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Front of City Hall

Capture a waving Red Cross flag in a photo between March 1 and March 6? Post it to Twitter or Facebook to enter a drawing for tickets to the Red Ball!

 

March is designated as the month to recognize the achievements of the Red Cross locally, nationally and internationally.

In the Philadelphia area, we celebrate by flying the telltale red and white flags around Center City, and City Hall. The effect is striking in several ways: the stark red and white of the flags looks striking against the brisk blue sky of early March, they add to the grandeur of Liberty Square, and they remind one and all of the essential role of the Red Cross in our community.

City Hall is not the only place flying flags. Starting Saturday, March 1st, there will be dozens of Red Cross flags flying in downtown Media and West Chester, as well.

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For the week leading up to our 14th annual Red Ball – the Red Cross’s grand celebration party at the Please Touch Museum on March 8 – we invite our social media community to play a modified game of Capture the Flag. If you see a Red Cross flag in your community, take a photo and post it with the location to Twitter or to our Facebook page and mention us (@redcrossphilly) and use hashtag #redcrossflag. Feel free to be creative and by all means, feel free to make them selfies. We’ll RT as many as we can.

We will enter you in a drawing for two Main Event Red Ball Tickets on March 6 for each photo you send. (Maximum of five entries.) We will select one suburban photo and one Philadelphia photo winner. They will be announced on our Twitter and Facebook feeds and the tickets will be available for pick up at the Red Ball. For details on the Red Ball, visit theredball.org.

While you’re snapping those photos, enjoy some of the other ways the Red Cross is celebrating. Look out for lights as well! Even coffee clutches are getting in on the action!

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The beautiful Ben Franklin Bridge will be dressed in red starting March 1st. The red lights can also be seen at One Liberty Place, Hyatt Penn’s Landing, the Cira Center and on the PECO Crown Lights. Wawa coffee will sport the red and white and we all know the coffee at Wawa is HOT! Protect yourself with the help of the Red Cross. Enjoy!BenFranklinBridge

Each year, the public affairs department of the Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania (SEPA) makes a list of our “Top 20 Accomplishments” in order to take stock of our activities in the prior year and to let our friends know we have fulfilled our mission to the best of our ability. Funny thing about this list – it rarely appears in early January when one might expect to see it. Why? Because we’re often a little busy.

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Our most important work, helping those who face disasters, always comes first. The #1 accomplishment on the list mentions Superstorm Sandy, the enormous hurricane that hit the East Coast in early November.  During and in the wake of such a serious event, our small public affairs department went into overdrive to share important information with the public about preparedness, explain what SEPA is doing to support our community’s response to the storm and jumpstart our fundraising efforts.  Just when we’d got a handle on all that, it was the depth of winter, a time when the Philadelphia region is plagued by fire disasters that keep us on our toes.

So here we are, on February 21, 2013, ready to share and celebrate our 2012 accomplishments with a marvelous multi-media presentation!  As we do every year, we printed a booklet with photographs and in-depth explanations of our activities throughout the year. (here’s the Top20_2012_FinalIn addition, as part of our digital and social media efforts, we will devote a part of our website to displaying a digital version of our booklet  and, for the first time ever, a video display of the many ways we achieved the goals of our mission. Dear Reader, please click on this link to experience our moment of reflection in a wholly new and exciting way. I watched it this morning and I was amazed, captivated and utterly floored by its power to convey our message.

Like our mission itself, the video is a testimony to working together to achieve a goal. The SEPA public affairs team consists of our fearless leader, Dave Schrader and his tireless communications specialist, Sara Smith. The rest of us are volunteers who wander in and out throughout each week, contributing as best we can. I think all viewers will agree that our intrepid video interns, Michelle Davies and Kareem Bazali, did a fantastic job of putting the video together. The fades to black and white were Sara’s brainchild, informed by her background in TV, and she curated the beautiful photos. I did some shaping of the language in both the booklet and the video. Dave was the mastermind behind the list itself and a wise producer and director of all our efforts.

We are extremely pleased with our final Top 20 compilation and gratified by our role in sharing the SEPA story with donors, volunteers and friends.  But we are proudest of the work itself — SEPA’s ongoing efforts to alleviate suffering and create a more humane, caring and just world.

–          Submitted by Sarah Peterson, public affairs volunteer

Tuesday, the American Red Cross of Southeastern PA hosted its 30th annual Citizen of the Year breakfast. This year, we were thrilled to give the award to our friend and partner of many years Wawa CEO, Howard Stoeckel.

The Citizen of the Year Award honors an individual who has shown commitment and compassion to the entire community without regard to race, religion, gender, or status in times of need. Howard Stoeckel is the perfect recipient of the Citizen of the Year Award because of his commitment to his community and the American Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

While the Red Cross is dependent on the generosity of individual donors, our corporate partners are also essential to the success of our mission. Their sponsorship of fundraising events such as The Red Ball, the Red Cross Walk and Run, and our annual Red Cross Cup golf outing provides us with important resources for our work and maintains our profile in the community.

Mr. Stoeckel and Wawa helped the Red Cross meet its goals in another essential area: blood donation. Over the last eight years Wawa has hosted 584 American Red Cross Blood Drives, collecting more than 21,000 units of blood and helping to save approximately 65,000 lives across our region. Wawa’s efforts over the last year helped generate more than 4,700 units of blood being donated to the American Red Cross. Those 4,700 units of blood gave a second chance to more than 14,200 hospital patients across our region. Mr. Stoeckel supports his employees’ extraordinary gift to their community. He says, “Wawa’s long-standing partnership with the American Red Cross is one of the most meaningful ways we contribute to our communities.  We are so proud of our associates’ efforts to host blood drives throughout the year, to volunteer their time and to donate blood.”

Howard Stoeckel and the Wawa Corporation represent the epitome of corporate partnership and responsibility. Wawa employees and associates give back to their communities in a very elemental way. Mr. Stoeckel reminds them that one pint of blood can assist as many as three people. He writes, ” I am truly proud to say that at Wawa, our world is large one, filled with endless possibilities due to the caring nature of our associates and our customers.” His personal commitment to social responsibility influences others to act accordingly and give their time, energy and life’s blood to their community. His dedication and that of his employees yields spectacular results

Today we recognize Howard Stoeckel for all he does for the American Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Please join me in thanking him and congratulating him as the 2012 American Red Cross Citizen of the Year.