One for the money, two for the show

Three to get ready, now go cat go! His shoes weren’t blue or suede, but we were delighted to have Elvis on hand for the 2011 Run for Blood Quarter Marathon & 5K.

Elvis kicked of this year's Run for Blood, helping support the Red Cross. Photo credit: William Kahn/American Red Cross

More than 460 people raced around Lake Harriet in Minneapolis, helping to raise more than $10K for the Red Cross and its humanitarian mission to help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies.

Thank you to Mr. Luther Hagen, event founder and all around booster for the Red Cross, and to everyone who helped make this event a great success.

Congratulations!

Not Stopping Anytime Soon

By Grace Thompson, American Red Cross Twin Cities Area Chapter

For many, it’s hard to remember the hot days of the Minnesota State Fair this time of year, but for Muriel Olson the smell of corn dogs and the sounds of the “great Minnesota get together” are vivid as she reflects upon her last 50 years of service with the American Red Cross.

Muriel’s story began in 1956 when she was asked by her school’s nursing program director to volunteer for the American Red Cross booth at the state fair. “It was minimal work, washing people’s feet and dressing blisters.”

Muriel Olson has been a Red Cross volunteer for 50 years.

Little did she know, this agreement would begin a remarkable span of years sharing her time and talent with the American Red Cross, for which she was recognized this past year with a 50-year service pin.

“I didn’t really choose [volunteering for the American Red Cross], it kind of just happened and it never stopped. I don’t plan on it stopping anytime soon!”

As a recent volunteer with the American Red Cross (or as Muriel might call me, a “newbie”) I was both honored and excited by the chance to interview the Red Cross veteran. I naturally had all kinds of questions I wanted to ask her—such as how many disasters have you responded to (“too many to count”), why do you continue to volunteer (“because I love helping people”), and was there any experience that was particularly meaningful for you (“the embrace of a family member who suffered the loss of their home to a fire”).

She kindly replied to all of my questions and also offered three nuggets of wisdom I’m excited to pass along:

1.    “Be passionate about helping people”
To Muriel, this is the most important quality of a Red Cross Volunteer. The reason why the American Red Cross makes a difference is because its volunteers show compassion to every person, regardless of who they are or what his or her circumstances may be. “Even if it is a single-family fire, it’s a disaster to them. Sometimes they just need people to help them- whether it be filling out paperwork, or sitting with them.”

2.    “Be willing to adapt to changes”
Muriel enthusiastically expanded upon this, “if there is one thing I can tell you, volunteering with the American Red Cross will never be boring! There is always something new to learn or some challenges to overcome… you are responding to disasters, disasters by nature are never planned.” According to Muriel, the power of the American Red Cross is its ability to offer relief in the midst of uncertainly.

3.    “Be ready to work as a team, and to make life-long friends.”
Muriel attributes much of her achievement to the supportive Red Cross community. “I have been able to volunteer and remain positive throughout these last 50 years because of he wonderful friends I have made. The American Red Cross is filled with people of every skill and generation.” This diversity is seen in the classroom where Muriel teaches Disaster Medical Assistance to the “next generation” of Red Cross volunteers. For Muriel, the opportunity to see young volunteers dedicate their time and skills gives her hope for the future of the American Red Cross. “It is a volunteer run organization, without these newbies…[and] without this community, we wouldn’t have a Red Cross.”

In many ways, Muriel’s first actions as an American Red Cross volunteer are symbolic of her continued benevolence over these past 50 years. It’s because of people like Muriel that the American Red Cross, a volunteer-led organization, continues to make an inspiring impact on the world. The Red Cross is grateful for Muriel’s years of service and Muriel hopes her story encourages others to, in turn, “use their skills and talents to help people.”

Click here to learn more about becoming a Red Cross volunteer.

Practice Makes Prepared for Red Cross NAT Students

Our Nurse Assistant Training students are buzzing around the American Red Cross Twin Cities Area Chapter these days demonstrating their skills before clinical practice. There’s a ton-o-stuff they need to have down so that their future patients will be well cared for!Click here to learn more about our Nurse Assistant Training (NAT) program and the upcoming class schedule.

Red Cross Hope

The Red Cross in the Twin Cities is among the first in the country to open Stores of Hope this holiday season. In the Minneapolis and St. Paul metro area, we have two locations opening Friday, November 26: Eden Prairie Center and Ridgedale Center.

Caring Enough To Send A Card

The American Red Cross expects to receive and distribute more than one million holiday cards to military veterans and those serving in the armed forces.

Cari McCollor is one of our heroes!

Here in the Twin Cities we’re helping to make this happen with the assistance of Cari McCollor. A veteran who served in the U.S. Army and the National Guard, McCollor understands the importance of sending holiday wishes.

“It’s hard to remember family and friends when you’re sitting somewhere in a field far away from home,” says McCollor. “Getting a card lets the service member know that someone cares enough to write and send a card.”

McCollor expects to distribute holiday mail to approximately 20 sites, ranging from veterans homes and adult day centers to army reserve and national guard units, throughout the greater Minneapolis and St. Paul metropolitan area.

Cards must be postmarked by December 10. Click here to learn more.

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