Sunday, July 31, 2016

Red Cross Support for Pine Bluffs, Wyoming Continues

Updated by Bill Fortune

Pine Bluffs, WY, Sunday, July 31, 2016, Noon - The American Red Cross support for the people of Pine Bluffs, Wyoming has involved a number of resources from staff and volunteers to shelter trailers and cleanup kits. Today the Red Cross continued the support through individual client services where Red Cross case workers  talk directly to families one-on-one to determine what service they need. At that point the caseworker looks at resources available in the community, in kind donations and Red Cross resources to determine a best fit, based on the persons need.

Red Cross volunteer unloads supplies
for disaster recover. Photo by Amanda Fry
“We have gone door-to-door to each affected home to determine the level of damage and the needs of the community,” said Melody Storgaard, Site Director for the American Red Cross. “We have worked closely with local governments, fire departments and other non-profit partners to bring resources and volunteers into the community.” The Red Cross teams, and teams from other partners, have been working together since the beginning. Groups like the Salvation Army, Wyoming Volunteers Active in Disaster (WYVOAD) have been influential in supporting the recovery

What to expect over the next few days? Many of the Red Cross staff, logistical support and material support will be rolled back to the Regional office to be ready for the next activation. Recovery support will be turned over the Red Cross of Wyoming based out of Cheyenne and to Red Cross volunteers that live in the Pine Bluffs community. That effort will begin on Monday and if Red Cross support is needed people should call the 24-hour emergency number for the Red Cross of Wyoming which is: 307-222-8272.

“The Red Cross presence will seem smaller,” said Spencer Pollack, Executive Director for the Red Cross of Wyoming. “However the support will continue as long as it is needed. We are only a phone call away.”

SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT SAFETY DURING CLEAN UP: People are urged to be especially careful with their efforts to clean and recover. Safety is important and people should recognize that there is the potential for injury and if things are done carelessly they can lead to additional damage. On Saturday a home in Pine Bluffs that had suffered damage from the storm caught fire caused by an electrical short related to the damage. “We want people to be safe and use the proper protective clothing and equipment while they are clearing debris.” Storgaard said. Tips about recovery from storm damage are available at www.redcross.org/prepare.

Red Crossers In A Rodeo?

By Amanda Fry

DUBOIS, WY, Saturday, July 29, 2016 – For three Red Cross shelter volunteers in Dubois, Wyo., a visit to the weekly rodeo turned into an exciting event that ended in a victory for the intrepid team.

Shelter volunteer Ginny Warner sponsored the team of three: Judy Howell, Bill Werner, and Amanda Fry.

The group competed against a local team from the CM Ranch, who proved to be worthy competitors. With the seconds counting down, the Red Cross team managed to drag themselves across the finish line with seconds to spare, taking home a victory.

“It was a lot of fun – I’m too old for it, but it was fun,” Judy said with a laugh.  She added that the entire experience volunteering at a Red Cross shelter has been a wonderful experience, and working with the Dubois community has been great.

“I don’t like the circumstances,” she said.  “But it has been great helping people out.”

The video of the rodeo event has been posted here.  No Red Cross volunteers, or rodeo steers, were injured in the making of this video.


Special thanks to Red Cross Team Leader Rae Smith for videotaping the event!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Local Volunteers Make a Difference in Dubois

By Amanda Fry

DUBOIS, Wyo.,July 29,2016, – Volunteers from the communities surrounding the Lava Mountain fire are gathering at the Red Cross Shelter at Dubois High School to help provide support to evacuees, residents, and emergency responders. Daily meals provided at the shelter have been a vital part of Red Cross outreach.

Currently, Riverton resident Ginny Warren and Dubois resident Prudy Gustafson are organizing the kitchen. Both of the volunteers are former restaurant owners, and both are first-time volunteers for the Red Cross.

Ginny said that the opportunity to help with the Red Cross efforts is a special one for her.

“The reason this means so much to me, is because I was a recipient of the Red Cross’s generosity after Katrina, she said. “When Prudy called and said she needed help, I couldn’t get here fast enough… you get to pay things forward.”

Ginny, whose Slidell, Miss. home and business were destroyed during Katrina, said that the efforts of the Red Cross during Katrina were an enormous help to the community at that time.

Prudy, who is a long-time resident of Dubois, said that the opportunity to volunteer has been on her “bucket list”, and helping her hometown has been especially rewarding.t
Ginny Warren (left) and Prudy Gustafson discuss
 the recipes for the evening meal at the  Red Cross 
shelter in Dubois on Friday. Photo by Christine
Smith, Dubois Frontier

“I love our community,” she said. “We have been here 26 years now, seems like yesterday that we moved here.”

Prudy has a lot on her mind lately; in addition to organizing volunteers and preparing meals, she said that on Wednesday, her home received a level 2 “set” warning for evacuation.

For the past few days, Ginny and Prudy have been working to coordinate meal prep for volunteers and organize meal plans, which have been interesting for them, since they are using the wide variety of donated food from businesses in the community.

“It’s a learning-curve, trying to use someone else’s kitchen, and use the food products that have been donated,” Ginny said “It is kind of like the TV show, “Chopped”, you know, you get a basket and have to makes something out of it.”

Both Prudy and Ginny said that they are looking for volunteers to help with meal prep, cleanup and serving.

“What I’m worried about now is getting cooks, and keeping that cohesiveness in the kitchen,” Prudy said.

Shifts for breakfast and dinner meals are open for volunteers. For more information on how to help out, please contact Prudy at (307) 840-0307.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Red Cross Rallies to Support Pine Bluffs Community

Update by Bill Fortune

Pine Bluffs, WY, Friday, July 29, 2016 2 P.M. Update - Red Cross staff and volunteers continue to provide support for the people of Pine Bluffs, Wyoming who were affected by the severe storm that blew through the community Wednesday evening.

'The Ring family, whose house was affected by a hail
storm in Pine Bluffs, WY, meets with  Red Cross
client case worker Jim Lyon. Photo by
Vilate Thacker/American Red Cross
Priorities over the past 24 hours has been to assess the needs of the community and provide for those immediate needs. Close coordination continues with local emergency management and other nonprofit organizations that have offered support.

According the the Red Cross service deliver team there is a significant need for help given that approximately 90 percent of the homes in the community suffered damage from broken windows to damaged roofs to flooded basements. Many of the homes are without insurance which makes recovery even more difficult. The Red Cross has made available temporary sheltering, blankets, food and hygiene items. we have also brought in cleanup kits that have gloves, face masks and cleaning supplies.

How can you help? At this point the Red Cross and local officials are assessing the damage and determining needs We are asking people not to bring in donation items to Pine Bluffs until those needs have been established, We are working closely with local and state nonprofit organizations through the Wyoming Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (WYVOAD).

Another round of severe weather is possible this afternoon and evening in Wyoming. To stay informed about severe weather and to learn how to be better prepared download our free mobile app Emergency from redcross.org/apps. To have first aid information at your finger tips download the free Red Cross First Aid app.

If you would like to help the Red Cross respond to disasters like the one in Wyoming you can make a financial donation to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund by calling 1-800-REDCROSS or visiting our website, www.redcross.org/donate.

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Update by Bill Fortune

Pine Bluffs, WY, Thursday, July 28, 2016 - Teams of Red Cross volunteers from Colorado and Wyoming are on the way to help the people of Pine Bluffs, Wyoming who experienced the affect of a severe thunderstorm with large hail, strong winds and heavy rain, Numerous homes have been damaged and a call for Red Cross support went out shortly after the event,

Volunteers and staff are in Pine Bluffs this morning working closely with local and state resources to determine the immediate needs of the community. Red Cross priorities will be to assess the damage, determine immediate needs and then bring in the resources that are needed, A shelter supply trailer will be on scene by midday along with volunteers to support a community shelter if needed,

Red Cross clean up kits are available at the Pine Bluffs Townhall and additional supplies will be coming in through the day.

How can you help? At this point the Red Cross and local officials are assessing the damage and determining needs We are asking people not to bring in donation items to Pine Bluffs until those needs have been established, We are working closely with local and state nonprofit organizations through the Wyoming Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (WYVOAD).

Another round of severe weather is possible this afternoon and evening in Wyoming. To stay informed about severe weather and to learn how to be better prepared download our free mobile app Emergency from redcross.org/apps. To have first aid information at your finger tips download the free Red Cross First Aid app.

If you would like to help the Red Cross respond to disasters like the one in Wyoming you can make a financial donation to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund by calling 1-800-REDCROSS or visiting our website, www.redcross.org/donate.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Wyoming Wildfire Response Information

By Amanda Fry

DUBOIS, WY, Saturday, July 309, 2016 5 P.M. Update – As firefighters work to bring the Lava Creek Fire under control, the Red Cross continues to provide community support for residents in and surrounding Dubois.

The fire has currently affected over 13,000 acres, and was 20 percent contained as of Saturday, Incident Commander Kim Martin said during a community meeting held at the Dubois High School on Saturday.
Bill Werner, Site Manager for Red Cross, speaks
 to the community in Dubois, WY. Photo by Amanda Fry

The Red Cross has established an emergency shelter and disaster center at the Dubois High School to assist the community.

The personnel staffed at this facility are not only providing the resources needed for the evacuees, but also visiting with the volunteers of the community helping in the shelter to establish contacts for future needs. Information on partnering with the Red Cross is being provided as well. Volunteers from throughout Colorado and Wyoming have traveled to the location to assist at the center, and many local residents are volunteering to provide support at the center as well.

“The compassion and caring that I have seen since I’ve been here – you should truly be proud of the kind of community that you are,” Red Cross Disaster Program Manager Bill Werner said during the meeting.

The Center has showers, cots, and refreshments for evacuees and residents. Since Thursday, 512 individuals have come for community meals at the center, as well as over 600 snacks for residents and emergency responders.

Red Cross will continue to provide resources, meals, and temporary shelter for residents as needed.

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Update by Amanda Fry

DUBOIS, WY, Friday, July 29, 2016, 10 a.m. UPDATE -  As firefighters and emergency responders continue to fight the Lava Mountain Fire near Dubois, Wyoming, the Wyoming Red Cross has set up an emergency shelter and base for residents and response coordinators.

Incident Command briefs concerned people at the Dubois
High School Thursday evening. Photo by Amanda Fry
As of July 28, the fire was 5 percent contained, and had burned 12,869 acres. 766 responders are currently working to contain the blaze. No homes have been destroyed, however, around 900 individuals have had to evacuate due to eminent fire danger.

The Red Cross has established an emergency shelter and disaster center at the Dubois High School to assist the community.The emergency shelter and disaster center is located at the Dubois High School.

Red Cross Disaster Preparedness Manager Bill Werner said that the shelter offers a wide variety of services for residents.

Wyoming State Patrol Lt. Lee Pence
helps clean up after the community
dinner in Dubois, WY. Photo by
Amanda Fry, Red Cross
The organization is also assisting community members in networking to provide services for each other. Werner said that residents have stopped by the shelter to offer support for their neighbors, including providing pasture space for displaced horses and livestock.

“I know neighbors want to help neighbors, so if you can come in and offer your services, we can connect you with someone who is needing help,” he said.

In addition to providing emergency shelter and services, the Red Cross is providing meals for the community, and a venue for residents to meet with emergency management for updates on the ongoing situation.

Red Cross volunteers (in red shirts)
provide snacks and water to fire
fighters working the Lava Mountain Fire.
Photo by Amanda Fry, Red Cross
Volunteers have also been driving along fire perimeters to offer first responders refreshments.

Shoshone National Forest Supervisor Joseph Alexander said that both the community and outside resources, including the Red Cross, have been a great help during the fire, and he is “cautiously optimistic” about the current progress in containing the Lava Mountain Fire. “We have some fantastic resources,” he said. “When you combine them, I would say we are very lucky.”

Wildfire status information is available from InciWeb here.

Wildfire Safety and Preparedness information is available from the Red Cross at redcross.org/prepare.

The Red Cross offers free mobile apps that can help before, during and after a wildfire. These apps are available from any preferred app vendor. All you need to do is go to your preferred provider and search Red Cross. You may also get the apps at www.redcross.org/apps. The recommended apps are: Emergency, Wildfire and FirstAid.

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Update by Bill Fortune

Dubois, WY, Thursday, July 28, 2016, 10 A.M. Update: Support continues for the people affected by the Lava Mountain Fire.

The shelter at the old Dubois High School will move to the new Dubois High School at noon today. The new shelter location is 700 North First St., Dubois, Wyoming. All services that were available at the old location will be moved to the new location. A community dinner will be held tonight at the new shelter location where an estimated 200 meals will be served.

The Red Cross is working with local service organizations and partners to support the feeding effort associated with the Lava Mountain Fire. Overnight one person stayed at the shelter Wednesday night with several fire fighters sleeping at the facility during the day. However a much larger number of people are taking advantage of the resources available at the shelter, including food, water and fire information.

The Lava Mountain fire is one of nine active  fires burning in Wyoming and it has the highest priority in the State due to its potential impact on people and their homes. Residents are encouraged to listen to local media for the latest evacuation notices. They can also get information from the Fremont County Sheriff Office on Facebook at Fremont County Sheriff's Office - Wyoming.

Wildfire information for Wyoming is available from InciWeb here.

Wildfire Safety and Preparedness information is available from the Red Cross at redcross.org/prepare.

The Red Cross offers free mobile apps that can help before, during and after a wildfire. These apps are available from any preferred app vendor. All you need to do is go to your preferred provider and search Red Cross. You may also get the apps at www.redcross.org/appsThe recommended apps are: Emergency, Wildfire and FirstAid.

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Update by Bill Fortune

Casper, WY, Wednesday, July 27, 2016, 10 A.M. Update: The American Red Cross continues to provide support for the wildfires that are raging in Wyoming. Red Cross staff and volunteers from Colorado and Wyoming are on site working closely with local, state and federal responders.

Lava Mtn Fire, July 26, 2016. Photo courtesy InciWeb.
The evacuation shelter remains open at the old Dubois High School, 314 Helmer St., Dubois, Wyoming. Two people stayed at the shelter overnight Tuesday. Many more people have accessed the services at the shelter for food, snacks, water and, of course, wildfire information. A community meeting was held at the shelter location Tuesday evening where people received the latest information about the Lava Mountain Fire.

The Lava Mountain fire is one of nine active  fires burning in Wyoming and it has the highest priority in the State due to its potential impact on people and their homes. Residents are encouraged to listen to local media for the latest evacuation notices. They can also get information from the Fremont County Sheriff Office on Facebook at Fremont County Sheriff's Office - Wyoming.

Wildfire information for Wyoming is available from InciWeb here.

Wildfire Safety and Preparedness information is available from the Red Cross at redcross.org/prepare.

The Red Cross offers free mobile apps that can help before, during and after a wildfire. These apps are available from any preferred app vendor. All you need to do is go to your preferred provider and search Red Cross. You may also get the apps at www.redcross.org/appsThe recommended apps are: Emergency, Wildfire and FirstAid.

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Update by Bill Fortune

Cheyenne, WY, Tuesday, July 26, 2016, 2 P.M. Update - The American Red Cross continues to provide support for the wildfires raging in Wyoming. According to the Incident Information System (InciWeb)  there were nine active wildfires in Wyoming as of 8 A.m. Tuesday. Over the past several days the Red Cross has opened evacuation centers and shelters in several locations near the active fire areas.

Lava Mountain Fire smoke plume on July 21, 2016. Photo
courtesy InciWeb
Lava Mountain Fire - An evacuation shelter was opened Monday evening to support the evacuation requirements of the Union Pass residential area. The evacuation shelter was opened at the old Dubois High School, 314 Helmer St. in Dubois, WY.  One person stayed at the Dubois shelter Monday night but many more people accessed the shelter to get fire information, along with, snacks and water supplies. 

For wildfire information on InciWeb related to the Lava Mountain Fire click here.

For  wildfire preparedness and recovery information from the American Red Cross click here.

Easing the Hearts and Minds of Military Children

By Bill Fortune

Behavioral Specialist Joe Zutell works with campers
at Camp Corral. Photo by Arnett Luce/Red Cross
The excitement was everywhere. The conversations were lively. The laughter was contagious. The noise level elevated. Kids being kids and doing what kids do best; enjoying the moment and the outdoors, renewing friendships and creating new ones. Five days of non-stop fun and excitement seemingly without a care in the world.

Camp Corral, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation, offers a chance for kids to share amazing adventures in the great outdoors through archery, boating, swimming, hiking and just enjoying the fresh air and nature. It provides an opportunity for children to experience new things, make new friend, learn new skills and take risks in a safe environment. The Camp is a free summer camp for the children of wounded, disabled or fallen military members. Founded in 2011 Camp Corral has served over 6,500 children at 23 camps in 19 states.

Campers eat lunch while Red Cross facilitators prepare
for the workshop on Confident Coping. Photo by
Arnett Luce/Red Cross
This year, the American Red Cross in partnership with Camp Corral, rolled out a new Reconnection Workshop designed especially for military kids. Camp Shady Brook, a YMCA camp near Deckers, Colorado, was the first of four camps to host the workshop, Operation 10-4: Confident Coping, that teaches children essential life skills to help them better manage stressful social situation and unique challenges that they face as a military child. Certified Red Cross Behavioral Specialist presented the workshops during “cabin time” at the end of the first two days of camp.

Carol Whitlow, Behavioral Specialist works with
campers at Camp Corral on issues related to stress.
Photo by Arnett Luce/Red Cross

Betty Sullivan works with campers at Camp Corral on
issues related to family stress for military children,
Photo by Arnett Luce/Red Cross
Many times family members didn't know where the dad was going or how long he would be gone. Absences like that can be stressful to the family, especially the children. The Red Cross workshop focused on bolstering strengths that may already exist within the child. Children learn personal strengths for dealing with stress and learn the harm that can be caused by stress. They also learn how to reach out and ask for help when needed. The Red Cross will present the same workshop at three other camps this year hoping to expand to more camps in 2017.




For more information about Red Cross support for military families vist: 

For more information on Camp Corral visit: http://www.campcorral.org.