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March is Red Cross Month: Be a Hero to Someone in Need

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CENTRAL FLORIDA – January 11, 2018 For 75 years, March has been recognized as Red Cross Month by Presidential Proclamation, officially established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1943. In honor of this long-standing tradition, the Red Cross is inviting people across Central Florida to become an everyday hero by registering to volunteer, taking a life-saving class or making a financial donation to #help1family on national Red Cross Giving Day – March 28.  

“The Red Cross is powered by our volunteer heroes who give of their time, talents and compassion to fulfill our mission,” said Jennifer Pipa, CEO of the American Red Cross Central Florida. “They are people from your neighborhood who respond to every day disasters like home fires, come to the aid of thousands each year affected by devastating weather events, help and support members of the military, and teach life-saving skills like CPR and first aid.”

WHAT WE DO  In Central Florida, the Red Cross has been helping people in need since 1917, and much of our work is accomplished through the power of our volunteers. In Fiscal Year 2017, the Red Cross of Central Florida:

* Responded to more than 1,100 disasters across 19 counties, assisting more than 6,300 people;

* Taught more than 63,000 people in first aid, water safety and other skills that help save lives; 

* Provided more than 11,000 support services to military members, veterans and their families; and

* Partnered with fire departments and community volunteers through its Home Fire Campaign, installing more than 9,800 free smoke alarms and teaching home fire safety in neighborhoods at high risk for fires, making more than 4,000 families safer.

HOW YOU CAN HELP  During the month of March, be a hero and join the humanitarian mission of the Red Cross:

* Register to volunteer at

* Sign up to take a life-saving class at

* Make a financial donation to #help1family on Giving Day, a 24-hour fundraising campaign on Wednesday, March 28, supporting the work of the Red Cross. Donations provide hope and urgent relief such as food, blankets and essentials to people who need it most. Visit or text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10.

WITH APPRECIATION  Red Cross Month is a special time where our organization honors and thanks all the everyday heroes who power our humanitarian mission with their hands and hearts. With tremendous gratitude, we acknowledge the following local volunteers with more than 20 years of service in Central Florida.

Florida’s Space Coast Chapter
Jean Jackson of Melbourne, 63 years; Donna Ahnert of Palm Coast, 41 years; Ruth Bentley of Melbourne, 25 years; Bill Crawford of Ormond Beach, 24 years; Stephen Pilkenton of Rockledge, 24 years; Jim and Betty Gaidry of Palm Bay, 20 years; Beth Moseley of Melbourne, 20 years; and Sandy Rose of Daytona Beach, 20 years.

Greater Orlando Chapter
Liz Welker of Orlando, 26 years and Terry Freeman of Orlando, 21 years.

Mid-Florida Chapter
Tom Costello of Winter Haven, 58 years; Libby King of Winter Haven, 38 years; Cliff Sandberg Jr. of Clermont, 30 years; Courtland Witcher of Winter Haven, 26 years; and Sandy Howell of Brooksville, 25 years.

Southwest Florida Chapter
Larry and Carol Palmer of Port Charlotte, 25 years; Ellen Lenk of Sarasota, 24 years; Michael Zimmerman of Bradenton, 24 years; Marty Mehling of Englewood, 23 years; Johanna Deutsch of Sarasota, 22 years; Doris Hoogland of Sarasota, 22 years; Tom Barry of West Warwick, RI, 21 years; and Ruth Ott of Sarasota, 21 years.

Tampa Bay Chapter
Patte Ayala of Tampa, 64 years; Sally Hill of Tampa, 58 years; Mary O’Geary of Largo, 47 years; Angie Bougas of Tampa, 44 years; Connie Kalel of Plant City, 38 years; Juan Colon of Seffner, 36 years; Jill Valenti of Tampa, 36 years; Dr. Stephen Dickey of Tampa, 32 years; Merci Karl of Tampa, 28 years; Doug Williams of Clearwater, 28 years; Theresa Cole of Plant City, 25 years; Karen Gonzalez of Plant City, 24 years; Bob Gallen of St. Petersburg; 21 years; Natasha Salazar of York, PA, 21 years; Sandra Brooks of St. Petersburg, 20 years; and Rosemary Dilella of Valrico, 20 years.

The Central Florida Region of the American Red Cross serves 19 counties through five chapters listed above. For more information, please visit or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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