open February 14 schedule with these “Top Ten Things to do with your Lover” ideas from the Red Cross (yes, I added with your lover).

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Who doesn’t love the selfless, sweet, caring guy who chooses to spend this special day donating his very own blood. You are touched by his compassionate soul and follow his lead. Now stick around and grab some cookies or head to that chocolate shop down the street to get rid of that slight feeling of light-headedness.

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Maybe you’ve just stepped into the powdery fluff floating from the sky or realized you and your date both share the same love of lady synchronizing swimming but you feel the moment and some smooching happens. Be careful people. It is F-L-U season. To ensure safe kissing practices check up on these tips to stay flu free.

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Ok, so you chose to stay in, cozy up to the fire (who doesn’t have a fireplace in their Bostonian apartment) and sip hot coco with Mr. or Mrs. Valentine this year. It’s great, you’re really enjoying the nice quiet night but feel like something is missing. Two words- Digital Fundraisers. Let’s get some productivity in your night. Then go back to the coco.

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Valentine’s didn’t go as planned. Your blind date was a L7 weenie. You’re back at home reliving the reality of his choice of the dreaded Hawaiian shirt and the seventh call with his mom when you just really need something besides your glass of chardonnay to turn that mood around. DING DING DING! Donate some of that money you would have spent on your second bottle of 2 buck chuck to the Red Cross (maybe more than 2 bucks though c’mon now).

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Dinner is on the table, Sinatra is asking luck to be a lady tonight, candles are lit and the door bell rings. Sparky leaps up out of his trance focused on the burnt t-bone you very kindly sacrificed an hour ago and brings the entire table down with him. Candles. On the ground. Flames. Date no more. Better luck next year in your new apartment. Don’t let this be your story by being prepared.

By the way, Sparky, #1 known dog name am I right?

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Let’s stray from the norm. No chocolates or fancy dinner reservations. You guys want to do something different. Why don’t you spend your day brushing up on your first aid and CPR skills in a Red Cross class? Now you not only have the certainty of your love for one another but you also know he won’t sit dumbfounded while the ring he masterfully baked into your slice of cake slips down your throat. Too graphic? Ya, take the class.

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Hit up the Red Cross store for a special Valentine Day gift. Nothing says I love you more than safety gear or a nice warm fleece… I’d take the fleece. They look comfy.

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Don’t let disaster strike on your special day. Hey, you didn’t know she was allergic to daisies or that this restaurant would make you feel like a piece of meat that’s on its eighth hour in the crock pot causing your pit stains to be on point. You didn’t have the foresight for that and that’s fine but you CAN be prepared for a different kind of disaster- a natural disaster.

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She’s the technological type. Always up to date on the newest ipod, ipad and every app to go with them. Impress her with the Red Cross app. Make her techy head spin with your intelligence and grace as you guide her through her very own first aid app.

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The couple who volunteers together stays together. It is just a known fact. Check up on volunteering opportunities around your local neighborhoods. Think about all the memories and experiences you can lovingly look back twenty years from now. Yes, volunteer = stay together. Forever.

Some Neighborly Advice from American Red Cross

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Knowing your neighbors’ strengths and skills can help when disaster strikes. Meet with your neighbors to construct a plan and consider how you will be able to help children, elderly and the disabled in the interim before help arrives.

I met with my neighborhood watch organization and we designated a medical contact, a handyman with electrical and plumbing knowledge and a coordinator who would account for all members of each household. I, of course, will use my amazing blogging and social media skills to relay messages to the outside world that my street is safe.

rco_blog_img_BlogLogoBe sure to have a substantial stock of water and nonperishable food items at hand. It would also be useful to draft a master list of serious medical conditions and emergency contacts. It doesn’t hurt to be too prepared!

As always, you can check out American Red Cross website for more safety tips.

Swim into Summer with the Red Cross

You know the saying – April showers bring May flowers and June brings… the end the school year and a whole summer of possibilities.

The Red Cross is offering Aquatic classes to prepare water lovers for a fun filled summer.

If you don’t know how to swim this is your chance. The question I ask for those of you seasoned swimmers is, why not get paid to? The Red Cross provides lifeguard training and certification. In fact, we have trained more than 190,000 lifeguards in the past few years alone.

Check out the Aquatics website for dates and times to prepare for your best summer yet. Who wouldn’t want to get paid to hang out at a pool or beach all day? Count me in.

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