Signing off

After nine years of wearing my Red Cross gear, I will be leaving the organization for a new career adventure.  It is hard to leave a place like the Red Cross with a mission that I believe in and people I love, but, oddly enough, it is really hard to leave this blog. Five years ago, we decided to start it, and hundreds of posts and one redesign later, we are reaching thousands with our quirky take on Red Cross services and safety.  Not too shabby for a little blog out of central Illinois.

Even though I will be exiting stage left, the blog will continue to live on… Because the remaining bloggers still firmly believe that we need to keep on “Saving the World… For Real”.

Thanks to all of you for your readership, and hey, you can’t say we didn’t have fun!

Stay safe, buckle up

Did you know November is Click It or Ticket Month?  One of the main things you can do to be safe while in your vehicle:  WEAR YOUR SEATBELT – it saves thousands of lives each year!

During the 2013 Thanksgiving holiday weekend in Illinois, 7 people lost their lives and 723 motorists were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes—3 of those deaths involved alcohol.

Late night hours are the most dangerous driving hours when the highest percentage of motorists die in alcohol-involved crashes and seat belt usage is the lowest.

Surviving your Thanksgiving drive this year – and making it to next Thanksgiving – can be as simple as buckling up.  In the last decade, seat belts saved the lives of more than 100,000 people in the United States.  Those people are thankful they wore their seat belts.  Won’t you wear yours? Read the rest of this entry

A Night in the Life of a Red Cross Volunteer

I believe that this is true…

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So when I saw the following on, I wanted to share it with you.

Every night in America, while most of us are sleeping, American Red Cross disaster volunteers are standing on the lawn of someone who has just lost their home and everything they own in a fire. Our volunteers give them a warm blanket, a hot cup of coffee, a place to stay for the night and a plan to help them get back on their feet.

A Night in the Life of Our Disaster Volunteers

The Red Cross responds to help a family affected by a home fire every 8 minutes. Follow the typical journey of our disaster volunteers as they respond to a home fire:

1:10 a.m. A Red Cross disaster volunteer receives a call from the local Fire Department that there has been a home fire in their community. She quickly gets up, gets dressed and calls another volunteer to meet her at the location of the home fire. Read the rest of this entry

“This doesn’t happen here.”

“This doesn’t happen here”, is a phrase I found myself saying all the time during the latter part of November 2013.  Full disclosure – Before that time, whenever I would hear someone say that on TV, I fought the urge to roll my eyes.  I mean, come on… clearly, “things like that” do happen in your area because it did! But after November 17, 2013, I understood where that phrase came from.  Sometimes when we think we are safe and know what to expect at a certain time of year, Mother Nature can put a damper on your fantasy — and it just puts you in a temporary state of shock.  As a lifelong Central Illinois girl, an EF-4 tornado tearing through here in November definitely did that to me.

I think back on that Sunday, and I have to chuckle at what my concerns were that morning.  My biggest worry was getting to the grocery store and back before it rained.  Silly, right? For the record, I made it, but as I was putting away groceries, my Red Cross tornado app went off.  I looked out the windows of my kitchen in Morton and the sky looked terrible.  A mix of black and green, and the air seemed so thick and still.  My son, boyfriend, cat and I rode out the storm in the basement, and truly I thought, “Well, I am a good Red Crosser. App goes off, you take cover… it won’t be a big deal. It is November in Illinois. It isn’t tornado season”. But we all know now how wrong I was – tornadoes apparently don’t pay attention to the calendar.

You can imagine how scary my view of the sky was

You can imagine how scary my view of the sky was

Read the rest of this entry

I would rather be…

It is downright cold today, and our extended forecast doesn’t look much better…

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Yeah, not a lot of fun. I would rather be in my polar fleece pj pants, under a blanket and nestled up with my cat, but alas I am not.  I asked a few people what they would rather be doing today, and here is what they said… Read the rest of this entry

Visions of Concealer Dancing in My Head


I decided to reshare this today because not only am I feeling very “un-Disney” today, but also because I was surprised at the holiday decorations before Thanksgiving all over again. (You would think I would eventually know it was coming.)

Originally posted on Saving the world… For real!:

Maybe it’s the time change, or maybe I am just sleeping better since I flipped my mattress, but this morning I woke up refreshed and ready to go.  I kinda felt like Cinderella with the birds in the morning, only not so musical. I quickly decided that today would be a perfect day to get to work early before anyone else got there.  Oh the things I could get done!

So after one swig of coffee, I was ready to roll…

  • Shower… Check!
  • Breakfast… Check!
  • Hair… Check!
  • Makeup… NOOOOO!

My concealer was out. Maybe I could just SQUEEZE out a few drops to get me by for the day?


View original 447 more words

My Red Cross IHL Experience in Action Alley

This post comes from Shannon Vance, Bradley University student and Red Cross International Humanitarian Law Action Campaign Team Member.

If you ever want to have your art skills tested, apply to present at a conference. Suddenly all those years of coloring outside the lines and avoiding the art studio are coming back to haunt you. I’m only kidding of course, but this is house I felt when I realized two months later I would be presenting on Child Soldiers at the Midwest Regional Conference for Amnesty International.

Let me back up. The International Humanitarian Law Action Campaign (associated with the American Red Cross) on Bradley’s campus started last fall and created a simulation on child soldiers the spring I was in Denmark. This simulation reached hundreds of students and was nationally recognized by National Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Bradley students stood among the few schools that were recognized at a conference in early June where they had the chance to present their activity. August comes around and two of my fellow team members and I were approached to present our campaign’s success at this Amnesty International conference. All I was thinking was “This is going to be so cool! An Amnesty International conference!!” In other words, I was geeking out. Read the rest of this entry

Spooky Tales: Around Central Illinois

For the final entry of Spooky Tales, here are a few places that are reportedly haunted around central Illinois according to   Enjoy and have a safe and happy Halloween!

Decatur, IL – The Lincoln

This historic 1916 theater building was built atop the fire-ravaged Priest Hotel that once stood here. It is said that the ghosts of the fire victims still linger in the theater. Red, a former theater worker, is a friendly ghost here. Witnesses have heard his whispers, seen his shadowy form, and caught glimpses of him walking about the stage area. A female ghost has been reported here as well.

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 2.50.08 PM Read the rest of this entry

Spooky Tales: Haunted Chapters

We like to joke that our chapter in Peoria is haunted, as evident through our completely goofy/lame Halloween movies each year, but some chapters are reportedly haunted for real.

Anaheim, CA

The former caretaker is said to haunt this historic Red Cross house in Anaheim. I guess people feel uncomfortable in the room where the children lived and the eyes of a portrait are said to follow you.  Also, according to legend, when a man and a woman walk up the steps to the second floor, the ghost of the house’s original caretaker will push them together if he considers them to be a perfect couple.

Red Cross House (Historically the Residence of John G. Woelke)

Red Cross House (Historically the Residence of John G. Woelke)

Read the rest of this entry

Spooky Tales: Red Cross Nurse Ghost

This week’s tale comes from

“This story takes place in Hollywood, Florida in 1982. It is a true a story, so help me. When my parents moved us from Homestead, Florida to Hollywood in 1971, they sold my grandmother’s trailer and had her move in with us. I had a back bedroom and used a waterbed. My parents took apart my bunk bed and turned it into two separate beds and set them up in one of the front bedrooms. This is the room my grandma took. Less then a year later, she told us she was going to lie down for a bit before dinner. When my mother went to wake her, she had passed on, peacefully sleeping on the bed. Read the rest of this entry


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