Tuesday, November 29, 2022

In Case You Missed It

Red Cross GNY setting up Shelter for those affected by a fire in Harrison, NY.
Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 137 adults and 41 children after 49 local disaster responses. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (See below

Last Week in Review
Upcoming Events and Activities

Monday, November 21, 2022

In Case You Missed It


Greenwich Chapter of the National League of Young Men Carwash to help American Red Cross Hurricane Ida relief  

Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 149 adults and 40 children after 39 local disaster responses. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (See below)

Last Week in Review
Upcoming Events and Activities

Monday, November 14, 2022

In Case You Missed It


NYC Mayor Adams spoke at the Women Who Serve America event at Central Park. (Photo: Nathalie Sayago)

Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 87 adults and 28 children after 35 local disaster responses. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (See below)

Last Week in Review
Upcoming Events and Activities
  • Now more than ever, dedicated and passionate civic leaders are needed to serve the Red Cross. Apply to begin a full-time AmeriCorps service year with us.
  • Donut wait – donate! The Red Cross is saying thanks a latte for your help: Get a $10 e-gift card to a merchant of your choice when you come to give blood by Nov. 22. Sign up to give now & enjoy this perk: rcblood.org/3SnWCgM

Monday, November 7, 2022

In Case You Missed It


The Red Cross Red Team before the TCS New York City Marathon


Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 119 adults and 32 children for 51 local disaster responses. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (See below)


Last Week in Review
Upcoming Events and Activities

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

In Case You Missed It

Red Cross Volunteers together for the anniversary of Superstorm Sandy
Red Cross Volunteers gathered together to install smoke alarms in Long Beach homes on the anniversary of Superstorm Sandy 

Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 104 adults and 27 children for 41 local disaster responses. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (See below)

Last Week in Review
Upcoming Events and Activities

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

In Case You Missed It

The Metro NY home fire team in Mount Vernon
The Metro NY Home Fire Team in Mount Vernon with Board Members for National Fire Prevention Week 

Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 129 adults and 41 children for 49 local disaster responses. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (See below)

Last Week in Review 
Upcoming Events and Activities
  • Now more than ever, dedicated and passionate civic leaders are needed to serve the Red Cross. Apply to begin a full-time AmeriCorps service year with us.
  • Make a Difference and Fall into Service this Season. Volunteer Today as a Mass Care Team Member with the American Red Cross. During large disasters, you can support the day-to-day activities within a shelter which may include working in reception, registration, feeding, dormitory, information, or other areas within a shelter. Free online training will be provided, driver’s license preferred. Sign up today.
  • Oct 26: Join us for a FREE orientation and learn how you can uncover your inner hero by joining our volunteer team. Multiple opportunities - one lifesaving mission!
  • Oct 28: Join us in Spring Valley at 24 Chestnut St. for a Blood Drive sponsored by Office of NYS Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick from 10:30am – 4:30pm. Register here.
  • Nov 5: Interfaith Blood Drive at the First Presbyterian Church, 1 West Putnam Ave., Greenwich, CT. For an appointment, please visit redcrossblood.org.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

In Case You Missed It

Magnolia, a volunteer supporting the damage assessment team for Hurricane Ian in Florida 

Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross has provided emergency assistance to 112 adults and 45 children following 42 local disaster responses. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (See below)

Last Week in Review 

Upcoming Events and Activities: 
  • Now more than ever, dedicated and passionate civic leaders are needed to serve the Red Cross. Apply to begin a full-time AmeriCorps service year with us.
  • Make a Difference and Fall into Service this Season. Volunteer Today as a Mass Care Team Member with the American Red Cross. During large disasters, you can support the day-to-day activities within a shelter which may include working in reception, registration, feeding, dormitory, information, or other areas within a shelter. Free online training will be provided, driver’s license preferred. Sign up today.
  • Oct 19, 26: Join us for a FREE orientation and learn how you can uncover your inner hero by joining our volunteer team. Multiple opportunities - one lifesaving mission!
  • Nov 5: Interfaith Blood Drive at the First Presbyterian Church, 1 West Putnam Ave., Greenwich, CT. For an appointment, please visit redcrossblood.org.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

In Case You Missed It

There are more than 100 Red Cross ERVs on the roads in Florida delivery meals and relief supplies to people struggling in hardest hit areas.

Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross has provided emergency assistance to 126 adults and 39 children following 43 local disaster responses. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (See below)

Last Week in Review

Upcoming Events and Activities
  • Make a Difference and Fall into Service this Season. Volunteer Today as a Mass Care Team Member with the American Red Cross. During large disasters, you can support the day-to-day activities within a shelter which may include working in reception, registration, feeding, dormitory, information, or other areas within a shelter. Free online training will be provided, driver’s license preferred. Sign up today.
  • Nov 5: Interfaith Blood Drive at the First Presbyterian Church, 1 West Putnam Ave., Greenwich, CT. For an appointment, please visit redcrossblood.org.

Thursday, October 6, 2022

In Case You Missed It


Many local Red Crossers like Caitlin have deployed down to Florida to provide hurricane relief.
Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross has provided emergency assistance to 158 adults and 38 children following 52 local disaster responses. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (See below)

Last Week in Review

Upcoming Events and Activities

  • Make a Difference and Fall into Service this Season. Volunteer Today as a Mass Care Team Member with the American Red Cross. During large disasters, you can support the day-to-day activities within a shelter which may include working in reception, registration, feeding, dormitory, information, or other areas within a shelter. Free online training will be provided, driver’s license preferred. Sign up today.
  • BLOOD DONATIONS ARE VITAL for kids fighting cancer, patients waiting for critical surgeries, patients living with sickle cell disease & those who need blood to survive traumatic injuries. Give blood like lives depend on it – because they do. Sign up now.

Monday, September 26, 2022

In Case You Missed It

Long Island Heroes Among Us Gala was once again held at the Oheka Castle. (Photo: Kevin Suttlehan)
Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross has provided emergency assistance to 72 adults and 19 children following 35 local disaster responses. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (See below)

Last Week in Review
Upcoming Events and Activities
  • Sep 28: Learn how to become a Disaster Action Team Responder in Westchester, Rockland County or Greenwich CT during this in-person information session.
  • Make a Difference and Fall into Service this Season. Volunteer Today as a Mass Care Team Member with the American Red Cross. During large disasters, you can support the day-to-day activities within a shelter which may include working in reception, registration, feeding, dormitory, information, or other areas within a shelter. Free online training will be provided, driver’s license preferred. Sign up today.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

In Case You Missed It

Sound the Alarm on Long Island. (Photo: Lori-Ann Pizzarelli)
Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross has provided emergency assistance to 259 adults and 96 children following 66 local disaster responses. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (See below)

Last Week in Review
Upcoming Events and Activities
  • Sep 21: Interested in volunteering with the Red Cross? Learn about volunteer positions with disaster preparedness, communications, volunteer services and much more at our upcoming Prospective Volunteer Information Session. Sign up and come listen, learn and ask your questions!
  • Sep 22: The #RedCrossGala on Sep. 22 will recognize civic leaders and heroic individuals who embody our humanitarian mission. Purchase tickets today!
  • Sep 28: Learn how to become a Disaster Action Team Responder in Westchester, Rockland County or Greenwich CT during this in-person information session.
  • Make a Difference and Fall into Service this Season. Volunteer Today as a Mass Care Team Member with the American Red Cross. During large disasters, you can support the day-to-day activities within a shelter which may include working in reception, registration, feeding, dormitory, information, or other areas within a shelter. Free online training will be provided, driver’s license preferred. Sign up today.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

In Case You Missed It

Preparedness in the Park event held at J. Hood Wright Park. (Photo: Michael Koster)

Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross has provided emergency assistance to 110 adults and 35 children following 38 local disaster responses. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (See below)

Last Week in Review

Upcoming Events and Activities



Sunday, September 11, 2022

Remembering 9/11: D.A.R.T. – A Brotherhood of Service


The heroic actions of the firefighters who rushed into the smoke and flames of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 are almost legendary. They gave so much, and 343 paid the ultimate price, giving up their lives to save the lives of others. What few people may know is that five of those who perished were members of the Red Cross Disaster Assistance Response Team, or D.A.R.T., a group of firefighters with Red Cross training who donate their time to help others.

D.A.R.T. was formed as a partnership between the FDNY and the American Red Cross in Greater New York in 1989, when 18 active-duty firefighters responded to an urgent Red Cross call for bilingual volunteers to help 90,000 families in Puerto Rico devastated by Hurricane Hugo. The firefighters were trained by Red Cross and then deployed to Puerto Rico with Red Cross.

Since then, disaster responses have taken members of D.A.R.T. to some of the largest, most devastating natural and human-caused calamities of the last two decades. None hit closer to home than the tragic events of September 11th, 2001.

On that day, D.A.R.T. members numbered 110, most of them active-duty firefighters. Many D.A.R.T. members rushed to lower Manhattan with their respective fire companies, running into the smoke and flames to save lives.

Luis Fragoso, the current chair of the organization, and one of the founding members of D.A.R.T., was assigned to RAC-4 on Roosevelt Island on 9/11, where Special Ops is headquartered. Later that morning, he responded to Ground Zero, where he worked on and off until the end of January.

Fragoso remembers calling into the D.A.R.T phone message line and hearing dozens of messages from retired firefighters who were eager to help with the rescue and recovery operation. (Active firefighters, who were on call at their respective firehouses during this period, were unable to respond with D.A.R.T.)

Fragoso asked two other D.A.R.T. members, Ret. Captain Francis J. Bernard and Ret. Lieutenant Matthew Kiernan, to run the 9/11 D.A.R.T. operation. Bernard and Kiernan stepped up and worked out of the Red Cross Brooklyn chapter, retrieving calls and assigning D.A.R.T. member the tasks of assisting the families.

Many of the more than 120 retired FDNY responders who assisted D.A.R.T. during the 9/11 relief effort eventually joined the group.

Mike Mondello was one of those firefighters.

On 9/11 Mondello was home with his grandchildren in Rockland County, watching TV “in shock.” He immediately packed his gear onto his truck and headed to New York City. Finding the bridges closed, he turned back, ending up at a local dock, where he “hitched” a ride with a man willing to take him and three nurses who also needed transportation to Manhattan on a small private boat. “I can’t tell you what made me go to that dock or where this guy came from, but that’s something I’ll cherish my whole life,” Mondello said.

Mondello checked in with a makeshift command center set up at Ground Zero. “This was still in the opening hours. In the chaos, you picked your own assignment.” He worked at the site for about a week. Then he heard that D.A.R.T. was asking for firefighters to help out at the Red Cross Family Assistance Center at Pier 94 where survivors and family members of those who perished received food, beverages and emotional support. Mondello decided this was something he wanted to assist with.

In the six months that followed, D.A.R.T. alternated between search and recovery at Ground Zero and supporting grief-stricken families of victims. Mondello says of helping the families, "We worked 24/7, taking survivors to doctor’s appointments, shopping, wherever they had to go.”

He said it was especially meaningful for D.A.R.T. members to be helping the families of fallen firefighters. “We had a deep personal connection with them and they with us. There was a level of comfort in that they felt that a brother was taking care of a brother.” In fact, Mondello called supporting the families “a life-changing experience.”

Most, if not all, D.A.R.T. members feel the same about their D.A.R.T. service. “Without being involved with DART there would be a void in my life,” said Robert Reeg, a WTC responder who joined D.A.R.T. in 2006. “It gives you a feeling of fulfillment, and I think everybody needs a bit of that.”

Although Reeg was seriously injured on 9/11 by falling debris, he was fortunate to live to tell about his experience. Sadly, one of the five D.A.R.T. members who died was a good friend of Reeg’s, “an all-around warm, caring guy to work with and a committed firefighter.”

“It was very tough to lose those guys,” said Fragoso. “They were dedicated to D.A.R.T., dedicated to the Red Cross and dedicated to the people of New York.”

Although Mondello didn’t know the five who were lost on 9/11, he said, “They were still my brothers.”

Reeg added that the D.A.R.T members and other firefighters who lost their lives during 9/11, "died doing something they loved. We’re a brotherhood and a sisterhood and we like to give back to the community. We honor their memory by continuing to serve."

Through D.A.R.T. they are able to do just that.

The Greater New York Red Cross pays its deepest respects to the five D.A.R.T. members who lost their lives on 9/11 and to their families: LT. David J. Fontana; SQ-1, FM. Vincent D. Kane, Engine-22; LT. Thomas R. Kelly, Ladder-105; FF. Gregory Saucedo, Ladder-5; and FF. Gerard Schrang, Rescue-3. 

LT. David J. Fontana
SQ - 1

FM. Vincent D. Kane
Engine - 22

LT. Thomas R. Kelly
Ladder - 105

FF. Gregory Saucedo
Ladder - 5

FF. Gerard Schrang
Rescue - 3

Remembering 9/11: The First Few Hours of the Greater NY Red Cross Response


Every year on September 11 we reflect on that fateful day in 2001 and on the trying weeks, months and years that followed. We do so to honor those we lost, to comfort those still grieving and to thank those who gave of themselves to help us heal.

Just as our nation was forever changed, so was the Red Cross. Our organization’s relief effort—in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pa.— was one of the largest in our organization’s history. The response continued for years after the attacks and involved more than 57,000 volunteers and employees from across the country.

No one place was affected as profoundly as our great city and no Red Cross chapter was as deeply impacted than Greater New York; we were at the epicenter of the relief effort. Within moments of the first plane striking the North Tower, teams of Greater Red Cross staff sprang into action to help.

Here is their story:

Minutes after the first plane struck the North Tower, Greater New York Senior Director of Emergency Services Virginia Mewborn and Assistant Director of Operations Max Green left the chapter’s headquarters on Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan to respond to what they then thought was a small plane hitting the World Trade Center.

Green and Mewborn were planning to evaluate the situation to see how the Red Cross could best support emergency personnel at the scene. On the drive down, Green said he felt that if the building were evacuated early, “…it would have been a long-term canteen operation, where we would support emergency workers.”

As they drove, Virginia paged Red Cross Field Operations Supervisor Luis Avila and asked him to join them. Avila, who was in Queens that morning working a second job, could see the smoke from the North Tower from his location. He told his boss he was leaving, and in fact, never returned to that job. As he left, Avila watched in disbelief as the second plane banked and hit the South Tower.

Mewborn and Green, in their car, began to realize that they had not understood the scope of this incident. “As you got onto the West Side Highway you could see the smoke,” said Green. “My heart fluttered. I looked up at it, saying ‘This, this looks a lot bigger than what I thought it was.’”

The two parked on West Street, south of Chambers and walked towards the World Financial Center (WFC). They hoped to find a command group—people from partner agencies like the Office of Emergency Management (OEM), who would be coordinating this disaster response with the Red Cross.

Because her cell phone wasn’t working, Mewborn borrowed a phone at a shoe repair store to call headquarters. Greater NY Red Cross CEO Bob Bender told her four things: a second plane had hit, they were dealing with a terrorist attack, Red Cross would set up a Respite Center downtown for survivors and first responders, and he’d sent an Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) down with a Red Cross disaster responder, Kemagne Theagne, to meet them.

Mewborn and Green found a command post on West Street, right across from the Twin Towers. That’s when they saw a horrific sight—people jumping from the upper stories of the Trade Center. They decided they should not get closer; they should in fact return to the chapter to organize the Red Cross response from there.

Meanwhile, Avila had arrived in lower Manhattan and parked on West and Vesey. “When we get to a scene,” he said, “the first person with a vehicle tries to get as close as they can.” He continued on foot to 7 World Trade, where OEM’s offices were located. “I saw debris everywhere, I was wading through rubble,” he said. As he began to follow a group of fire chiefs, the “haunting scenes” around him convinced Avila he should leave. He turned right to regroup with Green and Mewborn, and the first responders turned left, towards the Towers. Avila later learned they had perished.

As Avila approached the WFC he saw Mewborn and Green, and they walked inside together. “We made a deal that we were going to stay together from that point on,” he said, “that we were going to take care of one another.” Avila was able to contact his wife and let her know he was alright, then the line went dead. “What felt like an earthquake” shook the building. It was the North Tower coming down, but they didn’t know that. They thought the WFC was collapsing on top of them. Suddenly, the building’s windows exploded. Avila grabbed Mewborn and Green. They ran, along with hundreds of others, to the West Side Highway, zigzagging their way back to Green’s car.

Meanwhile, Kemagne Theagne, who had rushed down from chapter headquarters in an ERV, was on Church Street, directly in front of the Towers, trying to find the Red Cross staging area for the relief operation he believed Mewborn, Green and Avila were mounting. He had just gotten out of the ERV to help a woman who had fallen, when he heard, “Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop.” He looked up and saw the North Tower coming down, floor by floor. “I just froze; I couldn't believe this was happening.”

As people ran out of the lobby towards Theagne, a man grabbed him. The two ran together, holding one another, towards a staircase leading into a subway station with a locked gate. They were now engulfed by choking soot and debris. Theagne tried calling his three colleagues, but his Nextel radio was dead. He said to himself, “I hope, I hope, I hope they made it.”

His colleagues were on their way back to HQ. As they drove, they spotted a man in Red Cross gear they thought was Theagne. They stopped and pulled him into the car, only to realize that it was responder Barry Crumbley, who had traveled to the site on his own to find his wife, who worked in one of the Towers. (She made it out safely.)

Theagne spent the next 45 minutes at the foot of the staircase, “just waiting,” trying to breathe, until he saw some light trying to break through the smoke. “We used that little bit of sunlight to guide us out.” They climbed up the stairs and ran.

After washing himself off at a nearby deli along with dozens of others, Theagne made his way back to the ERV. “I said to myself, ‘I got to get this vehicle out of here.’” He slowly made his way out of the site in the dust-covered ERV, “driving through the spider web what was the windshield.” When he finally arrived uptown, covered in dust and ash, no one could believe he had brought the ERV back.

Mewborn, Green and Avila had already returned, also covered in soot from head to toe. “I don't know if [our colleagues] thought we were dead or they were seeing a ghost,” said Avila. “All I remember saying is give me water… I drank about two liters as quick as I could.”

After giving themselves a few moments to wash up and regroup, they remobilized with the rest of the Red Cross team. “After we realized everybody was okay, we needed to make sure that we had supplies down there,” said Avila.


They needed to get the canteen trucks (the ERVs), down to the site as quickly as possible to replenish the water for the survivors, firefighters and other emergency personnel. “Preparations had already begun when we were downtown,” Avila said, “but whatever needed to be finished we continued to do.”

That included creating a plan to send caseworkers to Penn Station, Grand Central Station and the Port Authority, to position ERVs on the West Side Highway and the FDR Drive, and to get ready to set up a relief operation at the Brooklyn Chapter.

“And we knew that help was on the way,” said Mewborn. Red Crossers were coming from upstate New York and National Red Cross headquarters in Washington, D.C. There were also lines of people inside Greater NY Red Cross headquarters, waiting to volunteer, give blood or donate money.

“In those first 12, 24, 36, 48 hours,” Mewborn said, “we registered thousands of volunteers and provided service to thousands of people in New York. We did it well, and we started the platform of how we were going to move forward.”

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

In Case You Missed It

Long Island Red Cross Community Outreach
Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross has provided emergency assistance to 88 adults and 35 children following 32 local disaster responses. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (See below)

Last Week in Review
Upcoming Events and Activities

Monday, August 29, 2022

In Case You Missed It

Red Cross Blood Drive in Ossining, NY hosted by Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick.

Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross has provided emergency assistance to 106 adults and 26 children following 35 local disaster responses. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (See below)

Last Week in Review

Upcoming Events and Activities