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Personal Stories from the American Red Cross

by rayovac12, August 2016

  Rayovac partners with the American Red Cross)

We sat side by side-- a newly-trained female client caseworker and I, a disaster mental health volunteer--in a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center. Next in line was a young survivor in his early 20's-- living in a local drug recovery center, who had lost his home, his girlfriend, his vehicle, and his job, in one of California's most devastating fires ever recorded.

I closed the door behind him as he took a seat. Shortly after he began, I reached for a bottle of water behind me, twisted off the cap, and handed it to him.  He talked and drank, cried and talked, and drank some more. For an hour, he related details of wrong turns, the long road back to sanity and sobriety, and finally the fire. We listened hard. Afterward, I asked about a sponsor,  12-step meetings, his support system.  The caseworker asked about housing plans and gave him information about government and community resources.

At the end, I gave him a blanket. I asked if he was hungry. “A little,” he admitted. I gave him a granola bar. I gave him a Disaster Distress Helpline brochure and the local crisis line number. He hugged me. He hugged her too.

“I noticed you take the cap off the water bottle", the caseworker said, after he left. "Why did you do that?"  "You saw that?" I replied, surprised. "Well, survivors under great stress easily dehydrate. When you open the bottle, it gives them 'permission' to drink it now rather than later.“

"Ah, good one", she said, nodding and jotting notes. "Your eyes never left his as you took off the cap.  And you sat forward when he started talking."  I grinned. "Were you observing me the whole time?"   "Of course I was!“ she laughed.  “I've never seen anyone work in the field before. I could never do what you did."

I looked puzzled. "But you were doing it."  Now she looked puzzled. "What do you think he'll remember from our interaction?" I asked.  A few beats later, she responded. "I think he'll remember how you knew so much about what he was going through."  "I'll bet you're wrong,” I replied.  “I'll bet he'll remember next to nothing of what I said. What he'll remember is how we both made him feel.  The water, the blanket, the snacks--there's a good chance he'll remember those also. But he won't forget your calm voice, the genuine smiles, the way he was deeply listened to, the way he was treated with dignity and respect.  Never underestimate the power of those simple gestures.  I promise you, those things are what people remember most about the Red Cross, in the end.”

“Maybe it's because those things look like hope.” She wrote that down, too.

I don't know what happened to him, of course.  But I know that she's a compassionate, caring, client caseworker, yet another Red Cross hope-giver, who now twists the cap off the water bottle as she hands it to the next survivor.

Julie Holly, MSE, LPC, CCTP, is a licensed mental health professional by trade and she, serves her community and those across the country such as the South Carolina floods and California wildfires. In addition, she served on an Integrated Care Team which provides a team approach to physical, spiritual and emotional recovery after a disaster.

"You are a part of the permanent narrative of the worst day of their lives."  - Julie Holly

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American Red Cross Helps 24 Families Affected by Apartment Fire

by rayovac3, August 2016

The American Red Cross shares stories from people they help By Dawn Miller, American Red Cross Volunteer

“I was asking for safety and security,” said Jama Ali of his morning prayers on Sunday, January 3, 2016. The young father of two was praying when he heard a sharp noise that made him look out the door of his apartment and down the hall.

The smoke hit his face hard when he opened the door and he ran back in for what was most important, his two sons ages 10 months and 2 years. His wife had already left for work. Once they were safe outside, they went to their car before a neighbor invited them in to warm up.

“You never know what is going to happen,” said Ali. “ I thought I was going to work today but here I am with my sons.” Ali normally would have been at work as a truck driver but instead he found himself wondering what was going to happen next as they moved to a Red Cross warming shelter to find out if his family, along with 23 other displaced families, would return to their apartments.

At the warming shelter Ali, and others, found Red Cross workers wanting to help with their immediate needs. Needs are varied including blankets, help accessing medicine, diapers and baby wipes. They also found warm coffee, snacks and sandwiches to nourish them while they processed what their next steps would be.

They all wanted to hear if they would be able to return to their apartments based on the fire & smoke damage and if the utilities would be on or if they would need alternative overnight accommodations.  “Due to the Packers vs. Vikings home game and hotels at capacity there are limited options if friends and family are not a possibility,” stated Steve Hansen, the Chapter Executive.

Ali fed his 10-month old son while the two-year-old explored the gym at West High School where the warming shelter was set up. Ali was calm at the shelter and while he didn’t know what would happen next, he felt his prayers were answered. “The most important thing is we are safe and sound,” said Ali. “You can get many things in this world but you can’t get back a life.”

The Red Cross provided multiple families with the shoulder-to-lean-on that day along with personal hygiene items to helping them establish a plan of ‘what to do next’.  Financial assistance was provided for basic needs such as food, clothing, infant supplies, shelter, transportation and more.  You can help the Red Cross help families after fires with a financial gift at redcross.org/donate.

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Taming the Great Outdoors: Ready Yourself with Reliable Sportsman Gear

by rayovac29, August 2013

Labor day is just around the corner, and for most of us it marks the end of summer, cooler weather, the beginning of school and the absolute perfect time to bust out the camping gear. For many outdoor enthusiasts, lanterns and flashlights are the first items that come to mind when planning an outdoor trip.

It’s never too late to get the gear you need for the annual trip outdoors. Campers of all ages agree that Rayovac lights are must-have accessories when venturing into the wilderness. Even the most rugged outdoorsman can sport a Rayovac flashlight and enjoy all the amenities it offers. Rayovac sportsman flashlights come in all sizes and some are even small enough to fit in your pocket.

At night, lanterns have the ability to create a lovely atmosphere when sitting outside the tent or chatting beneath the stars. Rayovac sportsman lanterns can be used in many fashions. Campers can use them to find their way in the dark or even to brighten up the tent before bedtime. Rayovac lanterns are also equipped with a nifty carry handle so campers have no trouble toting them around the campsite. More...

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Hearing Loss Detection in Children

by rayovac17, July 2013

When the stork arrives and you are holding your newborn in your arms for the first time, your new child’s hearing ability may not be the first thought that pops into your brain. But I’m sure your baby’s health does. Checking your newborns hearing is just as important as checking for ten fingers and ten toes.

Children who have undetected hearing loss might not gain the cognitive abilities that are needed for learning, or may not be able to acquire normal speech and language. Children with hearing loss may be extremely stressed out because they may not understand why it is harder for them to learn simple material.

Babies should get their hearing checked before they are even one month old. Technology now allows hearing screenings on children a few hours after they are born. Most states even require hearing testing on newborns before they are to leave the hospital. If your child has hearing loss, you should consider the use of a hearing device or other communication options by 6 months of age. 

Rayovac offers the longest lasting hearing aid batteries in the world, in sizes 10, 13, 312, and 675. We also have a cochlear battery specifically made to meet the needs of patients with cochlear implants. As well as our ProLine hearing aid batteries, which are the #1 choice of hearing care professionals. All of our hearing aid batteries are mercury free.

Early hearing loss detection is crucial when it comes to speech, language and learning in young children. In the event your child does need hearing aids, let Rayovac be there for all your hearing aid battery needs. 

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Get Ready for Camping Season with Battery Operated LED Lights

by rayovac8, April 2013

If a tree falls in a forest, and no one’s around to hear it—isn’t that a bummer? It could be the never-ending winter weather that’s been keeping nature-lovers at bay. But, hey, it’s almost that time of year when no fallen tree will go unheard. Camping season is just around the bend! Time to dust off the tent and camp stove, and if you haven’t already, make the switch to battery operated LED lights for your camping lights and lanterns. We’ve got you covered with our Value Camping Bundle:

Mini-Flashlight? Check! Our mini-flashlights feature high-performance battery-operated LED lights. In high-mode, you can cast a light up to 47 meters away. In low mode, you can cast a spooky glow on your face as you tell lame ghost stories. Water-resistant for when you lake-swim without emptying your pockets. Impact-resistant up to 9 feet for when you throw it because you can’t get the campfire started. Holster included, so you look like a total maverick.

Headlamp? Check! Our Virtually Indestructible headlamps contain our high-performance battery-operated LED lights. With custom optics and high-mode and low-mode settings, you can parade around the campsite looking like you’re special ops. This is the one to throw when you still can’t start that fire: Guaranteed for life, it has rubber shock absorbers and survived our 30-foot drop performance test. Comes with cloth and silicone head- straps. More...

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Why We Love Our Cochlear Battery: Changing the Lives of Hearing-Impaired Kids!

by rayovac11, March 2013

In recent years, cochlear implants have become more common for infants and toddlers who are experiencing moderate to severe hearing loss. As a company that manufactures the cochlear battery, we have successfully stayed on the forefront of progress regarding this technology. It’s been amazing, and we’re proud to power it.

Cochlear implants are very different from hearing aids. First off, they do not amplify sound. Instead they bypass the damaged anatomy in the ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve. The results can be phenomenal, but can vary from person to person. Just imagine going from near deaf to hearing in a matter of weeks.

Speech, language, and social skills are deeply interwoven and strongly related to hearing. When a child can hear well, the brain normally develops these skills organically, weaving billions of pieces of auditory input into basic skills we all use. Of course, kids with severe hearing impairment find other routes to develop these skills, but it’s a climb, rather than a cruise, for many of them.

Children as young as 12 months of age can undergo cochlear implant surgery. It generally takes between two and five hours and the benefits of the surgery will begin to arrive four to six weeks later. Though not every child is a candidate. If a child can benefit from a hearing aid, for example, that child is unlikely to qualify for a cochlear implant. Pediatric audiologists conduct the assessments to determine who qualifies. More...

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