Story: Red Cross and service partners provide one stop shopping for clients at Multi-Agency Resource Center in Ft. Collins

July 11, 2012

 This story is written by Red Cross worker Chuck Bennett.

Since the wildfires started forcing evacuations and destroying homes in Northern Colorado on June 9th, the American Red Cross has been busy helping those in need.   Shelters were set up in Estes Park, Laporte, and Loveland.  Once it was deemed safe to return to the fire zones, Red Cross Mobile Response Vehicles delivered a large amount of cleanup supplies, water, and snacks directly to the area.  Mental Health workers and Medical staff went out in the field to deliver support and advice.  Red Cross Client Services provided outreach and continues to evaluate the individual needs of each family that requests assistance.

Clients affected by the wildfires in Northern Colorado currently can go to the Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) at235 E. Foothills Parkway, Ft. Collins.  There, they can seek assistance from the American Red Cross and many partner agencies including Adventist Community Services, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, Samaritan’s Purse, Lions Club,Timberline Church & the Fort Collins Church Network.

First a person affected by the disaster must register with the Red Cross.   Then, they can browse through a huge selection of donated items such as furniture, clothing, and dishes.  They can also request direct assistance with cleanup efforts including ash sifting and removal at their home site, housing needs, safety and wellness information, and a huge variety of other immediate disaster needs.   All these services are provided free of charge to those affected by the Colorado wildfires.

If you have not yet received services from the American Red Cross or it’s partner agencies you are encouraged call 1-800-red-cros or go to the “MARC” in Ft.Collins.   It is in the old Mervin’s building behind the Foothills Mall.  Current hours are 9AM to 6PM Mon to Sat and 12PM-6PM Sun.

Story: Red Cross forges partnership with NORAD and NORTHCOM to enhance disaster response capabilities

July 10, 2012

This story is written by Red Cross Volunteer Allen Crabtree.


“The American Red Cross actively collaborates with a number of non-governmental, faith based and private sector organizations, and military partners,” said Eric Jones, American Red Cross Disaster Officer for Disaster Readiness and Capacity Development.   “These partnerships allow us to greatly enhance and expand our joint capabilities to provide emergency relief to individuals and communities whenever and wherever disaster strikes.  We can accomplish amazing things when we work together!”

One of the Red Cross’ key partnerships is with the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM).  Jones recently met with representatives from NORAD and NORTHCOM at the American Red Cross Service Delivery Site for disaster relief in Colorado Springsto discuss with our partners how the Red Cross is responding to the Colorado wildfires and how the partnership could be implemented in future disasters.

NORAD was established in 1958 as a joint command between the governments of Canada and the United States to provide coordinated defense against Cold War threats toNorth America.  NORTHCOM was established in 2002 to coordinate defense support of civil authorities and to provide command and control of Department of Defense (DOD) homeland defense efforts.


“Partnerships and partnering are important to us,” said Captain James Terbush (MC USN) at US NORTHCOM.  He continued: “The American Red Cross is a Primary partner of the NORAD NORTHCOM Interagency Team. We value highly this relationship and look forward to close collaboration with the Red Cross for this disaster and in the future.”

“Think of this partnership as an insurance policy for disaster relief,” Jones said.  “For example, there will be future disaster situations where air space and areas is restricted and the Red Cross will need the active participation of NORTHCOM and other DoD elements to help us get our emergency relief assets on the ground.  This partnership could facilitate the needs of the Red Cross being met with military assets and aircraft.  The collaboration we build today could be of immeasurable value tomorrow.”

Captain Terbush summed his observations of the meeting with these words:  “Thanks for the terrific visit to your American Red Cross, Colo. Springs, Disaster Recovery HQs yesterday. We gained a tremendous amount of information about your response to the Colorado Wildfires and also a different perspective on the strategic workings of ARC, up and down the chain. [This is] all excellent for our situational awareness.”

“This meeting and others like it provide a forum to share agency roles and allow for networking,” said Jones.  “The more we understand our respective missions and goals, the better we will be able to manage partner expectations and foster coordination so that the Red Cross can provide disaster relief where and when it is needed most!”

Story: American Red Cross Volunteer and her Therapy Dog Support Disabled Veterans and Their Families

July 3, 2012

This story is written by Red Cross volunteer in Public Affairs Allen Crabtree.

The American Red Cross has provided support to our military and their families throughout its history as a key part of its mission to serve the American people.  No matter what time of day, any day of the year, the Red Cross quickly sends emergency communications to deployed service members on behalf of their family during a crisis, provides access to financial assistance in partnership with the military aid societies, information and referral and assistance to veterans.

There is another aspect of the Red Cross’ support to the military that is not widely known – the Red Cross partnership to make available pet therapy animals that visit military hospitals to help the healing process for disabled veterans and their families. There are thousands of active duty and retired military personnel and their families living in theColorado Springsarea, and the Red Cross has three pet therapy teams with trained Red Cross volunteers and Certified Registered Therapy Pets that work in the area.  These teams are sent to military installations, hospitals and clinics in and aroundFortCarson.

Thea Wasche has been a Red Cross volunteer for three years and is the handler and owner of Lacey, a six-year old Golden Retriever Registered Therapy Dog.   “I received Lacey when she was about two years old,” she said.  “Lacey and I have been certified by the rigorous Delta Society training program for therapy dogs, and I have been fully trained by the Red Cross.”

Wasche is a thirty-year civil servant veteran and has been around the military her entire adult life.  She now assigned to Schriever Air Force Base, so she is no stranger to the military.

“Lacey and I visit theEvansArmyCommunityHospitalatFortCarsonevery Saturday,” said Wasche.  “Lacey interacts with the disabled veterans in the patient wards.  It is wonderful to see how they react to her gentle approach and demeanor.  For many, it is the first reaching out that they have done as part of their rehabilitation program.”

Wasche and Lacey also visit outpatient clinics to support veterans receiving physical therapy and other services, and represent the Red Cross when they with the children, families and friends of fallen soldiers as part of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS).

The American Red Cross has strict training and certification requirements for all therapy pets and their handlers before they are allowed to represent the Red Cross and provide their needed humanitarian healing services to these important military programs or other Red Cross activities.


Story: Long-time Military Veteran finds a new “Family” with the American Red Cross

July 3, 2012

This story is written by Red Cross volunteer in Public Affairs Allen Crabtree.


Colonel Patricia Chappell treasures the years she spent in the US Air Force and Department of Defense.  She had a thirty-year career in Health Care and Clinical Services as a Flight Nurse and serving in several senior positions planning and coordinating DOD programs.

“We were a family, my military family, and no matter where I was stationed my family was there,” said Colonel Chappell.  “The other thing we shared was our sense of duty and dedication to our mission.  That was really a common thread that connected my colleagues and I for all the years I served.”

It is that same focus on the mission and sharing with others that attracted Colonel Chappell to volunteer with the American Red Cross.  Now retired from the Air Force, she joined the ranks of Red Cross volunteers in 2004 at the urging of a friend at the Air Force Academy near Chappell’s home inColorado Springs.  She was trained as a Disaster Action Team (DAT) member and then was promoted to DAT Captain.  “Responding to house fires at all hours of the day and night, helping to provide American Red Cross emergency relief to families who had lost their homes, was one of the most meaningful and rewarding things I’ve ever done,” said Chappell.  “The experiences I had as a DAT member ‘hooked me’ on the mission of the Red Cross.”

Since 2004 Chappell has served in many roles as part of the Red Cross disaster relief effort, and is now the Chair of the State Consortium for Disaster Services – Readiness and Response for Colorado.  She is also a volunteer Board member with the Pikes Peak Chapter of the American Red Cross, and uses her military organization and coordination skills to play a direct role in Red Cross disaster response efforts in the state.

The High Park Fire broke out nearFort Collinson June 9, scorching thousands of acres of forest and destroying hundreds of homes.  Even though her own home in the Mountain Shadow community west ofColorado Springswas threatened by another major wildfire, Chappell left and went toFort Collinson June 14 to direct the massive Red Cross disaster relief effort there.  She served in the role of job director until June 20, and continues as the deputy job director as Red Cross disaster relief efforts continue to support those impacted by this natural tragedy.

“I have been very fortunate,” said Chappell.  “I have learned that my home escaped the fire that swept through the Mountain Shadow Community, and I will be able to return to it once it is safe to do so.  In the meantime, however, the Red Cross and I have an important job to do here inFort Collins.”

The American Red Cross is fortunate to have dedicated, trained and experienced military veterans just like Colonel Chappell to help carry out the mission of helping others in their times of need.  The Red Cross is indebted to all of our military veterans and thanks them on this July 4th Independence Day.

Press Release: Colorado Red Cross Responding to Multiple Incidents, Setting up 2 Evacuation Points

March 21, 2011

Colorado Red Cross Responding to Multiple Incidents, Setting up 2 Evacuation Points

March 21, 2011 – The American Red Cross Mile High Chapter has opened two separate evacuation points in response to simultaneous fires in Jefferson County; meanwhile, the Red Cross is also responding to a house fire in Aurora.

The evacuation points are:

Evergreen High School – for evacuees of the Evergreen Fire, to be staffed and open by 4:30 p.m.

First United Methodist Church, 1500 Ford St. in Golden – for evacuees of the Indian Gulch fire; be staffed and open by 4:30 p.m.

A Disaster Action Team is also responding to a single family house fire on North Scranton St. in Aurora. One person estimated displaced.

More information will be released as it becomes available.

Disaster Alert: Blizzard in Colorado

November 17, 2010

Disaster Alert

Colorado – Blizzard conditions in Grand County caused accidents, road closures and stranded dozens of travelers.

The Mile High Chapter opened a shelter at the request of Grand County Emergency Management with overnight residents.

Chapter will continue to monitor the situation and provide assistance as needed.

Press Release: November Disasters Keeps Red Cross in Denver Busy

November 16, 2010

Red Cross has responded to 14 disasters in first half of November

Denver, CO – The American Red Cross Mile High Chapter has responded to nearly a disaster a day during the first two weeks of November – and although the Red Cross typically sees an uptick in home fires during the cold winter months, this month’s responses have included a spate of disasters, such as:

A hazmat incident that required the set-up of an evacuation center for a Commerce City neighborhood
A multi-unit apartment fire that displaced 55 residents in Aurora
A gas explosion in a 4-unit townhome in Lakewood
A 34-car pile-up yesterday on I-25

Since Nov. 1, the Chapter has responded to 14 different disasters – including two late last night.

“These bursts of activity are not unusual in the disaster world, but they highlight why we place such an emphasis on our own preparedness – we work year-round to line up supplies and trained volunteers so that we can handle multiple disasters in a row,” said Disaster Response Director Elizabeth DiPaolo.

Last year, the Mile High Chapter responded to more than a fire a day during the first weeks of December; this month’s disaster blast has Red Cross workers wondering whether 2010 will prove even busier than 2009.

“The scary thing is that we haven’t yet reached the busiest part of our fire season,” DiPaolo said. “We’re still a few weeks away from the holiday-related fires that start around Thanksgiving and continue into early January.”

The Red Cross Mile High Chapter provides disaster response, preparedness and health and safety services in 19 Colorado counties. The Red Cross is seeking donations during its annual Holiday giving campaign in order to fund these ongoing operations. Visit for more information.


Photos: Colorado Wildfires

September 16, 2010

288 LR

231 LR 207 LR 239 LR 147 LR 92 LR 119 LR 71 LR

View all photos by American Red Cross Mile High Chapter on Flickr >>

Press Release: Red Cross closes Loveland shelter, continues client casework

September 16, 2010

Red Cross closes Loveland shelter, continues client casework

Red Cross served nearly 2,500 meals & 3,100 snacks, registered 145 at shelters, has opened 202 client cases

[Sept. 16, 2010] – The American Red Cross Northern Colorado has closed its shelter at the Church at Loveland, which was serving evacuees of the Reservoir Road Fire. The Northern Colorado Chapter and Mile High Chapter continue to help residents affected by the Reservoir Road and Fourmile Canyon Fires via individual casework and assistance.

Disaster Assessment teams have been canvassing the Fourmile Canyon Fire-affected area to assess damages and reach out to residents, some who were unaware of the assistance available to them and others who had just learned of their losses. Outreach teams also went into the field to deliver items such as water, clean-up kits, gloves, masks and recovery backpacks.

Meanwhile, the Red Cross has initiated an estimated 200 cases serving nearly 300 people affected by the fires. During the recovery phase, Red Cross workers assess the losses and needs of each client individually, provide emergency financial assistance to qualified clients, help connect them with additional resources, and help them form a plan to get back on their feet.


Total Shelter registrations: 145
Overnight stays: 102
Meals served: 2,476
Snacks served: 3,119
Vehicles providing mobile feeding: 6
Clean-up kits distributed: 28
Comfort kits distributed: 185
Bulk items (shovels, gloves, masks) distributed: 52
Volunteers & staff working disaster: 146
Estimated total client cases: 202
Clients served in cases: 292

People who want to help support this and other local Red Cross disaster relief operations can now donate by texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. They can also donate online at

Press Release: Red Cross to close Boulder wildfire shelter at YMCA on Monday at 2 p.m.

September 13, 2010

Red Cross to close Boulder wildfire shelter at YMCA on Monday at 2 p.m.

September 12, 2010 – Red Cross transitions to recovery phase in Boulder County; opens new shelter in response to Loveland-area fire

At 2 p.m., Monday, Sept. 13, the American Red Cross Mile High Chapter will close its shelter serving evacuees of the Fourmile Canyon Wildfire. The Red Cross will continue to serve the needs of the wildfire-affected residents via individual client casework currently being delivered at a coordinated victim assistance center at 3482 N. Broadway in Boulder.

Shelter residents and other clients accessing the shelter, located at the Boulder YMCA at 2850 Mapleton, have been informed of the impending closure. Red Cross caseworkers have been working with the shelter residents and other evacuees to open individual cases so that the Red Cross can help transition residents into recovery.

During the recovery phase, Red Cross workers assess the losses and needs of each client individually, provide emergency financial assistance to qualified clients, help connect them with additional resources, and help them form a plan to get back on their feet.

People who want to help support this and other local Red Cross disaster relief operations can now donate by texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. They can also donate online at

The Red Cross has sheltered an average of 15 people per night since the fire broke out on Sept. 6 and has provided food, comfort kits, information, and other assistance to an additional 40-60 fire evacuees per day. Additionally, the Red Cross has been collaborating with non-profit and governmental partners to provide food and snacks to firefighters and to coordinate aid resources.

Northern Colorado Red Cross opens shelter in response to fire near Loveland

As the Red Cross Mile High Chapter is transitioning into recovery phase for the Fourmile Canyon Fire, the Northern Colorado Red Cross is ramping up its response to a fire that broke out near Loveland today.

The Red Cross opened a shelter at The Church at Loveland, 3835 14th St. SW, Loveland, today to assist evacuees of the Flatiron Reservoir fire. As of 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 12, 47 evacuees had checked in at the shelter. More details will be posted at when it becomes available.


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