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Guests Cruise for a Cause

The featured speaker was the commander responsible for coordinating military relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina.

SANTA ANA, Calif. – More than 60 people set out for a Red Cross fundraiser aboard Bill and Sue Johnson's 100-foot yacht in Newport Harbor this week. Appropriately for Fat Tuesday, the featured speaker was retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, best known as the commander responsible for coordinating military relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina. Known as the "The Ragin' Cajun" and the John Wayne of the relief effort for his no-nonsense, effective approach to coming to the rescue of thousands of hurricane victims, the retired general now spends much of his time traveling the country speaking on behalf of local Red Cross efforts and disaster preparedness.

The weather was perfect and the sunset beautiful as guests enjoyed tray-passed hors d’ oeuvres, cocktails and a scrumptious buffet dinner while cruising for a cause and learning about the vital services provided by the local American Red Cross. The highlight of the evening was hearing Honoré’s comments and stories from his amazing life. He encouraged guests to be as generous as possible in their support of the Red Cross as he has devoted the second part of his life to a culture of preparedness. The general is a CNN contributor and is also the author of Survival: How Being Prepared Can Keep You and Your Family Safe.

Bill Johnson, who owns Johnson Machinery in Riverside County, noted that, as a businessman, he looks for the biggest bang for his philanthropic buck, and that the Red Cross has one of the best records for use of donors' dollars, with more than 91 cents of every dollar going to direct aid. Stanley Perdue, Regional CEO of the Red Cross in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, noted that big disasters often pull in the big donations, but that support for local efforts is just as necessary: "Red Cross staffers and our dedicated army of volunteers are out in our communities literally every day, coming to the aid of victims of fires, teaching first aid and disaster preparedness, and serving to help military service men and women communicate with family members."

For more information on your local American Red Cross, please visit or call the regional office at (714) 481-5300.

Help people affected by disasters by donating to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. On those rare occasions when donations exceed Red Cross expenses for a specific disaster, contributions are used to prepare for and serve victims of other disasters. Your gift enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of all disasters. Call (714) 481-5300 or 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Contributions may be sent to the American Red Cross, 601 North Golden Circle Drive, Santa Ana, CA 92705. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting For more updates on the American Red Cross in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, follow us on Twitter at .