Thursday, August 1

Hands-Only CPR: a simple lifesaving skill

On July 17, the American Red Cross of Northeast Indiana helped coordinate a hands-only CPR event hosted by the Three Rivers CPR Task Force at the Fort Wayne Community Center. This free event enabled members of the community to learn a simple technique that has the potential to save lives.

If you witnessed an adult suffering from a cardiac arrest, would you know what to do? Our local response time for trained personnel to arrive on scene is 5 – 6 minutes on average. Our bodies contain a ten minute supply of oxygenated blood, and this oxygen is necessary for preventing serious and possibly fatal brain damage. Hands-only CPR will keep blood flowing to the brain during this critical window of time, and can be performed by anyone with the proper training when an individual certified in CPR is not present.

If you would like to receive certification in full CPR, check out the scheduled classes at the Red Cross of Northeast Indiana.

Contributed by Marie Steiner

Thursday, July 18

Team Red Cross: volunteer via this free mobile app

Have you ever wanted to volunteer for the American Red Cross when a disaster strikes in your community? Thanks to the new app, Team Red Cross, you can sign up to volunteer from your mobile phone!

When a disaster strikes, the app will give you real-time information on where and how you can assist your local Red Cross chapter. You can access overviews of the various jobs available, and volunteer orientations can be completed directly on your phone to prepare you for your mission. The app allows you to be on top of the latest disaster needs in your community!

Other features of the app include:
  • Details on the current need for financial and blood donations
  • The ability to raise awareness by sharing your Red Cross activities and achievements through social media
  • Form teams with other friends and family members who use the app
It’s never been easier to get involved with the Red Cross in critical moments! You can download this app for free from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. Be sure to visit the American Red Cross site for a list of other available apps.

Contributed by Marie Steiner

Friday, June 28

“Dodge High Fares” Dodgeball Tournament to Benefit Local Charity

Fort Wayne, Ind. – Fort Wayne International Airport (FWA) has teamed up with the Three Rivers Festival and the SportONE Parkview Fieldhouse to host the city’s biggest dodgeball tournament! The event is part of Allegiant’s “Dodge High Fares” campaign, which is aimed at increasing the awareness of the travel company’s affordable air fares and vacation packages. All proceeds from the event will be donated to one of eight local charities of the winning team’s choice. Here are the eight charities participating:

1. All For You Scholarship Program

2. American Red Cross of Northeast Indiana

3. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana

4. Community Harvest Food Bank

5. Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana

6. Special Olympics Allen County

7. Stop Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN)

8. Turnstone

The tournament begins at 1 p.m. on Sunday, July 14, 2013; teams may begin checking in at 12 p.m. Registration is $100 per team of six to 10 people. Please note that all team members must be at least 18 years of age and all teams are co-ed, with a minimum of two females or males per team. For registration purposes, one person should be appointed team captain. That person must register the entire team by July 8, 2013 at There will be no on-site registration on the day of the tournament.

The tournament will be coordinated by the National Dodgeball League (NDL), the nationwide leader in professional dodgeball tournaments. The NDL is made up of 19 professional dodgeball teams and is host to the Dodgeball World Championship in Las Vegas, NV each summer. In accordance with the Official NDL Rules & Regulations of Play, all teams must wear matching uniforms – creativity is encouraged! Visit to view complete rules of play. Prizes will be awarded to first, second, and third place teams.

“We are really looking forward to having some fun with this tournament,” said Scott Hinderman, Executive Director of Airports. “Where else can you go back to your elementary school days and play a heated game of dodgeball? It is sure to be a fun day and in the end we’ll be able to turn around and give the proceeds right back to a deserving community agency.”

If you’re not interested in dodging but would like to be part of the event, become an NDL certified dodgeball referee through the NDL’s free online training seminar. Contact the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority at 260-747-4146 to sign up. Spectators are also welcome to stop by and support their favorite local charity. Jimmy’s Grill will be providing food and drink specials and door prizes will be given away throughout the day.

About Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority The Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority (FWACAA) was created in 1985 and is responsible for managing the Fort Wayne International Airport and Smith Field Airport. Since FWACAA’s inception, Fort Wayne International Airport has undergone an aggressive improvement plan which included expansion of the terminal and parking areas, upgrades to the runways, and the creation of an Air Trade Center and Foreign Trade Zone to promote economic development in Northeast Indiana. As a result of FWACAA’s commitment to customer service, Fort Wayne International Airport was recognized by USA Today as one of the friendliest airports in the nation. The Authority is governed by a six–member board appointed by both the Mayor of Fort Wayne and the Allen County Commissioners. For more information about the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority, visit

About Three Rivers Festival

Since 1969, the Three Rivers Festival has grown to become Indiana’s second largest summer festival, an annual nine-day community celebration. In the heart of downtown Fort Wayne, Headwaters Park serves as the hub for over 80 official and affiliated family-friendly Festival events. Three Rivers Festival is a not-for-profit organization, funded entirely by vendor participation fees, souvenir sales, refreshments & entertainment ticket sales, and the generous sponsorship and support of area businesses. Three Rivers Festival….It’s YOUR party!

Saturday, June 1

The American Red Cross: A Light That Never Fades

The American Red Cross: A Light That Never Fades

By: Jamie Black

May 21, 2013, Moore, Oklahoma. The remains of a home
in the aftermath of the tornado. Photo by Talia Frenkel/
American Red Cross.
May 21, 2013— On this 21st day of May, we not only celebrate the founding of the American Red Cross by Clara Barton but we also look back on the formation of the Allen County Chapter in Fort Wayne, Indiana. With the recent tornadoes in Texas and Oklahoma, the image of the Red Cross can be seen on the news—aiding those who have fallen victim at the hands of Mother Nature. Watching emergency response vehicles handing out hot meals to the community and volunteers comforting those who have lost everything, it takes you back—all the way back to the beginning of this great organization, when the simple concept of helping the suffering was born.

"Belonging to the wise ones of earth, she did not light the candle in a corner, nor hide it under a bushel lest a wind should blow it out. She set it, instead, upon a high hill. It took over twenty years of patient, vigilant waiting to get it placed, at last, where she desired it to stand… and so Miss Barton trimmed and guarded the candle whose flame was a Red Cross, signifying a service that should reach impartiality in all directions, for the relief of human suffering in times of famine, pestilence, natural calamity or the horror of war.” -Isabelle H. Taylor—Fort Wayne, IN September 7th, 1919
It was 1916—35 years after the birth of the American Red Cross—and a gentleman by the name of Walter Davidson from the Chicago Red Cross was seeking out a person from Fort Wayne to start up a chapter there and inspire his community to join a cause that was greater than itself. At the Plymouth Congregational Church, he found Reverend Arthur J. Folson, who was enthusiastic about this mission and was eager to seek out more volunteers for the cause. So on a bleak November night as a storm was howling and raging on, 20 people arrived at Rev. Folson’s home and unanimously decided that there was to be a Red Cross Chapter in Fort Wayne. Surrounded by men and women of the same mind, Rev. Folson boldly proclaimed, “The call to organize tonight was not a war call; but if war comes, it must find us ready!” And with that, their mission began.

Even though there were initially 20 people who answered the reverend’s call to action, only a few remained. They stayed on and designed the by-laws of their chapter and sent them off to Washington, D.C for approval in early January. Then on January 22nd, 1917 a letter reached the Allen County Chapter House formally decreeing them a Chapter of the American Red Cross. Although his numbers were few, Rev. Folson and his board of directors went in search of more people to join in the work of their newly-formed chapter. After two months of their searching and pleading, the United States declared war on Germany in April of 1917—and the Fort Wayne community had a cause worth fighting for. As more and more people came on board, requests came into the Chapter House for assistance with surgical bandage production and staffing hospitals with able-bodied nurses. So in the infancy of the Fort Wayne Chapter, the American Red Cross began assisting military personnel by staffing military hospitals with Red Cross nurses and providing staff with an abundance of surgical dressings and bandages. Today, this service—Service to the Armed Forces—has evolved to communicating messages from families to soldiers overseas and searching for those who are missing in action.

Nurses work at an American Red Cross recruiting station to
field new members during World War I. Photo courtesty of
the American Red Cross.
As World War I continued, the American Red Cross in Fort Wayne expanded its “war work” by forming a First Aid committee, which would train men and women to render first aid service in the event of an emergency. A large First Aid mock demonstration took place at the chapter, led by local physician, Dr. W.W. Barnett. It was one of the largest simulations in Red Cross history and the impact of the event spread like wildfire. Soon after that, the Home Care program was developed so that Red Cross nurses could treat the sick in their homes and “hasten their return to usefulness.” While first aid and medical training were growing at the Chapter House, official requests were coming in from outside towns to form branches in their area to help with war work and humanitarian efforts.

“In the clear light of retrospect we realize, now, that nothing really was significant except the great fact that through all the stress and stride of the constructive period, and the endless adjustment of details, the great common heart of Fort Wayne and Allen County was sending out its ever widening stream of relief to the wounded and the suffering, and knitting our people into a unity we never felt before and which we pray may never be dissolved. Each one of us is a part of our Temple of the Red Cross, for its walls are built of clasped hands.” -Isabelle H. Taylor—Fort Wayne, IN September 7th, 1919

Now almost a century later, the Chapter House in Allen County has expanded into the American Red Cross of Northeast Indiana—serving not only Allen County, but also DeKalb, Noble, Steuben, Wells and Whitley Counties in Indiana. Both Disaster Services and Service to the Armed Forces still exist to this day; with the addition of Preparedness and Health & Safety Services (PHSS), International Services and Blood Services—our chapter has the capacity to serve all communities within Northeast Indiana who have been and will be affected by disasters.

May 22, 2013, Fort Wayne, IN. Red Cross volunteer,
Jamie Black holds a Branch contract from Grabill, IN
1917- signed by her great-great-grandmother. Photo
by Brianna Elliott.
As I humbly serve as a volunteer with the Red Cross, I always remember what my grandfather taught me as a child, “that helping others with a kind heart is something you should strive for every day and that living this humble and honest life will lead you to true happiness.” And as I sit at the Chapter House and describe the history of our Red Cross to you, I have come across a letter that has shaken me to my core. In my hands, I hold the official request for the formation of the Grabill Branch of the American Red Cross in 1917—signed by Mrs. A.S. Klopfenstein, my great-great grandmother. As I look down upon her signature, the leader of this small-town branch, I cannot help but hear my grandfather’s words play over and over in my head. I would like to think that as a young boy, he may have seen his grandmother’s sewing “parties” with her friends. I imagine him sitting there and watching them for hours; the ladies feverishly working to meet quotas for the Chapter and discuss the need to continue helping others long after wartime had passed. This dedication and unwavering service was an example that he witnessed and carried on in his family life as an adult. Bestowing his wisdom on me, I know that the words of local Red Cross historian Isabelle H. Taylor have come full circle,

“…To preserve the spirit, and something of enthusiasm, of patriotic exaltation of those teeming days in the Chapter House (still resurgent in our hearts when the work of writing it down was begun), as an inspiration to our sons and daughters in years to come has been the purpose of this writing, and trusting that that purpose will at least approach fulfillment, the quill is now laid down.”

For all those young people who are considering becoming a volunteer with the American Red Cross, I advise you with a steadfast heart that this will be the best decision you will ever make. Let’s keep the spirit of helping others alive and let Clara Barton’s light shine for generations to come.

I would like to extend a most genuine thank you to Isabelle H. Taylor for your beautiful words and intricate details of our organization found in War Work of the Fort Wayne Chapter of the American Red Cross. Your thoughts are timeless and have a unique beauty that I was honored to have encountered. May your spirit rest in peace.

Friday, May 17

Volunteer Finds Unlikely Hero in Red Cross

Volunteer Finds Unlikely Hero in Red Cross

By Jamie Black, with narrative from Amy Poffenberger

The American Red Cross has provided humanitarian support to the United States military, veterans and their families under a trusted symbol for more than 130 years. Through the Service to the Armed Forces program, the Red Cross provides emergency communications, supports military and veteran health care facilities, and provides social services to the more than 2 million military members to include National Guard and Reservists, 23 million veterans and their families. The Red Cross is able to provide these services through employees and volunteers who are stationed alongside the military, across the country and around the world. This includes a network of Red Cross Chapters and Stations that have offices on domestic installations as well as supporting service members, veterans and their families who are located in communities across the country and who may not be near a military installation.

In 2012, the Red Cross provided nearly 320,000 emergency communication services to 131,000 military members and their families. Receiving a message or a phone call from a loved one serving overseas can bring smiles to their children’s faces and tears of joy to their spouses. Over a decade ago, one of our own local volunteers was waiting for a call from her son who was serving in Bosnia that never came. Read on to discover Amy’s story about how an unlikely hero would reconnect her family in their time of need…

“In April 2001, I was to receive a call from my son to let me know where to wire funds for an upcoming leave. He was going to celebrate his birthday in Macedonia with a four day leave with other soldiers from his unit. The days before his birthday, the day of and a couple of days after came and went with no contact from my son. Our previous contact had been intermittent and always initiated by Shawn. Here I was without any phone numbers, computer, email, or any other means to find out where he was or to see if he was alright.

Imagine all of the thoughts that were going through my head… Where was he? Had there been some fighting where he was stationed? Was he injured, or even worse—heaven forbid—dead? I was beginning to get frantic and didn’t know where to turn.

I contacted his local National Guard Unit; but because he was an adult in the service, they could not give me any information. I then contacted a drill Sergeant at Fort Benning who had become a friend of the family, hoping he could locate some information for us. Unfortunately, he too was not permitted to release any information about my son. At this point, I was feeling desperate and didn’t know where to turn next.

I cannot recall what made me think of the Red Cross… I had never had reason to use their services before nor had anyone mentioned this possibility to me. But with wellbeing of my son hanging in the air, I took a leap of faith. On the morning of April 23, I called the local chapter and explained the situation to them. The case worker was very caring and soothed the anxious mother in me. She explained that they had many channels that could be used in searching for my son. So with that, I left the case in her hands and waited for a return call.

Within six hours, I had received a call back from the caseworker. Through the military locator service, she was able to determine Shawn’s current location - a hospital in Germany. Due to the fact he was over 18, she couldn’t share any further information with me, but would forward a message to him to contact his family. Although I had few details, just knowing he was alive was enough for me! Relief overcame me and I finally allowed myself to cry for my son—and thankfully, these were tears of joy.

The next day I received a phone call from Shawn – a mere 24 hours after my initial contact with the Red Cross. He had been injured in a truck accident in Bosnia on April 12 and had been sent to a hospital in Germany for surgery and recuperation. He had been unable to contact me because of his condition early on. He had been through surgery and was just beginning rehab. He would be in Germany for another 2 months before returning to the United States. While I couldn’t wait to see him, it was enough to know he would be alright!

Two days later, I received a call from the Red Cross caseworker inquiring if I had heard from my son and making sure everything was alright. With her persistence and dedication to her work at the Red Cross, that caseworker had changed our lives and we were truly grateful for her service. I had never expected to need the help of the American Red Cross. I didn’t even know the Red Cross was involved with the military. It was not until I needed to locate my son Shawn that I realized the role that Red Cross plays. I want to share how much my family appreciated the Red Cross caseworkers and how very thankful I am that Red Cross was there for Shawn and I in our time of need. You are the heroes of this story!”

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 join our blog at