Two apartment fires in Anchorage this weekend- thank you for your support

Dear Red Cross of Alaska supporter,

Shelter SignageI wanted to provide an update on the two large fires Red Cross of Alaska volunteers responded to in Anchorage over the weekend. We assisted a total of 30 people in less than 48 hours and opened one shelter:

In the late evening hours of Saturday, August 11, the American Red Cross of Alaska was contacted by the Anchorage Fire Department and responded to a multi-unit home fire on Reka Street in Anchorage. The fire affected 22 units.

The Red Cross of Alaska emergency response vehicle was on scene to provide support. Red Cross volunteers also opened a common room to provide affected residents with a safe location, out of the rain, while a shelter was being prepared at the Fairview Recreation Center in Anchorage. In the on-scene common room, affected residents were provided water, restroom services and a safe and dry place to rest while the situation developed.

After local officials cleared the units for re-entry, Red Cross caseworkers escorted residents back into their homes to collect valuables and other essential items before they were relocated by the Red Cross to the overnight shelter at the Fairview Recreation Center. A total of 20 individuals checked into the shelter, and 12 stayed overnight. A total of ten Red Cross of Alaska volunteers responded and remained at the shelter overnight and on Sunday to provide blankets, cots, comfort kits, meals, snacks and emotional support to those affected.

Volunteers doing casework - Fairview Rec CenterTwo canine teams from National Crisis Response Canines, as well as Red Cross disaster mental health volunteers, volunteer interpreters and two chaplains from the Alaska Police and Fire Chaplains’ Ministries were also at the shelter Sunday morning to provide comfort and support to affected residents and their families.

The Red Cross of Alaska shelter closed Sunday afternoon as most residents were able to safely move back into their units. The Red Cross of Alaska opened for case assistance at 10:00 this morning at the chapter office on 235 E. 8th Ave, Suite 200, Anchorage, AK 99501 to provide additional assistance to residents displaced by the fire.

Just as the Fairview Rec Center shelter wrapped, volunteers received a second call Sunday night. There was another multiunit fire, this time near Midtown, at the intersection of Tudor and Cordova. Five Red Cross volunteers responded, immediately providing blankets, comfort kits and snacks to the families, as well as financial assistance for lodging.

Thank you to volunteers Dave, Armando, Suzanne, Sonja, Marina, Bruce, Taryn, Susan, Rolf and James for responding and providing comfort and care.

And last but most definitely not least, I would like to thank you.

This morning, I watched residents from the fires stream in and out of the office to receive additional Red Cross assistance. Young kids played patiently while their parents spoke with their caseworkers. I could hear volunteers discussing what will happen next and giving advice on how to move forward. I caught a glimpse of volunteer team captain, Suzanne as she offered one more hug to a group of young adults as they left the office. They looked tired but relieved as they hugged Suzanne goodbye.

All of this was made possible through your generous support.

On behalf of all the people we’re helping, thank you!

We need your support to continue addressing the urgent needs of people devastated by disasters here in Alaska. Families with nowhere to turn rely on compassionate individuals for relief and hope. Can they count on you today?

To donate to disaster relief in Alaska, please contact me at 907-646-5401, or visit https://www.redcross.org/donate/donation.html/ to support your local Alaska chapter.

Thank you,

Lisa Miller

Regional Chief Development Officer

American Red cross of Alaska

Red Cross of Alaska Community Outreach in Kotzebue, Kiana and Noatak

Jacob and Shayne in Kiana

Shayne Jones, disaster program manager, and Jacob Walker, disaster program specialist for the American Red Cross of Alaska, traveled to Kotzebue, Kiana, and Noatak on July 12-13, 2018 to meet with leaders within each community, install free smoke alarms in local residences, and teach Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) shelter training.

On July 12 in Kotzebue, Jones and Walker met with Chris Hatch, village public safety officer (VPSO), to discuss The Pillowcase Project training opportunities so that in the future, project presentations can be given in local schools by a VPSO. The Pillowcase Project is a national program offered in schools, after-school programs, summer camps, and in other youth education facilities to teach 3rd – 5th grade students and their families how to prepare for disasters. Hatch also expressed interest in facilitating participation by the VPSO program in the American Red Cross Home Fire Campaign, so that VPSOs can help install smoke alarms in their respective communities in the future.

On July 12, Jones and Walker flew to Noatak to teach FEMA shelter training. There were eleven participants in the training, all affiliated with the local government. Following the training, participants updated their Small Community Emergency Response Plan (SCERP) to incorporate the Red Cross of Alaska in their sheltering protocol.

On July 13, Jones and Walker traveled to Kiana and met with the local VPSO, Justin Lantier Novelli. While in Kiana, they taught FEMA shelter training, as well as general preparedness training. Following the training, they installed 50 smoke alarms with the help of the VPSO and spoke to several residents about their preparedness plans in the event of a disaster.

Future meetings with these communities are planned for after the start of the 2018-2019 school year, so that school administrators can be included in these crucial conversations.

The Red Cross of Alaska serving the Far North and Interior would like to thank Clara Jones, Dicky Moto and Elizabeth Ferguson of the Northwest Arctic Borough and the Arctic Slope Community Foundation for making these valuable opportunities possible.

Northwest Arctic Borough Logo

Arctic Slope Community Foundation Logo

 

Red Cross of Alaska Announces New Board Chair

John Moore

John Moore, ExxonMobil Alaska’s Senior Advisor for Public and Government Affairs, elected as 2018 Board Chair for the American Red Cross of Alaska

The American Red Cross of Alaska announced this month that John Moore, ExxonMobil Alaska’s Senior Advisor for Public and Government Affairs, was elected as the 2018 Board Chair for the American Red Cross of Alaska. He was preceded by Josh Howes, President of Premier Alaska Tours, who completed his tenure as 2017 Board Chair on June 30, 2018.

Moore joined the Board for the Red Cross of Alaska in late 2016, and was appointed Chair-Elect soon after. His term as Board Chair will run from July 1, 2018 through July 1, 2019. “I’ve always loved the Red Cross and the work that they do,” Moore said. “Every day Red Cross staff and volunteers are serving Alaskans, and I am both humbled and appreciative of the opportunity to serve and support the Red Cross mission.”

Throughout his work in government and then the humanitarian and develop sectors, Moore has worked in Nepal, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq, among other locations. For the past ten years, Moore has helped to manage ExxonMobil’s social investment and community relations, first in Iraq and then in Papua New Guinea. Now based in Anchorage, Moore helps design and oversee ExxonMobil’s social investment and community relations efforts around the state. “Alaska is a place I dreamed about as a boy back in Virginia, and I’m thrilled to be here,” he said.

Moore’s skillsets in leadership and community relations will be an asset to the Red Cross as it strives to fulfill its mission to alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies. In 2018, Moore is joined by Chair-Elect Buddy Custard, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Alaska Maritime Prevention and Response Network, and Board Secretary Joseph Gerace, proprietor of Dimond Chevron.

About the American Red Cross of Alaska:
The American Red Cross of Alaska offers food, shelter, comfort and hope to Alaskans when disasters strike. The Red Cross of Alaska is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers to perform its mission. We are not a government agency, and we rely primarily on the generosity of our fellow Alaskans and businesses to help us fund our vital programs. For more information, please visit redcross.org/Alaska or follow us on Twitter at @redcrossak.

Sound the Alarm. Save a Life. Spring Recap

Joe Gerace installing alarm use for Crossroads newsletter photo

Every year, the American Red Cross responds to nearly 64,000 disasters – the vast majority of which are home fires. And tragically, seven people die in home fires each day, most in homes that lack working smoke alarms.

There were 15 civilian fatalities due to residential structure fires in Alaska in 2016, according to the report Fire In Alaska by the State of Alaska Department of Public Safety Division of Fire and Life Safety. Of the fires that killed 15 civilians in 2016, only three of the 12 homes had working smoke alarms.

This past spring, the American Red Cross of Alaska took part in  Sound the Alarm, the nationwide Red Cross effort to help reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by home fires. The goal was to install 100,000 smoke alarms in 100 cities across the U.S.

The Red Cross of Alaska exceeded its goal of 850 smoke alarms, installing 888 smoke alarms in communities across the state at no cost to residents. Red Cross volunteers and local partners canvased neighborhoods, installed free 10-year lithium battery smoke alarms, replace batteries in existing alarms and help families create fire escape plans.

Cari with familySpring events took place in Alaska in the Far North and Interior, Southcentral, Mat-Su, Kodiak and the Southeast.

There’s still time for you to help Sound the Alarm. Save a Life:

How to Help:

Volunteer

To learn more about how you can volunteer, visit http://www.redcross.org/local/alaska/volunteer or call the Red Cross at 907-646-5401.

Donate

$15 provides one smoke alarm, installation and fire safety training. Donate to support our effort here.

Discuss home fire safety with your family

Download our Fire Prevention & Safety Checklist here and discuss with your family today.

Please join this important effort. Together, we can Sound the Alarm about fire safety and help save lives.

Thank you to our Sound the Alarm Alaska sponsors:

Alaska Airlines Logo

Arctic Slope Community Foundation LogoDonlin Gold Logo

Elks USA Logo - Small

Joanna L. Moss 

 

Kinross Fort Knox Logo - Small

Kuskokwim Corporation Logo

Matson Logo - Small

Midnight Sun Brewing Co Logo - Small

Ravn Alaska Logo - Small

 

Visit Anchorage Logo - Small

 

MidnightSunBrewingCo

View the full photo album from our Sound the Alarm events here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/127553077@N04/albums/72157669400231548/with/28479617008/

 

Real Heroes Breakfast 2018 Recap

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Each year the Red Cross of Alaska Real Heroes Breakfast, sponsored by ConocoPhillips, shines a spotlight on everyday Alaskans who have committed extraordinary, selfless acts of bravery.
They have saved lives, changed their communities for the better and made a difference.
Like the Red Cross, they have taken it upon themselves to prevent and alleviate suffering for those in need.
In April we celebrated those moments where hope prevailed, compassion triumphed and ordinary citizens have acted, with resolve, often without regard to their own safety, to help a fellow Alaskan.
Below are the ten award categories from the 2018 breakfast, the videos that aired at the event, the generous sponsor for each award and the name of the individuals honored:

Marine Rescue:

Hero: Captain Christian Trosvig
Sponsored by: Dowland-Bach
In July 2017, Captain Christian Trosvig and his crew of three were returning after an afternoon salmon fishing in the Kupreanof Straight off the coast of Alaska’s Raspberry Island. Their vessel, the Grayling began to take on water. After making a distress call, the Grayling rolled, throwing Trosvig and the three fishermen overboard. All but one fisherman made it out of the water safely. Trosvig dove back into 40-degree water and swam through rough conditions to rescue the unconscious crewman. Once onboard the rescue boat, Trosvig performed CPR and revived the fisherman. Thanks to Trosvig’s heroic efforts, all four fishermen survived the incident.

Transportation Safety:

Sponsored by: BP Alaska
The Anchorage Police department stepped up to fill a policing void on the heavily traveled Seward Highway—an area where an average of 10,000 vehicles travel each day. In October 2017, APD began patrolling mile 75 to 112 of the Seward Highway thanks to a legislative grant. APD, with the help of other community members, solved an ongoing transportation safety concern that will undoubtedly lead to lives saved.

Wilderness Rescue:

Hero: Obadiah Jenkins
Obadiah Jenkins had just finished his pre-race run in preparation for the Six Mile Creek Whitewater & Bluegrass Festival in August of 2017 when he heard a cry for help from a spectator. There was a man nearby who’s kayak flipped and was dumped out, and he was pinned partially under water. After several rescue attempts by a crew of kayakers, the man lost consciousness and was fully submerged under water. Risking his own safety, Jenkins jumped in and pulled the man out of harms way. The man was resuscitated and taken to a hospital where he was quickly released, thanks to Jenkins’ act of bravery.

Military/Law Enforcement Rescue:

Hero: Chaplain Brian Phipps
Sponsored by: Walmart Eagle River
According to his peers, Chaplain Brian Phipps displays character, integrity, and dedication to the chaplaincy that is above reproach. He single-handedly coordinated, planned, and executed three memorial services, a funeral, and family support for three deceased Paratroopers within the Spartan Brigade over the second half of 2017. Chaplain Phipps is also the primary Brigade instructor for Suicide Awareness training, among a host of other classes that he provides in support of Soldier resiliency within the Spartan Brigade. Through all of this, in such a condensed amount of time, he persisted with a great attitude, and accomplished what was most definitely an overwhelming set of tasks.

Alaska/Slope Safety:

Heroes: The Southeast Alaska Dogs Organized for Ground Search (SEADOGS)
Sponsored by: ExxonMobil Alaska
The Southeast Alaska Dogs Organized for Ground Search (SEADOGS) is a volunteer nonprofit search and rescue organization dedicated to training and handling search dogs in Southeast Alaska. Dogs can be certified in several different skills, including finding human remains, avalanche search, and rescue and water training. Certified handlers are on 24-hour call, and available within 40 minutes or less of notification for a search. Every year SEADOGS participates in searches involving everything from lost hunters to suicide victims.

Youth Good Samaritan:

Heroes: Losefa Riley John and Seth Gerrin
Fourteen-year-old Losefa Riley John and three of his friends were at Cope Park in March 2017, when they witnessed a young boy lose his footing while hiking, and fall into Gold Creek. The waters were running fast and the boy became stuck between a fence and a tree, in an area where the water can get up to eight feet deep. John quickly slid down the side of the cliff to the boy, pulled him out of the water, and carried him to safety where paramedics were just arriving on the scene. Thanks to John’s act of bravery, the young boy only suffered minor bumps and bruises that day.

Adult Good Samaritan:

Hero: Andrew Cunningham
Andrew Cunningham took off across Eklutna Lake via standup paddleboard in September 2017, his destination a public use cabin more than three miles down the lake. When he noticed an overturned tandem kayak, he paddled closer to find a second tandem kayak overturned, and two struggling in the cold water. The two individuals held on to the paddle board while Cunningham fought choppy waves for an hour trip back to shore. Cunningham listened to his gut when he saw the abandoned kayak and ended up saving two lives that day.

Medical Rescue:

Hero: Nenana Fire Chief Joe Forness
When Nenana Fire Chief Joe Forness began experiencing chest pains, his wife, Larenda Forness, a Nenana Fire Lieutenant, called an ambulance. On his way to the hospital, his chest pain slowed. When the ambulance came across a collision between a snow machine and vehicle with someone in critical condition, Forness did what he does best. He put his own health risks to the side and began helping the collision victim. After getting the victim to the hospital and handing off to the ER team, Forness felt the chest pain return. After assisting the collision victim, Forness was airlifted to Anchorage, where he underwent quintuple coronary artery bypass surgery.

Workplace Safety:

Heroes: Kimberly Dang, Breanna Love and Larry Davis
Sponsored by: ConocoPhillips
Kimberly Dang, Breanna Love and Larry Davis were three key responders on July 22, when a ConocoPhillips employee experienced a sudden and extreme cardiac event just after 4 a.m. in Kuparuk. Through the team’s immediate and sustained efforts, their co-worker presented with return of spontaneous circulation and was successfully transported to the onsite medical clinic. Their co-worker was then successfully stabilized and medevac’d from the remote North Slope facility to higher level care and ultimately returned home safely to friends and family. Nationwide, similar events average single digit survival rates.

Fire Rescue:

Hero: Andrew Engelking
Andrew Engelking and his family lived in unit 303 at the Royal Suite Apartments, not far from where the flames started on the morning of February 15, 2017 when the building caught fire. With his family’s lives on the line, Engelking’s adrenaline kicked in. After jumping three stories to the ground and breaking his own leg, Engelking proceeded to catch his children and pregnant wife. His new daughter, Liberty, was delivered prematurely by emergency cesarean section the day of the fire. Thanks to his quick actions and heroic efforts, he and his family are safe and well.
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Red Cross Helps 66 Alaskans in the Month of March

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The American Red Cross of Alaska responds to calls for assistance, on average, almost once a day state-wide. In March, 66 people were assisted; of those assisted, at least 12 were children under the age of 18.  Including, 5 who were listed as young children (0-5).

VOLUNTEERS, all across the state, give up their free time to make this amount of help in their communities possible.

Breakdown of service by area:

Anchorage: 25 individuals received aid.

Kasigluk: 2 individuals receive aid.

Fairbanks: 12 individuals received aid.

Juneau: 3 individuals received aid.

Soldotna: 5 individuals received aid.

Ketchikan: 5 individuals received aid.

Wasilla: 3 individuals received aid.

Diomede: 2 individuals received aid.

Barrow: 4 individuals received aid.

Craig: 4 individuals received aid.

Valdez: 1 individuals received aid.

 

About the American Red Cross of Alaska:
In FY17, the American Red Cross of Alaska offered food, shelter, comfort and hope to 949 Alaskans. We responded to 305 disasters.  Our preparedness / Health and Safety teams installed 2,311 smoke alarms statewide and educated 1,884 youth through our Pillowcase Project. Additionally, our Service to the Armed Forces staff exchanged 957 emergency messages for U.S. military service personnel 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
redcross.org/Alaska or visit us on Twitter at @redcrossak.

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One year later- Thank you for supporting the Red Cross response to the Royal Suites apartment fire

Originally published February 15, 2018
A year ago today, I stood in the Spenard Rec Center and watched about 15 elementary-aged children whiz back and forth on roller boards. They looked like any other group of kids getting some indoor exercise on a cold Anchorage morning.
The wheel boards came to a halt when a Red Cross volunteer and her therapy dog entered the gym. The kids gathered around the pup, eager to have a turn to pet. As they formed a semi-circle and calmly played with their new furry friend, the tragedy they just faced began to unfold. The children talked to the puppy about how they had to jump out of their window that morning because their home was on fire. They described how cold the snow was with only socks on their feet. They talked about how fast they had to get out and how scared they were. The dog’s handler nodded and listened, not saying much, but asked a few opened ended questions to allow the children to grieve.
children petting dogThis week marks the one-year anniversary of the Royal Suites 30-plex apartment fire in the Spenard area. I’d like to say thank you to our community for coming together to support our response efforts that morning.
Because of your generous support, those kids had a warm place to go after losing everything. They had a safe place to sleep with their families. They had toiletries and a warm shower. The school bus picked them up from the Red Cross shelter at the Spenard Rec Center, so they stayed on schedule with their regular daily routine. When they came home to the shelter they had pasta for dinner.
Immediate needs vary for everyone after a disaster. For one person that meant replacing prescription medicines he needed right away. For another it meant new eyeglasses. For many it meant a hug and a friendly person to tell them what they should do next.
Because of your generosity, more than 60 individuals had their immediate needs met when they lost everything and had nowhere to turn. This is your generosity in action and YOU made this help possible.
The Red Cross of Alaska continues to respond on average almost daily to home fires and to help those whose lives have been turned upside down by disaster. Our work is 365 days per year, 24 hours a day.
We could never do it without you.
Sincerely,
Lisa Miller, Red Cross of Alaska chief development officer

Red Cross Helps 89 Alaskans in the Month of February

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The American Red Cross of Alaska responds to calls for assistance, on average, almost once a day state-wide. In February, 89 people were assisted; of those assisted, at least 15 were children under the age of 18.  Including, 9 who were listed as young children (0-5).

VOLUNTEERS, all across the state, give up their free time to make this amount of help in their communities possible.

Breakdown of service by area:

Anchorage: 45 individuals received aid.

Fairbanks: 18 individuals received aid.

North Pole: 2 individuals received aid.

Homer: 2 individuals received aid.

Kenai: 8 individuals received aid.

Ketchikan: 1 individuals received aid.

Wasilla: 12 individuals received aid.

White Mountain: 1 individuals received aid.

About the American Red Cross of Alaska:
In FY17, the American Red Cross of Alaska offered food, shelter, comfort and hope to 949 Alaskans. We responded to 305 disasters.  Our preparedness / Health and Safety teams installed 2,311 smoke alarms statewide and educated 1,884 youth through our Pillowcase Project. Additionally, our Service to the Armed Forces staff exchanged 957 emergency messages for U.S. military service personnel 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
redcross.org/Alaska or visit us on Twitter at @redcrossak.

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Voice of Volunteers: Meet Sandi

Did you know that the Red Cross of Alaska deploys volunteers around the country and around the world, to assist in the aftermath of disasters? Have you considered deploying? If you have, but weren’t sure if you had the necessary skills, volunteer Sandi Hodges can set your mind at ease:  “You just have to have a lot of patience and be flexible.”

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Sandi outside of the Red Cross shelter at the University of California Santa Barbara. The shelter assisted those impacted by the Thomas fire. (photo courtesy of Sandi Hodges)

Sandi knows what she is talking about, having participated in one local deployment and three deployments outside of Alaska. She’s provided relief for those displaced by the Sockeye Fire near Willow, conducted disaster assessment in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, staffed a shelter for those affected by Hurricane Harvey, and traveled to California to assist those impacted by the Thomas fire.

“I joined the Red Cross as a nurse,” Sandi says, and usually serves in that capacity. During a deployment, Sandi spends her 12-hour days connecting clients with mental health services, assisting them in filling prescriptions, providing basic medical care, and perhaps most importantly, lending a listening ear. “People want to tell their tales and want to be heard…you just have to be there to listen to them. Sometimes they just need a shoulder to cry on.”

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The Red Cross established a shelter in Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The photo shows one of four dorms. (photo courtesy of Sandi Hodges)

It can be exhausting work, but Sandi takes comfort in the support she receives from the Red Cross. The organization “really takes care of their people,” she says, “I’m proud to be associated with them and feel happy with the organization.”

Such support allows Sandi to focus on what is really important: the clients. She remembers one instance, passing out food and water to a hurricane-ravaged community. Her group “came up upon one family; they’d lost everything and were really confused and devastated.” After completing the day’s work, Sandi’s group returned to assist the family by emptying the house of its ruined contents. “We just kind of helped the family…overcome the immensity of the whole scene,” she says.

Sandi has found her deployment experiences to be intensely rewarding. She says, “My MO most of my life is helping and volunteering. It’s a nice fit for me and a good feeling.”

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Red Cross volunteers on their way to provide assistance to those displaced by Hurricane Harvey. (photo courtesy of Sandi Hodges)

If you are interested in deploying with the Red Cross, please learn more at www.redcross.org/local/alaska/volunteer.

Red Cross Helps 113 Alaskans in the Month of January

RedCross AK image

The American Red Cross of Alaska responds to calls for assistance, on average, almost once a day state-wide. In January, 113 people were assisted; of those assisted, at least 42 were children under the age of 18.  Including, 10 who were listed as young children (0-5).

VOLUNTEERS, all across the state, give up their free time to make this amount of help in their communities possible.

Breakdown of service by area:

Anchorage: 54 individuals received aid.

Nunapitchuk: 7 individuals received aid.

Fairbanks: 3 individuals received aid.

North Pole: 8 individuals received aid.

Juneau: 4 individuals received aid.

Anchor Point: 3 individuals received aid.

Soldotna: 8 individuals received aid.

Kenai: 14 individuals received aid.

Homer: 1 individual received aid.

Palmer: 3 individuals received aid.

Wasilla: 7 individuals received aid.

Gambell: 1 individuals received aid.

About the American Red Cross of Alaska:
In FY17, the American Red Cross of Alaska offered food, shelter, comfort and hope to 949 Alaskans. We responded to 305 disasters.  Our preparedness / Health and Safety teams installed 2,311 smoke alarms statewide and educated 1,884 youth through our Pillowcase Project. Additionally, our Service to the Armed Forces staff exchanged 957 emergency messages for U.S. military service personnel 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
redcross.org/Alaska or visit us on Twitter at @redcrossak.

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