Will You Be Mine?

valentinedayblogphotoI want to stand on the roof top and shout it: We love you, donors! Because of you, disaster assistance is free. Because of you, families divided are reunited. Because of you, trauma patients don’t need to wait, or wonder if there will be enough blood—there will be, because you gave it.

You give from your hearts, from your belief in our mission, and from your trust in the Red Cross to be ready and to be there—in a moment’s notice—whenever and wherever disaster strikes. Thank you!

We love you because, with your generosity, you are there beside us: giving back what fire takes, reconnecting military families after deployment, making sure the nation’s blood supply never falls short. Together with you, we help the people of Minnesota, the United States, and the entire world every day.

Thank you for your compassion. Thank you for your generosity. Thank you for your trust. Thank you for helping us to always be ready. We do—we love you!

And if you ever have questions about your giving experience, or if I may be of service, please call or email me anytime—I am here and happy to help.

Amanda Hedlund, Stewardship Officer, American Red Cross Minnesota Region
Reach me at 612-872-3246 or amanda.hedlund@redcross.org

Give to the Max Day — November 13, 2014

Photo credit: Lynette Nyman/American Red Cross
Photo credit: Lynette Nyman/American Red Cross

On November 13, GiveMN.Org will host its annual 24-hour give-a-thon to ignite generosity in Minnesota. This amazing day supports the work that hundreds of non-profit organizations are doing across our state every day. This includes the American Red Cross.

For a family who loses everything, there is no such thing as a small disaster. From home fires to tornadoes, winter storms to health emergencies, the Red Cross is there for all Minnesotans with help, hope and a warm hug. And we are there for them with you beside us.

Last year, local giving to the Minnesota Region of the American Red Cross enabled us to respond to more than 600 emergencies, assist more than 850 families, teach CPR and other lifesaving skills to nearly 80,000 individuals, and provide other valuable services that helped change lives and make our communities safer.

On Give to the Max Day, November 13, 2014, show your support for the Red Cross and its important work in Minnesota. Help us be there, for you and for your neighbors, in times of need. Schedule your gift now.

Thank you.

Tiffany Circle Spring Fashion Social

Story by Jill Michaelree/American Red Cross

Happy for the promise of spring and social respite from this lion of a winter, 50 cheerful ladies gathered on a recent Saturday at Macy’s in downtown Minneapolis to attend the Tiffany Circle Spring Fashion Social. This brunch featured a spring fashion preview curated by experts from Macy’s by Appointment, makeup tutorials from Chanel on making the “Perfect Red (Cross) Lip” and a look at Red Cross women leaders throughout history.

For these Red Cross philanthropists and their guests, the surprise bonus models, decked out in vintage Red Cross uniforms, were the highlight of the day. These amazing volunteers donned historic garments from the 1920’s-1950’s that were donated by Minnesotans whose mothers and grandmothers served during times of peace and in war.

Katherine with Dee and Barb
Photo credit: Katie Kusnierek/American Red Cross

Volunteer model Katherine Lewiston (above center) shows Barbara Gauhan (left) and Dee Rasmussen (right) her Viet Nam-era summer suit and garrison cap. This style was worn by young women who served in the American Red Cross Supplemental Recreation Overseas program during the Vietnam War. Also known as “Donut Dollies,” these college-educated women served one-year tours intended to boost troop morale.

sharpened Cyndi and Carla with poster and vintage gals
Photo credit: Megan Dulgar/American Red Cross

Models Jacinta Lagasse (above, far left) and Amanda Burgdorf (far right) join Tiffany Circle Co-Chairs Cyndi Lesher (center right) and Carla Paulson (center left) around a wartime recruitment poster.

During World War I, American Red Cross volunteer services faced rapid expansion. To delineate the lines of service, the Red Cross employed a color coding system for the uniforms and service pins. Jacinta’s gray, crepe dress denotes her as a non-medical hospital volunteer in the “Gray Lady Service.”

Amanda is wearing a Volunteer Administrative dress from the Second World War. The American Red Cross enrolled more than 104,000 nurses for service, prepared 27  million packages for American and Allied prisoners of war, and shipped over 300,000 tons of supplies overseas. At the military’s request, the Red Cross also initiated a national blood program that collected 13.3 million pints of blood for use by the armed forces.

Like the women who wore these dresses in the 20th Century, thousands of volunteers throughout American Red Cross history have served our country. In honor of Volunteer Appreciation Week, we’d like to thank our volunteers and the Tiffany Circle Members for their dedication to making the Spring Fashion Social and all American Red Cross efforts successful. It is an honor to work with such caring individuals who continually dedicate their time and efforts to alleviating human suffering in the face of emergencies.

The women of the Tiffany Circle invest $10,000 annually in their local American Red Cross chapters, following in the footsteps of a long line of women leaders who have helped the Red Cross serve the American public in times of war and peace with disaster assistance, blood collection, safety training and countless other community assistance services. For more information about the Tiffany Circle, contact Megan Dulgar at megan.dulgar@redcross.org or 612.872.3246. 


We never know

Story and photo by Carrie Carlson-Guest, American Red Cross

Tiet Nguyen and Mike Schroeder
Tiet Nguyen (r) gives a $3,000 donation to Mike Schroeder, a Major Gifts Officer with the American Red Cross, to help those affected by Typhoon Haiyan.

In November, the day before Thanksgiving, a kindly cabinetmaker named Tiet Nguyen came to our local Red Cross office in Minneapolis to help those affected by the recent typhoon in the Philippines. When asked why he brought the check  in personally, he said he wanted to hand it to someone –not just put it in the mail– and to share his story.

Tiet and his family escaped Viet Nam 1989 after his brothers and father were killed fighting with the Americans against communism. Fleeing for their lives on a small, wooden boat with more than 70 people, Tiet and his family were shot at for hours as they escaped out to sea. After 10 days with very little food and water, they were rescued by a Filipino fisherman, who took them to the island where he lived. Tiet said, “The people so poor – they have no clothes, but so nice, so nice and kind. They gave us everything.”

He and his family stayed in the Philippines for years and survived even more disasters, including a volcano eruption in ’91 and subsequent deadly mudslides. Remembering the details, he said his oldest son Rung was still in a cradle. Tears welled up in his eyes as he recalled all those lost in the devastation. “The Red Cross was there – they were always there,” said Tiet, “They are always there when anything happens.”

Eventually, Tiet and his family moved to Minnesota to connect with family. They had another son and Tiet built a cabinet-making business with skills he learned in Viet Nam. Today, he and his wife, Hanh Le live in Coon Rapids. One son recently graduated from Hamline and the other is currently a student at Creighton University in Omaha. When he heard the Red Cross was helping those who had helped him and his family so many years ago, he knew he had to help. He collected donations from friends and family, including his sons, and then he and his wife matched it. “Your sons must have gotten you and your wife’s heart,” I commented. He laughs, smiles and cries at the same time, beaming like a proud papa.

“This is what I do, because of what you do – give a little bit of myself to help. I’ve been there, I know. You helped me and my family and who knows when I might need help again, we never know,” says Tiet.

Tiet shared a check for $3,000. Three thousand inspired, connected, paid forward dollars to help those in need. Because, as Tiet said, we never know. We never know when disasters will strike, we never know when it will affect us or someone we love, we never know what tomorrow will bring. But we – and Tiet – know what we can do, we can help now.

Click here to learn about how you can support the Red Cross and its humanitarian mission. 

Star Bank shines on Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes

The American Red Cross collected holiday cards throughout the past several weeks for distribution on military bases and hospitals, veterans’ hospitals and other locations in the U.S. and abroad.  More than a million cards were collected this year, bringing the total for Holiday Mail for Heroes to about 4.5 million cards during the past five years. One of the program’s strongest supporters is Star Bank in Eden Prairie. Katie Incantalupo explains why…

Katie Incantalupo (left) and service members helped collect more than 19,000 cards for the 2011 Holiday Mail for Heroes program. Photo courtesy of Star Bank.

The leaders of Star Bank, including both President and CEO Harry Wahlquist and I, have a strong commitment to the mission of the American Red Cross to provide relief to victims of disaster and to help people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies.

We’ve been hosting quarterly blood drives at Star Bank in partnership with North Central Blood Services for about 12 months. Harry is a longtime Red Cross Board Member and I’m a Lifetime Member of the Tiffany Circle Society of Women Leaders within the Red Cross. I was elected to be a member of the National Council for Tiffany Circle in 2010, and my participation in that governing body brought forth the opportunity for me to lead the Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign on a national level for the 2011 holiday season.

Katie Incantalupo (right) and Elena Luca (left), sign Holiday Mail for Heroes cards in Washington, DC. Photo by Dennis Drenner/American Red Cross

I have spoken with many service men and women over the past four months about the Holiday Mail campaign and have heard wonderful stories about how much it means to receive a card when you are serving away from home over the holidays. The card campaign makes a real difference in our service members’ lives. Star Bank hosted a card signing event that was well attended by members of the community, including several local “celebs.” I’m so excited that more than 19,000 holiday cards were signed in Minnesota alone this year!

Katie Incantalupo gets ready to donate blood. Photo courtesy of Star Bank.

It has been an honor to assist the Red Cross in growing awareness and participation on behalf of Holiday Mail for Heroes and I’m thankful that I’ve been able to serve the organization in this way, both personally and professionally.

Katie Incantalupo is a Red Cross volunteer and the Director of Marketing for Star Bank in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. The mailbox for the 2011 Holiday Mail for Heroes program is now closed, but Americans wanting to help military members, veterans and their families can visit the Red Cross holiday giving catalog and click on “Help Our Troops.” The online catalog offers symbolic donations to help provide members of the Armed Forces with phone cards and comfort kits as well as assist homeless veterans, among many other options.

Generosity Abounds in Minnesota

Red Cross responder Carrie Carlson-Guest helped promote Give to the Max Day at a giveMN.org event.

We’re not surprised by your generosity even though others around the country might be. Minnesotans have long been givers–of time, wisdom, and money. This was no exception during the 2011 Give to the Max Day.

The American Red Cross in Minnesota ranked 35 out of nearly 4000 and made the Top 100 leader board. YOU donated more than $35,000 to support our mission to provide humanitarian relief during disaster and to help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies.

And so we extend our appreciation most heartily during this season of giving thanks. We can also say without a doubt that the beneficiaries of your generosity are incredibly grateful as well.

If you missed Give to the Max Day, you can still share with others. Check out our 2011 Holiday Giving Catalog.

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