Tuesday, June 15, 2021

In Case You Missed It

Students fitted for free bicycle helmets as part of our Safety Town program in Greenwich, CT.

Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 112 adults and 40 children for 44 local disaster responses. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (See below.)

Last Week in Review
  • On June 12, we joined the Friends of Crown Heights to help stock and ship emergency care packages to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Caribbean nation recently impacted by volcanic eruptions.
  • We held an online presentation on how to prepare, respond and recover from local emergencies and large-scale disasters, co-hosted by Senator Alexis Weik, on Tuesday, June 8.

Upcoming Events and Activities
  • June 14 to June 30: We partnered with Amazon to encourage New Yorkers to donate blood and save lives. Those who donate will receive a $5 Amazon gift card. Type O blood is especially needed!


Tuesday, June 8, 2021

In Case You Missed It

Last week, we brought together partners from across Long Island and NY state to discuss emergency preparedness.
Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 84 adults and 14 children following 36 local disasters. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (See below)

Last Week in Review

Upcoming Events and Activities

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

In Case You Missed It

Don and Ida Hahn receiving Congeniality Award at West Point Volunteer Recognition Event.

Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 77 adults and 16 children following 35 local disasters. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (See below)

Last Week in Review
Upcoming Events and Activities
  • June 7, 14: PARENTS IN GREENWICH AND WESTCHESTER: Registration is open for Safety Town! Join us virtually for a comprehensive one-week safety education program offered every summer by the American Red Cross Metro NY North Chapter. Under guidance of classroom teachers and with the help of representatives from the police, fire, EMS departments and other community helpers, children learn safety tips in a virtual classroom setting and are fitted with their own bike safety helmet that they keep. Sessions available the week of June 7th and June 14th. All sessions will be on Zoom. Registration is OPEN. Scholarships available. Visit http://Safetytown.givesmart.com to register today!
  • June 8: Sign up for our virtual event--Prepare, Respond, Recover: What to do When Disaster Strikes and Hands Only CPR--a free training, co-hosted by Senator Alexis Weik, on what you and your community can do when an emergency occurs.
  • June 10: Virtually learning Hands-Only CPR can help gain precious time for a person experiencing a cardiac event and knowing First Aid, CPR and how to use an AED will enable you to provide life-saving care in a range of emergencies. Co-hosted by Assembly Member Nathalia Fernandez.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

In Case You Missed It - May 26th


Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 189 adults and 90 children following 61 local disasters. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (See below)

Last Week in Review:

Upcoming Events and Activities
  • June 1: Join us for our virtual event - The Pillowcase Project - which is a free virtual emergency preparedness education class that teaches children (ages 7-12) about emergency preparedness and is free and open to all.
  • June 7, 14: PARENTS IN GREENWICH AND WESTCHESTER: Registration is open for Safety Town! Join us virtually for a comprehensive one-week safety education program offered every summer by the American Red Cross Metro NY North Chapter. Under guidance of classroom teachers and with the help of representatives from the police, fire, EMS departments and other community helpers, children learn safety tips in a virtual classroom setting and are fitted with their own bike safety helmet that they keep. Sessions available the week of June 7th and June 14th. All sessions will be on Zoom. Registration is OPEN. Scholarships available. Visit Safetytown.givesmart.com to register today!
  • June 8: Sign up for our virtual event--Prepare, Respond, Recover: What to do When Disaster Strikes and Hands Only CPR--a free training, co-hosted by Senator Alexis Weik, on what you and your community can do when an emergency occurs.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

In Case You Missed It - May 18

Celebrating volunteer Margaret Sukhram for International Nurses Day.

Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 77 adults and 26 children following 43 local disasters. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (See below)

Last Week in Review
Upcoming Events and Activities

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

In Case You Missed It - May 11

Red Cross Volunteers and FDNY installing free smoke alarms in Queens.

Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 121 adults and 25 children following 51 local disasters. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (See below)

Last Week in Review
Upcoming Events and Activities

Lawyer-Turned-Social Worker Finds New Career as Red Cross Volunteer

by Barbara Gaynes, American Red Cross in Greater NY


The fire that tore through an apartment building in Jackson Heights, Queens, last month, leaving almost 500 people homeless, was devastating. When Doug McNally, a Disaster Mental Health Specialist for the Red Cross, arrived on the scene, he met many residents struggling to cope with the aftereffects of the tragedy.

“I was assigned to go with the people back to the apartments for the first time, which was very emotional for them,” he said.

Among the victims was a 23-year-old woman who had spent her entire life in the building and whose family had lost almost everything they owned to smoke and water damage.

“She walked down the hall with me, telling me the names of her neighbors, with tears in her eyes,” he said. “Her little hallway neighborhood was destroyed.”

As a trained social worker and attorney, McNally knew that one of the best things he could offer was an empathetic ear.

"I help people in dealing with crisis,” he said. "Just to be there and to listen to them — that's the first step toward their recovery."

Since joining the Red Cross 2 ½ years ago — after going back to school at age 65 to get a Master’s in Social Work — McNally has provided emotional support to victims of both natural and man-made disasters. As coordinator of Long Island’s Rapid-Response Mental Health Team, he’s responded to fatal fires and a massive sewage spill. He’s also deployed to the scenes of heart-wrenching tragedies in other parts of the country: California wildfires, Arkansas floods and a Louisiana hurricane.

He vividly recalls a survivor of the 2018 wildfires who told of making an incredibly difficult decision in the midst of the disaster.

“It was really tragic what some of those people went through — the stories they were telling me of trying to get out of the fire. One person in particular said, ‘I saw my neighbor — he had to pull over. And I knew if I stopped I probably wouldn’t get out. So I kept going.’ And the neighbor did not get out."

Such situations show the value of having mental-health specialists on-site to listen to survivors' accounts and offer assistance, said Joe Spaccarelli, Interim CEO, American Red Cross on Long Island.

“Considering all the trauma brought on by the disasters we respond to as an organization, it’s so important to have mental health volunteers like Doug, trained to help individuals cope with these complex emotions,” Spaccarelli said. “Doug exemplifies compassion and professionalism.”

McNally, a longtime Northport, N.Y., resident and partner in a Melville law firm, found his true calling after enrolling at Stony Brook University in 2016 to get a Master’s at an age when many people are thinking of retirement. His goal was to emphasize the “counselor” part of being a counselor at law.

“To me it was a natural segue because I had focused my practice in the area of family law, estates, guardianships,” he explained. “Solving people’s legal problems was somewhat easy, but I never felt like I got to the root of their problems. I wanted to better understand what was going on and be a better counselor.”

While on campus, he participated in a simulated disaster drill that inspired him to become a Red Cross volunteer. McNally also found a way to give back to Stony Brook, using his legal background to help create — and co-teach — a popular course on forensic social work.

Now, after 40-plus years practicing law, the 69-year-old grandfather of 5 is set to retire in August. Yet he has no plans to end his Red Cross work.

“I gain so much more than I give,” McNally said of volunteering. “I just feel blessed that I’ve had an opportunity to help other people.”

Though the past year has been difficult due to COVID-19 restrictions, McNally sees a light at the end of the tunnel.

“I look to return to where we can get closer to people and not have to maintain that distance and be constantly vigilant about exposure.”