Wisconsin American Red Cross volunteers continue to help with clean up efforts after floods in California, along with hurricane recovery in Ft. Myers. 

Kyle Kreigl, Executive Director of Red Cross SW WI Chapter, spoke about their efforts and more at the Feb. 2 Waunakee Rotary meeting. 

The organization’s mission is to prevent and alleviate human suffering due to natural disasters and more. Currently, 24,000 people in the United States are assisted by the Red Cross. 

In addition to disaster response and preparedness, the Red Cross also conducts blood drives and training, particularly in CPR, for lifeguards and for babysitters. 

It organizes about 60,000 responses per year. Some of those have been to fires, Kyle said. Wisconsin saw a larger number of home fires in January with eight fatalities for the month. That’s prompted the nonprofit to launch an educational campaign and give away smoke detectors. Kyle said in the event of a home fire, escaping as quickly as possible is important since furniture emits toxic fumes as it burns. 

The Red Cross prevention effort has resulted in a special smoke alarm installation day set for April 15 in this area. What had been the town of Madison will be targeted, but anyone is welcome to notify the Red Cross if they would like a free smoke alarm installed. Volunteers are also needed for this day. 

“We feel like this is the best way to save lives in our community because home fires are happening every day,” Kyle said. 

The Red Cross donates 2,500 units of blood to area hospitals, and in the United States, the 500 blood drives a day allow 4.5 million units to be collected. Recently, a project was launched to encourage Black people to donate as African Americans have the highest rates of sickle cell anemia. 

New platelet centers for donations also help the country meet a demand among cancer patients. 

The American Red Cross also offers services for members of the armed forces, helping families to prepare for deployment and as veterans return home. 

It has an international presence, as well, providing disaster assistance to Bulgaria and Hungary for Ukranians displaced by war. Other volunteers are in Cuba and Southeast 


Anyone looking to volunteer with the Red Cross by giving blood in other ways can visit redcross.org. 



Other News:

-Wauktoberfest proceeds generated just over $12,000 for the Waunakee club, Paul Carderella announced. 

-At the holiday party Feb. 9, an auction will be held to raise funds for the Fetters family. It will be at the Waunakee Public Library. 


Guests: Jennifer Hoege, guest of Ellen Schaaf; Paul Stokes, guest of Tony Burns; Liz Mueller, guest of Craig Bauer. 


Visiting Rotarians: None. 


Birthdays: Feb. 11, Phil Willems; Feb. 12, Ryan Walsh.


Anniversaries: None.

Greeters: Feb. 9, Randy Guttenberg and Gabriell Hamre; Feb. 16, Rich Harris and Travis Heiser; Feb. 23, David Hogg and Lisa Humenick.