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The American Red Cross

Page history last edited by Steve Escher 15 years, 2 months ago

The American Red Cross


Organization Background


First established on July 1, 2006 the Twin Cities Area Red Cross serves 8 counties in the Twin Cities area: Anoka, Chisago, Dakota, Hennepin, Isanti, Ramsey, Scott and western Washington. Their mission "is a humanitarian organization led by volunteers, providing relief to victims of disasters and helping people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies."(1).


Initial Response to 35W Bridge Collapse

The American Red Cross of the Greater Twin Cities arrived on the scene almost immediately following the collapse of the 35W bridge. They used their headquarters, which was one block from the collapse site, to provide safety to the children that were removed from the school bus. The Red Cross also immediately provided use of their parking lot to emergency personal to establsih a base of operations. (2)

Services Provided Following 35W Bridge Collapse

Following the collapse of the 35W bridge, the Twin Cities chapter deployed dozens of volunteers to the scene to assist the rescue workers and provid services for victims and emergency personal. After arriving on the scene the volunteers set up a "family assistance center" to provide comfort and resources to the families of the victims. Immediately following the bridge collapse, Red Cross personnel provided comfort to more than 1,288 people missing loved ones. The Red Cross also provided grief counseling to over 700 people affected by the collapse ranging from victims to relief workers. To further assist on-site workers, the local branch established a temporary headquarters one block from collapse site to serve volunteers and individuals in need of services. The Red Cross also helped families locate their loved ones by establishing a "Safe and Well" website. This site provided a virtual gathering place where families and friends could inform their loved ones that they were safe, or update other related information. Furthermore, the Red Cross was onsite to help as the children were being removed from the school bus. Finally, beginning almost immediately following the collapse, the Red Cross set up blood drives and organized fund collections in order to assist victims and workers.

The following photo is of the relief tents the Red Cross erected following the collapse. Photo courtesy of Jehr on Flickr.

Red Cross

Quick Statistics

The following are the final statistics The American Red Cross published quantifying the support they provided after the bridge collapse. (2)

  • 500 volunteers and staff provided support
  • 2,000 people recieved counseling
  • 7,000 meals provided to first responders
  • $138,368 donations recieved to cover expenses
  • $65,000 expenses that were not covered by donations

Ongoing Support Within the Community

The Twin Cities Red Cross is still working to provide support to all those affected by the collapse. Support services and counseling is still available to anyone who is still suffering grief following the collapse or loss of a loved one. The Red Cross is also working to recognize all who were involved in the rescue and relief efforts.

On April 22, 2008 the Red Cross hosted a I-35W Bridge First Responder Tribute which was the first annual Heroes Breakfast. The breakfast took place from 8:00 am to 9:30 am and recognized 13 people in 7 categories for outstanding service during and following the collapse. The Federal Government, State of Minnesota, Hennepin County and the city of Minneapolis had representatives present to recognize these recipient’s accomplishments. The representatives are listed below: (3)

  • Tim Dolan- Police Chief- City of Minneapolis
  • Lisa Dressler- Deputy Director of Emergency Preparedness- City of Minneapolis
  • Alex Jackson- Interim Fire Chief- City of Minneapolis
  • Steve Kotke- Public Works Director- City of Minneapolis
  • Rich Stanek, Sheriff- Hennepin County
  • Tim Turnbull- Director of Emergency Preparedness- Hennepin County
  • Martin Van Buren- Director of Emergency Medical Services at HCMC- Hennepin County
  • Michael Campion, Public Safety Commissioner- State of Minnesota
  • Ray Morris- Executive Director of the Federal Executive Board of Minnesota- Federal Government

The program provided a tribute to the I-35W Bridge Response as a whole and then recognized the 13 heroes. Their awards and names are listed below: (3)

  • Citizen Ready- Guy Warner
  • Community Ready Award- Ted Juern
  • Disaster Relief Ready Award- Julie Schwartz & Alexander Schwartz
  • Emergency Medical Assistance Ready Award- Sierra Reiter
  • Firefighter Ready Award- Assistant Chief John Fruetel and Shanna Hanson
  • Good Samaritan Ready Award- See Vue Lee
  • Law Enforcement Ready Award- Officer Thomas Gray, Officer Nicholas Olson, Sergeant Richard Wahtera and Lieutenant Kim Lund
  • Youth Good Samaritan Ready Award- Lindsey Paradise

Further Projects

In addition to their work with the bridge collapse victims, the Twins Cities Red Cross is also working to provide support to other communities throughout the state. Recently they have responded to an apartment complex fire at Plymouth Oaks, a fatal school bus crash near Cottonwood, Minnesota, and flooding throughout the midwest. (4)

To learn more about The Red Cross- Twin Cities Chapter visit their website


1. The Red Cross Twin Cities. __About Us__. Retrieved March 3, 2008.

2. The Red Cross Twin Cities. __Twin Cities Red Cross Responds the 35W Bridge Collaps__e. Retrieved February 28, 2008.

3. The Red Cross Twin Cities. __35W Bridge First Responder Tribute__. Retrieved April 11, 2008.

4. The Red Cross Twin Cities. __News__. Retrieved April 11, 2008.


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