Waupaca County resident Andy Stanislawski recently received the Exceptional Services Award for Disaster Services from the Northeast Wisconsin Chapter of the American Red Cross at the annual Celebration of Support event in Oshkosh.
The award recognizes the extensive personal commitment demonstrated by individuals who volunteer to help others who are in need of emergency assistance due to a disaster.
Stanislawski became a Red Cross Disaster Action Team volunteer after Hurricane Katrina devastated the gulf coast in 2005. Since then, he has been deployed to seven national disaster responses, including Hurricane Rita, Tropical Storm Ernesto and Wisconsin floods in 2008. This year, he was sent to Joplin, Mo., following a tornado and the following month went to New Jersey to assist victims of Hurricane Irene. While in New England, flooding occurred in Pennsylvania and he was transferred there to assist those who were in need.
Tasks Stanislawski has performed while being deployed include setting up, assisting with and taking down mass shelters: transporting bulk items from warehouses to mass feeding sites; and driving an emergency response vehicle to deliver meals and cleanup supplies to individuals who were unable to provide these items for themselves due to the disaster damage to their homes and hometowns.
Stanislawski’s involvement as a disaster action team member doesn’t stop with national emergencies, as he is also involved on the local level. When Waupaca had a power outage during the first snowstorm of this year, he was there to set up a Red Cross shelter at the Waupaca Middle School. As a DAT member, he is also called upon to assist Waupaca County residents who have suffered a house fire obtain immediately needed items such as food and housing and possibly clothing, medication and glasses.
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters. The Red Cross supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross in a charitable organization and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. The Northeast Wisconsin Chapter serves Waupaca County and 19 other counties with a mission to prevent, prepare for and respond to disasters.
“When you realize how much the American Red Cross does for people, my efforts seem minimal, but helping others has been a rewarding experience and I am glad that I have been able to contribute,” Stanislawski said.
Contact the Northeast Wisconsin Chapter headquarters at 920-231-3590 to become involved as a local volunteer in one or more of the many programs the Red Cross provides.