American Red Cross of Southeastern Connecticut Newsletter
web edition
A Quarterly Publication Spring 2000

Serving all of New London County; Canterbury, Plainfield and Sterling in Windham County; and Fishers Island, New York

150 Eugene O’Neill Drive
New London, CT  06320
Tel: 860-447-3248    Fax: 860-447-0053
E-mail: [email protected]    Website:

Vol. 6; No. 1

 From 1917 through 1941, the American Red Cross traditionally launched its membership-building enrollment drives or “roll calls” in November.  But the coming of war in December 1941 changed the situation quickly.  The Red Cross had to launch a $50 million fund campaign shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor to support its projected war work.  But the timing of the war campaign, coming so soon after the last roll call, concerned Red Cross leaders about the coming enrollment drive for November 1942. It was decided that in fairness to the contributors, the traditional enrollment campaign for 1942 should be postponed until the following year and merged with the annual war drive.  President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, as honorary chairman, agreed and designated March as National Red Cross Month for 1943 and thereafter.

Today, local Red Cross Chapters across the nation still conduct their Annual Fund Drive, along with a number of special activities, in celebration of Red Cross Month. This is a special effort to generate from the community the financial support needed to prepare for disasters and sustain many other Red Cross services.  We hope you will support local Red Cross programs this March by participating in our special events or by making a gift to our “Year 2000 Fund Drive.”

Sunday, March 12, 2-4:30 PM
Foxwoods Resort Casino
Grand Pequot Tower Hotel Acapulco Room

All volunteer staff active within the past year are cordially invited!

Is lack of transportation preventing you from attending? Are you willing to give another volunteer a ride?  If you answer “yes” to either, please call Laura, Erica, or Linda at 860-447-3248. We can't promise--but we'll try to help connect those who need with those who can provide a ride!  We would like for all volunteers to attend!

Mark Your Calendars!

  March 12………...……….Volunteer Recognition
  March 16-19……………   ……………..SNEDI
  March 26……….……10th Annual Swim-A-Cross
  April 18-24……………..National Volunteer Week
  May 8……………...….……World Red Cross Day

From the Chairman:

In my last column, I wrote that I could count on your support as we begin our next 90 years of service. I am now asking for that support. As our services grow, we need more volunteers.  We need community leaders to serve on our board and to direct our committees. We need more drivers to drive clients to and from medical appointments.  Volunteers are needed to staff area blood drives. We need mentors to work with our youth.

I was amazed to learn that 98% of all Red Cross work is done by volunteers. To continue this tradition of service, we need your help. Our commitment to you is to provide support, clear expectations, and guidance from the outset.

When I started volunteering for the Red Cross, I was not entirely sure what I was getting myself into.  I’m still learning about the many facets of this organization, but I know that the time I put in pales in comparison to the return on my investment.  This is why I continue, and why I ask you to be a part of the Red Cross family.

To learn more about volunteer opportunities, please call either Laura Galgowski or Matthew Gallagher.  They will be able to help you determine where you can best use your skills.

Please call us today – you won’t be sorry you did. In fact, you might be sorry if you don’t call.  We need you. Your neighbors here in southeastern Connecticut need you.

From the Director:

As many of you know, we started our 90th Anniversary year with a great celebration at the Norwich Inn and Spa.  We will continue our celebration with our Volunteer Recognition and Swim-A-Cross in March.

March will be busy for us as we are hosting the Southern New England Disaster Institute once again and continue with the day-to-day programs and services.  Our paid and volunteer staff has served our community for 90 years, performing simple tasks and heroic acts…all to fulfill our mission. Today, we continue this proud tradition.

We made it through Y2K with no significant problems. Our paid and volunteer staff was on call, ready to respond, and, luckily, all the preparation paid off. Thanks to everyone who was ready, willing, and able to help our neighbors.

When the President of the United States declares March as “Red Cross Month,” we pause to enjoy the recognition.  Then, we are back to work helping our neighbors in need. Ninety-eight percent of the work of the American Red Cross is done by volunteers.  That is an amazing statistic. I have always known our volunteer staff to be the best, but to see it in black and white truly drives home the point.  I don’t plan to leave the Red Cross as a paid employee, but if I did, I know I would want to continue to be a part of this great organization as a volunteer staff member. I am always impressed by the dedication of our volunteer staff. You are truly remarkable!

Board of Directors

Chairman Kevin Murphy
Vice Chairman Earl Colella
Treasurer Jerry Brand
Secretary Denise Schanbeck
David Alexander
Angela Arnold
Jim Chambers
Darren Courtright
Thomas Haas
Leon Jacobs
Mark Princevalle
Vincent Roemmele
Jonathan Shenkin
Myron Tethal

Office Staff
Executive Director Matthew J. Gallagher
Assistant to Executive Director Ann Celico
Director,  Community Services Laura Galgowski
Community Services Assistant Erica Mascarello
Comptroller Debbie Watrous
Director,  Disaster Services Sue Rochester
Director,  Financial Development Lee McLallen
Director,  Health & Safety Services Alan Bush
Health & Safety Assistant Rita Themig
Director of Marketing Pam Najarian
Volunteer Receptionist  Alice Jackson

Newsletter Editors
Joanne Brantley
Lee McLallen


Hi!  Hope you all had a happy holiday season.  We all made it through Y2K.  Now, it is time to roll up our sleeves and spring into action!

First on our plate is our 10th Annual Swim-A-Cross. This event will take place on March 26 from 10 am to 2 pm at the Waterford High School Pool and is open to all ages. The Mashantucket Community Center will hold a second event on March 27. Anyone interested in helping to coordinate, set up, run, or participate in the Swim-A-Cross, please call as we do need your help. Another way you can help is to obtain sponsorships from family, friends, and coworkers. If you are not able to participate, perhaps you can recruit sponsors for those who do.

On the subject of volunteering, we are in need of people to do the following types of presentations: First Aid, Babysitting, and Basic Aid Training (BAT). Schools, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, and other groups request short presentations on a number of topics. We would like to compile a list of people whom we can call to meet these requests. If you have time and would like to talk to groups, give us a call. We are also creating a schedule of babysitting classes and we need instructors. If you are certified to teach babysitting and have time to teach a class, please call us. There is a large demand for babysitting classes…you will not be bored!

Thank you to those who attended our two open houses.  It was a pleasure to meet you and to get some information to you. For those who could not attend, we are considering having another open house, possibly in late April. We are using this opportunity to provide you with the Instructor Resource Manual and to cover some other information. We have had some good discussions at these events, so I hope you can attend.

Take care and have a great spring!

“The American Red Cross is a light in the darkness, and it is the duty of all of us to see that it does not go out.” – Albert Einstein (1879-1955)


Our Chapter is participating in a statewide initiative to encourage youth involvement in the American Red Cross, with a focus on leadership roles. If you would like to be a mentor or contribute in some way in fostering youth programs, we could use your help. If you know of a youth or young adult active in the Red Cross, we have three youth conferences coming up this spring. They will be on March 25 in Cromwell, April 24 in Bridgeport, and on May 13 in Cromwell.  Contact Al or Laura at the Red Cross office for details!

Photo:  Youth volunteer Dan Fenton, age 17, calls volunteers to staff area blood drives.


We are happy to announce a collaborative effort with the Kinder Artistas Gallery in Gales Ferry, to support Red Cross services. Fouad and Joanne Talfillis have agreed to work with the Chapter to sell note cards depicting artwork by children affected by any type of violence.  Children in Herzegovina, Bosnia and Bangladesh make the first two cards from work. The proceeds will support projects for children in these and other countries affected by the violence associated with war and conflict.  We sincerely thank Fouad and Joanne for their idea and for their willingness to share the beautiful work of these children.

We are also working with the Kinder Artistas Gallery as they work to create the world’s largest multicultural children’s mural.  This special mural will be displayed for the first time during Opsail 2000 this summer. Please see the enclosed information sheet for more details.


Erica Mascarello, Community Services Assistant, will soon be leaving us for a warmer climate as the Navy calls her husband, Scott, to his next duty station. We will greatly miss Erica and her dedication to the Red Cross, her sense of humor, and her kindness and concern for all.  Erica’s last day will be March 9.  Please join us in wishing her a very fond farewell.

We introduce Linda Davis as our new Community Services Assistant. Linda comes to us from Arizona, via Washington State (her life partner, Matthew, is also in the military). Because Linda has been busy training with Erica, absorbing information at an astonishing rate, we know the transition will be smooth.  Welcome, Linda!

Goodbye is not forever…
-Erica L. Mascarello

Although I will be leaving my position as Community Services Assistant at the American Red Cross of Southeastern CT on March 9, I will not say goodbye. This Chapter and all of its extended family, to include all the wonderful paid and volunteer staff, will remain in my heart and memory forever.  All of you have created a niche in my life that can never be replaced.  When I came to this Chapter over a year and a half ago, I thought my position was very temporary. I quickly learned that once you enter the Red Cross family, you are indeed “family” forever.  On my departure, I would like to thank all of the wonderful paid and volunteer staff whom I have had the opportunity to work with and to let them know how they have indeed changed my life. A piece of me will always remain here. To quote Robert Frost, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”  Thank you one and all.  I will truly miss you.


We recently welcomed a new addition to our Red Cross family.  Mario Bruno, the new Southern New England Disaster Specialist, is using our chapter as his home base. Mario is a National Red Cross employee who has been hired to provide support to all the Red Cross chapters in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.  He began his Red Cross experience in the same way that the majority of Red Cross paid staff members do – as a volunteer.  Mario has been a very active member of the Central Massachusetts Chapter’s disaster services program.  He is also a HAM radio operator, Red Cross First Aid Instructor, and Emergency Medical Technician.  Stop by and welcome Mario to Southeastern CT!


Joanne Brantley for her assistance in editing the Spring Issue of the newsletter.

The great folks at SARAH, Inc. for assembling the quarterly newsletter.


Congratulations to Janice & John Ricketts on the birth of their son, Kirk John Ricketts, on January 17.  Proud grandparents are Carol & Roger Harkness.  Janice, Carol, & Roger are ALL Health & Safety Instructors.


The Southern New England Disaster Institute is coming to New London in just a few weeks.  More commonly pronounced “sne-dee,” this four-day “Disaster College” will bring more than 300 disaster workers from all over the United States to the Radisson Hotel in New London. This is the second year we have hosted the SNEDI here in southeastern Connecticut.

Beginner, intermediate, and advanced level classes will be given in all areas of disaster relief, including Logistics, Mass Care Feeding, Disaster Fundraising, and Emergency Assistance. Classes will also be offered in International Services and Community Disaster Education. See the course listing in the enclosed schedule.

  A Gift from the Heart!

  Roses are red, violets are blue
  Here’s a super gift suggestion for you.

  Today as you ponder over what gift to give
  Consider a gift that will help someone live.

  Instead of the candy or the card off the shelf
  Reach deep down inside and give of yourself

  Take a CPR course, give a unit of blood
  Or send a donation to victims of floods.

  But if physically unable – or have no time to spare
  A financial donation will still show that you care.

  You could be a lifeline – you could be the breath
  That altered their course between life and death.

  It doesn’t much matter how you do your part
  If only your gift comes straight from the heart.

  We’ve all witnessed heartbreak – we’ve all suffered loss
  So go to the phone and call the American Red Cross.

By Susan Huntington, R.N.
Norwich Orthopedic Group, P.C.


"...and boy, are their legs tired."  Our crew of three volunteer drivers needs a break!  Within the past six months, these terrific folks have driven people in our communities to doctor and therapy appointments for a total of more than 6000 miles! That's to California and back!  Won't you help?  If you have a license to drive, a good driving record, and are available at least four hours a month, please call Laura or Linda at 860-447-3248.

Bits & Pieces

Once again, during the month of March, American Red Cross flags will be flying over municipal buildings throughout the region.  Town officials are invited to participate in National Red Cross Month, showing their support and acknowledgement of our area volunteers.

Thanks to the Marketing Department, the chapter brochure was rewritten with a new look. Copies of this promotional piece are available upon request.

American Girl, one of the most popular pre-teen magazines in the country recently featured an article entitled “100 Great Things About Being a Girl!”  Included in the listing are Harry Potter books, glow-in-the-dark retainers, on-line homework helpers, and the opportunity to “take a safety course from the Red Cross and become your neighborhood’s star [baby]sitter.”

RED CROSS WEB SITES   The Southeastern CT Chapter's home page.  The American Red Cross public web site contains info about all programs and services, with special features such as news, the virtual museum, current community campaigns, and job postings.  ICRC  (International Committee of the Red Cross) Info about international relief, programs,  and activities.