STORY: A Presidential Referral

December 4, 2012

Story by Adrian Brune and Jeramie Williams

QUEENS, N.Y., December 4, 2012 – Presidents seldom offer life advice to their staff, but when then airman Doug Scarlett, a cook for Air Force One, needed something to do in his spare time, President Lyndon Johnson suggested he go see the Red Cross.

And since 1965, the Red Cross is the place where Scarlett has volunteered, beginning with first aid instruction in the Washington, DC, chapter, and subsequently supervising kitchens at more than 51 disaster sites across the country. Since the first days following Hurricane Sandy’s landfall on October 29th, Scarlett had been overseeing kitchens across the Tri-State area, first serving hot meals to clients in New Jersey and now helping Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs) bring meals and supplies to people in the Rockaways.

“We didn’t fly that much back then – the Cold War was on – but I saw what the Red Cross was doing and got more and more involved,” said Scarlett, the former chapter executive of the American Red Cross Cumberland County (TN) chapter and a volunteer member of the chapter’s board of directors. “My initial role on Air Force One was to please the president” – then an honorary chairman of the American Red Cross who declared March 1965 national Red Cross Month.

“Now, I just get the food out, and it’s been a lot of food.” The Red Cross kitchen in Jersey City, New Jersey was built for 30,000 meals per day and in the beginning, Red Cross and Southern Baptist Convention volunteers were turning out 41,000.

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Earthquake in Haiti: Gail McGovern Remarks

January 21, 2010

Good morning. I was in Haiti on Tuesday and I can tell you that this is a devastating disaster with widespread extensive damage. Many buildings are pancaked flat, the streets are filled with rubble and people. The infrastructure of the country is in severely damaged – airports, ports and roads – making it very difficult to get aid in.

It was one of the most frustrating things I’ve ever seen in my life.

But there are glimmers of progress. Despite all of these logjams and bottlenecks, things are getting through. But it’s slow. The pipeline of getting materials into Haiti was a straw only a few days ago, and now it’s a garden hose, but we need it to become a fire hose.

Even with the challenges, we are truly making a difference.

I saw American Red Cross staff, armed with first aid kits, going out to treat people. They have a truck and a door that they were using as a stretcher, and they were taking injured to a field hospital run by Red Cross.  Every time a Red Cross truck would go through the streets, the people would clear the way to let it pass.

The American Red Cross is in Haiti as part of the broader and coordinated Red Cross and Red Crescent network. We all have our roles; we all have our expertise, and we’re all working together. That is a very powerful engine for relief.

But what struck me most were the people of Haiti. In the area we visited, several hundred families were living under makeshift tents of sheets, blankets, plastic – anything they could drape over something for a little shelter

They were patient, not pushing for water or food. But they need our help.

I feel like I left a piece of my heart in Haiti, and please know that the Red Cross is going to do whatever we can to help the people of Haiti, both in the short term but also as part of what we know will be a vast and long-term recovery for this nation and its people.

Video: American Red Cross President Gail McGovern in Haiti

January 21, 2010

Photos: Earthquake in Haiti

January 20, 2010

Please click through for caption and courtesy information.

All American Red Cross photos from Haiti

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Earthquake in Haiti: Update #32 (President and CEO of American Red Cross in Haiti today)

January 19, 2010

American Red Cross President and CEO Gail McGovern is on the ground in Haiti visiting relief operations and helping to coordinate the distribution of aid.

  • She is meeting with Haitian Red Cross President Gedeon and will visit a first aid post, outside the damaged American Red Cross headquarters, one of 11 mobile posts where volunteers are working to treat wounded survivors. She will also visit a Red Cross relief distribution center where family kits, water and shelter supplies are being organized and given to survivors.
  • Later today, McGovern will meet with the Haitian government, as a follow up to her visit yesterday with Red Cross leaders from around the world and heads of state of other nations, to help coordinate the global response effort.
  • There are more than 400 Red Cross workers from around the world in Haiti as well as thousands of local volunteers.
  • McGovern also talked today with USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, and yesterday, American Red Cross Chairman Bonnie McElveen-Hunter welcomed President and Mrs. Obama on their visit to Red Cross disaster operations center in Washington, D.C.

President Obama and First Lady visit Disaster Operations Center

January 18, 2010

The President and First Lady visited our Disaster Operations Center in Washington, DC this afternoon.

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama Visit the Disaster Operations Center

More photos


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