The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.
Rear Admiral Michael N. Parks, United States Coast Guard, Retired, assumed the responsibilities in April 2015 as Regional Executive of the Northeast Ohio Region of the American Red Cross. In this capacity he oversees five American Red Cross Chapters covering 22 Northeast Ohio counties serving 4.5 million people.
From 2010 to 2013, Parks was based in Cleveland and served as Commander, Ninth Coast Guard District, responsible for leading and directing all Coast Guard operations throughout the eight-state Great Lakes region, including the 1,500-mile international border with Canada. In that capacity he led more than 6,000 active, reserve, civilian and auxiliary (volunteer) personnel at 75 operational units.
During his 35-year Coast Guard career, Parks was deployed in 2010 in support of the U.S. Southern Command to help direct emergency response following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, working directly with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He also deployed in response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, providing port security, search and rescue, and support for recovery operations.
Other significant assignments over the past decade included Deputy Director of Operations, U.S. Northern Command in Colorado Springs; Chief of Staff, Coast Guard Atlantic Area in Portsmouth, Virginia; and Chief of Staff/Chief of Operations Response, Ninth Coast Guard District in Cleveland. Parks also completed tours of duty on six different Coast Guard cutters, commanding four of them.
Parks is a 1982 graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Government. He later earned a Master of Public Administration degree from George Washington University and was selected and attended the National War College in Washington, D.C., where he received a Master of Science in National Security Strategy and Policy.
He and his wife Cynthia have two daughters and live in Bay Village.
Tim O’Toole, retired Assistant Chief of Operations for the Cleveland Division of Fire, joined the American Red Cross Northern Ohio Region in October, 2015.
Tim served the city of Cleveland for almost 35 years in various positions of responsibility, including Chief of Staff and Acting Division Chief for the Cleveland Fire Department, and was named the first Manager of the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Preparedness, in response to the events of September 11, 2001.
Among the major emergencies Tim responded to and managed were the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, preparation for Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and the massive blackout of 2003. He has also been involved with training for most of the disaster drills that have been staged in Cleveland over the past several years.
Emily was promoted to Senior Disaster Program Manager for the Red Cross of Northern Ohio in November, 2021. It was her second promotion since joining the Red Cross as a Disaster Program Specialist in 2016, when she led and managed volunteer disaster responders and caseworkers.
In September, 2017, Emily was named Disaster Workforce Engagement Manager, responsible for engaging and supporting the Northern Ohio Region’s volunteer workforce.
In her current role, Emily supports a staff of 10 disaster workers to help them meet the Red Cross mission by responding to, preparing for, and helping communities and individuals recover from disasters.
Emily graduated from Ashland University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, and in 2016, graduated from Ashland with a Master of Health and Risk Communication.
She is furthering her leadership career by facilitating Serving Leader instruction for the Red Cross Central Atlantic Division.
Emily volunteers with the cotemporary worship and children’s ministry at Strongsville United Methodist Church. She is a Cleveland native, the mother of three, and enjoys spending free time with her family in the Cleveland Metroparks.
Jessica N. Tischler is the Regional Director for Service to the Armed Forces and International Services at the American Red Cross of Northern Ohio. In this position, Jessica manages and administers the delivery of Red Cross services to meet the needs of United States military members, veterans, and their families, including emergency communication services, pre-deployment preparedness, and reconnection workshops for service members returning to civilian life. Jessica also helps provide Restoring Family Links services to local families who are separated internationally by war, disaster, migration and other humanitarian crises.
In addition to her work at the Red Cross, Jessica is on the Advisory Committee for the Northern Ohio Veterans Community Task Force, the local joint community/VA partnership, and is a member of the board of directors for NEOVETS, which serves military families by connecting them to community resources and information.
Jessica joined the Red Cross in 2005, providing Northern Ohio residents disaster preparedness education and programming, and coordinating disaster response operations until November 2015, when she was promoted to her current role.
Jessica completed her undergraduate degree in Anthropology from Cleveland State University and a earned a Masters of Public Administration from Walden University. She lives in Fairview Park with her husband, Greg, and their daughter.
Michelle graduated from Kent State University in 1998 with a Bachelor of Business Administration and began her career at The Shamrock Companies, a full-service marketing communications firm, two weeks later. She served as an Account Manager with a portfolio of corporate accounts specializing in Healthcare and Retail, based in Cleveland, Columbus and Chicago for 13 years before transitioning to the non-profit arena. Michelle joined the American Red Cross as a Corporate Officer within the Crossroads Division. After 5 years, she became the Regional Chief Development Officer for Northern Ohio, leading the fundraising team in its efforts to financially support the Red Cross mission.
Michelle has served as a volunteer with several non-profit organizations throughout her career, including Junior Achievement, Ronald McDonald House, Ohio PTA, Smiles For Sophie Foundation and currently serves on the Board of the Karen P. Nakon Foundation.
She is a Cleveland native who currently resides in Avon Lake with her husband, John, her two children, Nate and Izzie, and her dog, Scraps.
Gail Wernick rejoined the American Red Cross in June, 2017, as Volunteer Services Officer for the Northern Ohio Region. She had previously served as a top fundraiser for the region. Prior to her service to the Red Cross, Gail worked for Recovery Resources as Community Relations Coordinator and Senior Development Manager. Gail is a humanitarian at heart and considers herself an eternal Red Crosser.
Jim has one of the most trusted voices in Northern Ohio, after delivering newscasts on Cleveland’s radio airwaves for more than three decades. And now, Jim is delivering the message of the mission of the American Red Cross: to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.
Prior to his appointment as Communications and Marketing Manager for the Northern Ohio Region of the Red Cross in 2015, Jim gathered and delivered morning newscasts and hosted a daily hour-long public affairs show on news/talk 1420 WHK in Cleveland. He also delivered newscasts for the Rubber City Radio Group on WAKR, WQMX, and WONE in Akron, after nearly 19 years as Director of News and Public Affairs programming on 102.1 WDOK in Cleveland. Jim was also News Director at 1300 WERE and 1100 WWWE, two news/talk stations in Cleveland. He also served a year on the assignment desk at WEWS TV 5.
Among the many journalism honors he has earned is the 2013 "Chuck Heaton Good Guy Award," presented by The Press Club of Cleveland to a candidate who best exemplifies the sensitivity and humility that, along with his writing talent, were traits exhibited by legendary Plain Dealer sportswriter Chuck Heaton.
Phones: Stark: 330-323-6054
New Philadelphia: 330-343-8633
Kim joined the Red Cross in 2001 as the director of the Rape Crisis Services where she assisted children, adolescents and adults through the difficult recovery process of sexual victimization and qualified as an expert when providing testimony in the courtroom.
In 2014 she transitioned into the role of Executive Director for the Stark and Muskingum Lakes Chapter serving Carroll, Harrison, Stark and Tuscarawas Counties. As a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with a supervisor status and earned recognition as a National Certified Counselor, Kim continues to see clients in a private practice setting at Vista Psychological & Counseling Centre.
She began her counseling career at the Grief Support and Education Center where she provided individual, group and family therapy for adults and children grieving from death and divorce. In 1997 she became employed at the Community Drug Board where she provided group and individual therapy for adults addicted to drugs and alcohol. In 1998 she took a counseling position at Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health in their Day Treatment program. Kim provided daily group therapy, individual therapy and family home visits for adolescent with severe behavior problem and other mental health issues.
Kim Kroh earned a bachelors degree from Ohio State University in Business Administration in 1986 and a masters degree in Counseling & Human Development from Walsh University in 1993. She has over 20 years’ experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor. She is a member of the American Counseling Association, Rape Abuse Incest National Network, The National Center for Victims of Crime and participates in numerous coalitions throughout Carroll, Harrison, Stark and Tuscarawas Counties.
Kim resides in Canton and has a daughter Courtney and a grandson Trey.
Phone: (216) 905-3215
Rachel has shaped a career of service at local and regional nonprofits in many program, fundraising, executive and leadership levels. Her resume includes over 20 years of executive planning, management, direct fundraising, board development, strategy and nonprofit development including major gifts, direct marketing, capital campaigns and annual giving. Prior to her career at the American Red Cross she held the position of Chief Development Officer at North Coast Community Homes. She also has served as the Director of Development at Community Health Center in Akron, Development Manager of Goodwill Industries, Annual Campaign Director of the Akron Area YMCA and Director of Special Events and Community Director for the March of Dimes. As a graduate of the University of Akron, she has become deeply engaged in the community generating countless dollars to further strengthen the community in which we live.
Phil Ormandy transferred to the Northeast Ohio American Red Cross Region in July of 2016 as the Strategic Account Executive, Training Services, for all 22 counties.
Prior to joining the Red Cross as an employee, Phil ran Elyria Arts Inc., a nationwide, wholesale framing company, and West Wind Moving out of Wellington, OH. He was also a volunteer Instructor since 1992 for the Red Cross.
After the sale of his companies, Phil moved to Maryland in 2006. In March of that year, he began his employment as an instructor and by September was brought into sales with the Chesapeake Region of the Red Cross. Ten years later, Phil returned to his home in Ohio to assume his current position.
He and his wife, Laura Richards-Ormandy, a Red Cross Analyst, Accounts Receivable, reside in southern Lorain County with their many rescue pets.
Rachel Hepner-Zawodny was born and raised in Toledo. She graduated high school in 1997 and went on to play tennis for Bowling Green State University. There she began as an art therapy major and it morphed into a Fine Arts Degree with a specialty in Design and Photograph. Rachel spent much of her working years in marketing and sales primarily in the glass industry. In 2003, Rachel joined the Adult Class of Leadership Toledo and not only learned more about the city she grew up in but made some lifelong friends and connections in non-profit world.
In 2004, she was offered a position on the board of directors for the American Red Cross of Western Lake Erie. Rachel also served on the advisory board for Heartbeat of Toledo, and sat on the board of the Arthritis Foundation, Family Services of NW Ohio and Leadership Toledo. Rachel also served on several fundraising committees for various non-profits over the course of 10 years.
Prior to the birth of her second child, Rachel transitioned from serving as chairman of the board of directors, to becoming the executive director for the American Red Cross of Western Lake Erie.
Rachel lives in a 107-year-old historic home in Maumee with her husband Jim, daughter Stella, son Harrison, wheaten terrier Greta, one beta fish and a sea monkey.
Todd James is the Executive Director of the American Red Cross of North Central Ohio. In this position, Todd oversees Red Cross programs and services in eight counties. Todd is a member of the American Red Cross Disaster Services Advanced Public Affairs Team, serving as a national spokesperson during disaster relief operations. He also serves in a leadership role as a Public Affairs Chief on large scale disaster relief operations. Todd is a former Advisor for the American Red Cross National Youth Council, past member of the American Red Cross Ohio Governmental Affairs Committee and served on the American Red Cross Presidential Advisory Council. In 2015, Todd received the United Way Nonprofit Leader Award from the Findlay-Hancock County Chamber of Commerce.
Todd is a graduate of Hancock Leadership and Leadership Seneca County, two time past president of the Hancock Leadership Alumni Association, past president of the Hancock Youth Leadership Board of Directors and past president of the Findlay Jaycees. He is a member of the Findlay Rotary Club, Findlay Kiwanis and Findlay Elks Lodge #75. He served as Co-chair of the Hancock Leadership Halloween Parade and the Findlay Bicentennial Parade committees.
Todd is very fortunate to be married to the lovely Kendra James and step-father to her daughter Kaitlyn. Todd and Kendra enjoy traveling and taking the backroads to find new adventures together.
AmeriCorps engages more than 75,000 members in intensive service annually to serve through nonprofit, faith-based, and community organizations at 25,000 locations across the country. These members help communities tackle pressing problems while mobilizing millions of volunteers for the organizations they serve. Since 1994, more than 900,000 Americans have provided more than 1.2 billion hours of service to their communities and country through AmeriCorps. For more information, visit NationalService.gov. AmeriCorps is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that engages more than 5 million Americans in service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads the President's national call to service initiative, United We Serve.