SEPA Chapter Assists with Isaac and other National Responses

five red cross staff stand in front of sepa chapter house in philadelphia after being deployed all over the nation
“I miss everyone at our Southeastern, PA chapter, but I am proud to represent the Philadelphia area.”- Danelle Stoppel

The American Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania was once again called into assist with a national disaster. 27 members of the SEPA team and one of our Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs) were sent to affected areas in Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas to assist the national Red Cross response to Hurricane Isaac.

During this response, our team members provided mental health services, health services, mass care, sheltering, logistics support and more. For many of the team, this was a first deployment and these new volunteers were excited and nervous to be serving this response. For a few, this was their third national response this year. It’s a testament to the training provided by the American Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania that we have trained volunteers able to respond in times like these.

Here’s a breakdown of services our volunteers and staff provided in response to Isaac:

  • Five AmeriCorps members and seven volunteers helped to staff shelters in affected areas.
  • Three volunteers provided essential Disaster Mental Health services.
  • Three are serving on roving Emergency Response Vehicle teams.
  • Three have been deployed to assist with client casework.
  • Two are providing Health Services support at shelters.
  • One volunteer is serving as a logistics expert.
  • SEPA Chapter Emergency Communications Coordinator Peter Wine and AmeriCorps member (and veteran volunteer) Noel Green continue to serve Louisiana by providing assistance with Disaster Technology Services.
  • We also have one employee assisting with bulk distribution to help make sure supplies get to the areas in need
  • Our Director of Emergency Services Leo Pratte is serving as Operations Manager for the Red Cross Isaac response.
  • The Red Cross relies solely on the generosity of the public to do this vital work. So check out how our friends at PECO are helping us get the message out.

    Read notes from the road blogs posted by our SEPA staffers on deployment.

    Click here for photos of some of our deployed volunteers.

    Click here for photos of our AmeriCorps members in Mississippi.

    Click here to see some Mission Moments about Isaac deployments.

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    To support the national Red Cross, the SEPA Chapter sent volunteers to join the responses in 5 different states. Our volunteers lent their expertise to assist families affected by storm damage and power outages in New Jersey, West Virginia and surrounding Washington, DC. Volunteers also deployed to Colorado in response to devastating wild fires and to Florida following flooding from torrential rains.

    On July 6th, SEPA Director of Communications Dave Schrader deployed to Parkersburg, WV as a member of the Advanced Public Affairs Team. He served as a national spokesperson to help get the word out about the work of the Red Cross which is helping residents who lost power following storms on June 29.

    Instead of spending Independence Day with their families, 3 SEPA volunteers hit the road to assist national relief efforts. Fred Vielhauer of Sellersville, PA went to Gainesville, FL to assist with client casework. Janice Winston of Philadelphia and Randall Gort of Malvern, PA assisted with mass care in Parkersburg, WV.

    Volunteers Ron Quay of Phoenixville, Linda Vanwagenen of Mooresville, NJ and Ben Gill of Pottstown were deployed to southern New Jersey to help our neighbors affected by storms. All assisted with damage assessment.

    On Friday June 29th, massive storms knocked out power to millions of customers in the areas surrounding the nation's capital. Power outages lasted days during some of the hottest weather the area had seen. SEPA chapter volunteers Nancy Hansen of Perkasie and Noel Green of Philadelphia were deployed to the area to assist with mass care feeding.

    Hundreds of trained Red Cross disaster workers responded to Colorado, including two of the Southeastern Pennsylvania (SEPA) Chapter’s own volunteers. Mental health volunteer, Danelle Stoppel of Philadelphia spent her first night in a Red Cross shelter sleeping on a cot beside dozens of displaced residents. On a phone call back to SEPA Chapter, she described fires that were unpredictable and fast moving, sometimes putting the shelters in the path of the flames and forcing them to close and reopen. Danelle managed about 10 mental health volunteers sent in from around the country to provide comfort and care to clients staying at Red Cross shelters and those who had lost everything. This was Danelle's 7th deployment. Read more about Danelle's deployment on our blog.

    New SEPA volunteer Ken McCluskey also deployed to Colorado to lend his nursing skills to provide basic medical care to residents who were staying at Red Cross shelters at the time. Ken arrived in Colorado on Sunday, July 1st. This was his very first national deployment.

    SEPA volunteer Robert O’Sullivan from Upper Darby and Mindy Pinkus of Richboro deployed June 29th to Tampa, Florida where Tropical Storm Debby caused some areas to get as much as 25 inches of rain. Robert helped to ensure relief supplies got where they needed to go in a timely manner. Mindy toured the area to assist with damage assessment.

    In addition to supporting these national disaster relief efforts, SEPA continues to provide critical services at home. In the week of June 25, our chapter responded to 23 local disasters, opened two shelters, and helped 29 families, as well as hosted the first of four weeks of Camp Save-a-Life — a summer camp led by high school members of our Red Cross Club program during which 135 youth learn vital disaster preparedness skills and earn certifications in CPR, First Aid and water safety.

    Helping our neighbors near and far would not be possible without the generous support of individual and corporate donations. Please consider making a gift by clicking here or texting REDCROSS to 90999 to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief today. It is only with your helps that the Red Cross is able to help people affected by disasters like wildfires and floods, as well as countless crises at home. Your contribution enables the Red Cross to prepare and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. It also enables your local volunteers to receive the vital training, which prepares them to respond to disasters around the country.

    About the American Red Cross Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter:

    The American Red Cross Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors. The Red Cross is not a government agency. All Red Cross assistance is free of charge. Financial contributions are always welcomed and needed and can be made by going to RedCrossPhilly.org.

    Contact: Dave Schrader (215) 299-4042 or after hours (215) 299-4889, Dave.Schrader@redcross.org