Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Charleston Strong

Red Cross Volunteers at the Unity Bridge Walk

Our hearts go out to everyone in Charleston affected by this tragedy. We are coordinating closely with authorities and we stand ready to assist however we can for as long as our services are needed. 
At the request of local and government authorities, the American Red Cross is providing snacks and water to victims’ family members at a family assistance center.

Red Cross volunteers have also been providing water, snacks, and emotional support outside of Emanuel AME Church each day since the tragedy. The Red Cross was also present at the Friday community vigil and the Unity for Peace Bridge Walk on Sunday. 

With mental health counseling and crisis intervention literature, the Red Cross pledges to help the Charleston community heal and begin to realize a future of remembrance and peace.

We thank our volunteers and the generous outpouring of donations and support from our corporate and community partners.

Just have to let you all know what a wonderful experience my children and I had last night. After days of deep sadness and confusion about the state of humanity, we were able to participate together in an amazing and emotionally moving event through community service.  

Jo Jones and Family
We have already had a couple of engaging conversations about our feelings and experiences this week. But our participation last night gives us so many more opportunities to converse with each other and with our friends and family.  It will be a heart warming memory among the difficult ones from this week that my children will carry with them and share with others for years to come.

So thank you for all you do and particularly for all you are doing during this difficult time. Not only are you making a huge difference for so many people in the Charleston community this week, but by organizing and supporting the volunteers you are giving us the opportunity to help in our community and begin to heal our broken hearts through community service.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Carolina Strong

Kimberly Shell, Ann Wright, and Marilyn Neves of the Red Cross
The American Red Cross of Upstate SC recently celebrated the Back to 30's second annual Carolina Strong Soiree, where 100% of every dollar raised went directly to the American Red Cross. Guests enjoyed a night of fun, which included a silent auction, tasting of Greenville's best in culinary creation, a Porsche preview, and celebrity meet and greets with distinguished guests such as Coach Sam Wyche and Dave Sanderson from Miracle on the Hudson.
Guests were each treated to a signature drink, complimentary beer and wine, culinary creations from Upstate's finest food venues, a special presentation by Coach Sam Wyche, a beauty bar by Salon Beverly, a preview of Porsche's latest and greatest, and a chance to win a special prize by Verizon.
It was emceed by WSPA's own Megan Heidlberg.
Guests were shuttled to the red carpet courtesy of Land Rover of Greenville.

Jim Nasim of Back to 30 with Cindy Jackson, Angela Matthews, and Ann Wright
We would like to thank our 250 guests who helped to raise $25,000 for the Red Cross. Special thanks go to our presenting sponsor, Back to 30, and our premier sponsors, Verizon, Porsche of Greenville, Core Balance, and Black Tulip. We also recognize our supporting sponsors, Charme Silkiner and Triangle Construction. The successful soiree would not have been possible without the help and support of these people, leaders, and organizations.

Coaching legend Sam Wyche
Dave Sanderson, Hero from Miracle on the Hudson

Monday, June 15, 2015

Sumter Volunteer Heather Pearson Returns from Flood-ravaged Texas with Spirits not Dampened, but Emboldened

Pins and mementos from Houston, Massachusetts, and more.
Heather Pearson's cheerful, engaging disposition would never lead one to believe that she just got off a three hour flight from Houston, Texas, where she spent the last fourteen days working at all hours to support a the recovery of a community over one thousand miles away. As a volunteer with the American Red Cross, she visited Texas flood victims and provided them with resources, referrals, and emotional support.

She described flood victims when she and her team arrived. "Their facial expressions completely changed when they saw that we were with the Red Cross," she said. "Many of them had positive experiences with the Red Cross, so they knew we were there to help. They could count on us."

This was Heather's first deployment, though she has been an active volunteer for three years. She was first introduced to Red Cross Volunteers when she served as a firefighter. To her, getting involved with the Red Cross was a result of seeing volunteers in action after home fires and researching emergency response organizations during her Masters in Emergency and Disaster Management coursework. "The Red Cross has the best record for response," she said. "I said yes to the opportunity to go to Texas and work with other volunteers. I went to make a difference, to make people smile, and to let them know the American Red Cross cares."

Pearson worked with outreach and client care while in Texas, making home visits to disaster victims. In addition to connecting with the Houston community, she discussed the camaraderie that exists between fellow Red Crossers. Many of the seasoned volunteers offered her pins from their home states as tokens of the progress they'd made in the community and their new friendships.

Heather urges others to volunteer with the Red Cross. "My experience far exceeded any expectations I had before going," she said. "Everyone should volunteer if it's possible. Even an hour could make a difference."

Heather is a volunteer with the Sandhills-Sumter office of the Central SC Chapter of the Red Cross. We thank her and our twenty-eight volunteers who represented the Palmetto SC Region following the disasters in Texas and Oklahoma.

For more information about becoming a Red Cross volunteer or email the Central SC volunteer manager Erin Tyler at

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Heroes for Fire Victims


A big thank you to Rainbow International of Charleston and President Ryan Moore for their generous support of the Heroes for Fire Victims Campaign.

Gaffney Smoke Alarm Blitz


The American Red Cross of Lowcountry SC conducted a smoke alarm blitz in Bluffton, South Carolina. The event, in partnership with Beaufort County Emergency Management, Jasper County School District, Palmetto Breeze, Department of Social Services, and the Southern Baptist Disaster Team, installed sixty new smoke alarms in the rural community.

The blitz is part of a Red Cross response to a recent spate of home fires in the Lowcountry and a continuation of the Red Cross Nationwide Fire Safety Campaign launched in October 2014. On average, our disaster-trained volunteers respond to 2-3 home fires in the state of South Carolina every day. The campaign and Wednesday's blitz aim to reduce deaths and injuries from home fires by twenty-five percent over the next five years.

"It was a great day of community spirit," noted Kimberly Shell of the Spartanburg Office. The area canvassed was rural, ensuring that community members farther away from emergency response services are adequately protected in the event of a home fire.