Lucy Wolfe and life on the other side of 100

Lucy Wolfe comes strolling up to the Red Cross tent at the Great Darke County Fair, her stride slow but steady over the dirt and gravel pathway. A red, white and blue nylon jacket is folded crisply over her right arm. She smiles when she sees the familiar faces of the other volunteers.

“I’m back,” she says.

Lucy is a regular at Red Cross events, particularly the Fair, but the greeting she receives from those around the tent on this particular day is more the kind reserved for a celebrity than a friend or fellow volunteer. And, perhaps, for good reason. About three weeks earlier she celebrated her 100th birthday, and following an article in the Darke County Daily Advocate about the party that was thrown for her, she’s taken on a bit of a celebrity status. Over the course of the next hour and a half she will be as much of an attraction to the Red Cross tent as the stop, drop and roll lessons offered to kids or the Vials of Life handed out to the parents.

“Oh, I saw your story in the paper,” many say as they walk by and notice her sitting under the tent. “I just had to stop and say hi.”

She smiles and says Thank you and despite her quiet and humble nature secretly seems to enjoy the attention—although she admits to being less impressed by her “accomplishment” than those who stop by. Life on the other side of 100, she says, feels pretty much the same as it did before, and in both cases life feels good. She still drives, motoring around Greenville in a Buick LeSabre better than most teenagers. “Oh I have to drive,” she says. “I couldn’t do my volunteering if I didn’t drive.” She lives on her own, although she shares a duplex with her daughter Becky just for the peace of mind. Most days, if the weather is accommodating, she heads across the street to the Greenville City Park or the track around the high school football field for a walk.

“Everything works well except for one knee,” she says. “It likes to show off. I went to an orthopedic doctor and he said he wasn’t going to fix it. Once you get to a certain age, he said, you don’t heal well, so I put ice or heat on it to relieve the pain. That seems to work.”

DSCN0663The walks are a replacement for her long-preferred method of exercise—golf. Growing up, her family lived across from the Greenville Golf Course, and every evening when the golfers were done with their leagues her family would run over and squeeze in a round. “We would come home, eat and away we went,” she says. “That was our recreation.”

For years she was part of a golf league, and when she and husband Ed travelled for vacation, the golf clubs were always part of the luggage. “I took my clubs everywhere we went. And I kept the scorecards from when we played in other cities. I still have the whole stack out in the garage. I’ve been to every state. I was once in Costa Rica playing golf when I ran into a person from Dayton that I knew.”

She pauses and glances out into the distance as if remembering an old friend. “I don’t golf anymore,” she says solemnly before suddenly snapping back to attention. “But I refuse to sell my clubs.”

As she sits in a metal folding chair, the sun finally breaks through the clouds that have given the day a gloomy look and a chilly feel. She notices right away and looks up at the sky and smiles. “I like the warmth. It’s good for my bones.”

Nothing about Lucy Wolfe would indicate that she is a centenarian or that she’s really even that old except perhaps this: She’s a snowbird. Each year for the last 30 years, she and Becky have packed up the Buick on the day after Christmas and driven to Florida where Lucy waits out the winter, always returning on the day before Mother’s Day. Her niece owns a fleet of apartments near Orlando, so she always has a place to stay. But she always returns to Greenville. It’s home.

Lucy was born Aug. 6, 1915, on a farm near Bradford, Ohio, shortly before the family moved to Darke County and put down permanent roots. She graduated from Gettysburg High School in 1932, taking a job in a factory before finding her true calling as a nurse at the start of World War II. All of the nurses from the area were pulled into supporting the war effort, so she began volunteering with the Red Cross to fill in the gap. “I was a nurse’s aide,” she says. “I got off work at 3:00 p.m. and would call to see which hospital needed help, and would work until 11:00 p.m. I got to work at all three hospitals—Good Sam, Miami Valley and Grandview. We got to do everything, from emptying bed pans to assisting in the operating room.”lucy

She began taking courses and eventually earned her Licensed Practical Nurse degree. “We had a nun in charge, Sister Ann I believe her name was. She was hard boiled. She would say, ‘Do it this way or else.’ And we did.”

Through the years she worked in local pharmacies and Wagner’s Bakery and Jandy’s Toy Store in Dayton, but she never stopped volunteering with the Red Cross. In 2010 she earned her 70-year volunteer pin. Without the Red Cross, she says, she wouldn’t have become a nurse, and she hasn’t forgotten that. Plus she likes to help people, and the Red Cross assignments give her that chance. And she’s taken on some challenging assignments.

In 2010, at age 95, she worked in a shelter in Tennessee for victims of a tornado. “Where did Elvis live? Memphis, yes, that’s where it was.” In 2005, at age 90, she ran a shelter in Key West for victims of Hurricane Katrina. “We were in the dining room of a Presbyterian Church for three weeks,” she says. “Everything was washed out. Everything was under water. You had to wade through water to get anywhere. We had one man who was very wealthy who lost everything. But I got to meet some pretty nice people. They were grateful more than anything else.”

As the sun begins to warm up the day, she takes off her nylon jacket and absorbs the warmth. A loudspeaker attached to a nearby pole interrupts her thoughts with announcements about the upcoming horse show and suggestions to visit different rides or exhibitors.

By her best recollection, this is her 95th year at the fair, maybe her 96th. She looks down the paths and sees much that is the same, but much that has changed. There are more food vendors, she says, although many of them don’t appeal to her. “I wouldn’t take it if they offered it to me,” she says. “I don’t like sweets. Never have. I’m not sure why. I might have some ice cream or a peppermint stick once in a while, but I can do without sugar. Sugar is why so many people go to the doctor.”

What has mostly changed, she says, is the people. She pauses and becomes a bit melancholy. “My friends are all gone,” she says. “None of them are left.” Including—especially—her husband of 58 years, Ed, who died in 1996. They met in second grade. He sat behind her in class. They were married in 1938, a love affair that resulted in two children, five grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

She perks up at the memories. “He was an original member of the Air Force band at Wright Patterson,” she says. “He played the saxophone and sousaphone.”

DSCN0665As she continues to greet people and soak up the sun in her white Red Cross polo shirt, she obliges to answer the one question that is asked of everyone who breaks the century mark: What’s the secret to a long life. She shrugs. She had a great-grandfather who lived to be 103. “He was from Virginia. They told me he hid in a wagon to come to Ohio during the Revolutionary War.” But the rest of her relatives were young when they died. Her mom died at age 67, so it’s probably not genetics. Maybe exercise, she says. Golf is good. Oh, and staying away from the sweets.

“See those snow cones over there,” she says. “Those things will kill you.”

She shrugs again and just smiles as she says hello to more people as they walk by. Perhaps there isn’t a secret to getting there, but one thing she does know and is willing to share: Life is good, even on the other side of 100.

Disaster Preparedness Kit: 30 items you should have ready to go

September is Preparedness Month. Since you never know when a disaster might occur, it’s important to be prepared. To help, we’ve created a list of 30 items you should have together and ready to go to survive for 72 hours—the length of time everyone should be self-sufficient during a large-scale disaster.

11 | Water: It’s the essence of life, and you’ll need plenty of it. The rule of thumb is one gallon per person per day, and enough for three days. For a family of four, that’s 12 gallons. It wouldn’t hurt to toss in some instant drink packets to add a little flavor. And if you really want to be safe, you could add a water purification pump to your kit in case you run out of bottled water since tap and well water often get contaminated during disasters.

2 2 | Food: In many disasters, gas and electric are often knocked out, meaning you can’t cook or refrigerate food, so plan on having a selection of canned and/or ready-to-eat foods on hand. A big jar of peanut butter is a popular start. Cans of veggies, beans, peanuts, soups and tuna also work. (Keep in mind that canned foods do expire, so rotate your stock once or twice a year.) Granola bars, protein bars and energy bars are good options. Or, you can purchase emergency food rations, which aren’t gourmet, but provide you with the needed nutrients and have a shelf life of five years. Eating food helps improve your mood.

33 | First aid kit / medical supplies: This is vital. Disasters are an injury waiting to happen and a breeding ground for germs. The Red Cross offers everything from basic kits to the extreme.

4 | Flashlight: When the electricity’s out and the sun goes down, it gets dark. Very dark. That means without a flashlight you’re a stubbed toe just waiting to4 happen. With the invention of LED lighting, flashlights are now small and powerful, so get one. Or two. You might also want to consider a flashlight that stands up and transforms into a lantern for general room lighting, or a headlamp that you can wear to free up your hands or to read in bed. The Red Cross Store offers a wide variety of lights, including lights that are powered by a hand crank and even lights that are activated by water.

55 | Radio: When a disaster strikes, keeping abreast of the latest news and weather is a must. Also, cranking up the occasional tunes helps battle the stress. But radios don’t work without electricity and can gobble up batteries, so make it a radio with a hand crank that generates its own power. The Red Cross Store has a variety of options, including ones that doubles as a flashlight and cell phone charger.

66 | Batteries: During a disaster, when the electricity is out, batteries are power—in many ways. So stock up on extras. And not just flashlight batteries, but some for cell phones, radios, two-way radios and whatever else needs power. Leaving the extra batteries in their original packaging, by the way, is a good way to help keep them fresh.

77 | Medications: A week’s worth of prescription medications are, of course, a must since these are usually vital to good health or maybe survival. But don’t skimp on other basic medicines. Getting through a disaster is tough, and having a headache or upset stomach is only going to make it tougher, so create a mini medicine cabinet with anything you typically need for a headache, upset stomach, menstrual cramps, diarrhea and whatever ails you.

88 | Cleaning supplies, part one: Disasters are dirty, so having something to clean up with is a huge help. A container of Clorox wipes is great to wipe down surfaces and kill germs—which spread like wildfire during disasters. Household bleach and rags also work well.

99 | Cleaning supplies, part two: Disasters are dirty, so having something to clean yourself with is next to godliness. Soap and a washcloth are ideal, if you can find a shower or running water. If not, baby wipes are a great alternative. They do a great job of getting rid of the grime and usually leave you smelling fresh as a daisy. Keeping a bottle of hand santizer handy is also a wise idea—getting sick isn’t a great way to deal with a disaster.

1010 | Sanitation and personal hygiene kit: Think of your bathroom and all that’s in it. A roll of toilet paper is a must. Toothbrush and toothpaste, razor, deodorant, shampoo and body wash. Travel-sized toiletries are just right. For women, don’t forget three days worth of tampons or pads.

1111 | Towels: Towels aren’t quite duct tape when it comes to multiple utilitarian functions, but they can serve many purposes other than drying off after a sponge bath or getting caught out in the rain. You can roll them up and use them as pillows, wrap them around you to help keep you warm, sit on them as an extra layer of padding or while pretending you’re at the beach, mop up spills or wipe off sweat.

1212 | Copies of personal documents: If your home or car is damaged, you’ll want copies of insurance policies in hand. It’s also helpful to have extra copies of bank records and Social Security card to reestablish accounts. Also consider credit card numbers to cancel the cards if they’re lost or destroyed, birth certificates, passports, driver’s license, car registration. Don’t pack the originals, though, just copies. And keep them in a waterproof container.

13 | Maps of the area: It’s old-school, true, but you’ll be glad you have them when your smartphone dies. Just for the record, Google maps aren’t available in paper. Try your local bookstore.

1414 | Duct tape: It’s the universal tool, or as comedian Red Green calls it, the handyman’s secret weapon. You can hang strips from the ceiling to serve as flypaper and keep the pests away; make a bandage in a pinch; hold together just about anything; spin it and make a clothesline; reseal food packages; repair shoes or broken eyeglasses; write a note on it; the list goes on.

1515 | Cash: ATMs don’t work without electricity, so forget that quick trip to the money machine up the street. Credit card machines also don’t work without electricity either, so you’ll quickly Discover your MasterCard got a Visa and has left town on the American Express. The only currency that works during a disaster is cash. Pack away about $150, which should be enough to get you through a few days, although make sure it’s a collection of small bills since the one convenient store that’s open probably isn’t going to be able to make change for a $50.

1616 | Bedding: Unless the disasters happen during the dog days of summer, chances are it will get anywhere from nippy to bone-chilling cold at some point, so make sure you have something that is going to keep you warm and dry at night, like blankets or sleeping bags. Emergency space blankets are also a nice alternative, as they are light and pack small but are made of materials that keep in body heat so you stay warm.  A good night’s sleep is the best way to deal with a tough situation.

1717 | Clothing: There’s nothing quite like living and sleeping in the same clothes for several days—for you or the people around you. To make everyone happy, pack a complete change of clothing. Pick shirts with long sleeves. (You can roll up long sleeves in hot weather, but you can’t pull down short sleeves in cold weather.) Also consider adding a hat and rain gear. And make sure you have sturdy shoes since the most common injuries during disasters are foot cuts.

1818 | Mess kits: One of the most important pieces in surviving a disaster is eating. Food improves your mood. And while your food selection during a disaster may not be gourmet, that doesn’t mean it has to be uncivilized. You can still eat off of plates using knives and forks and spoons. OK, the plates may be paper and the utensils plastic, but it’s better than eating out of a can. Don’t forget paper towels. And insulated mugs also work well since you can use them for hot soup or cold drinks.

1919 | Family and emergency contact information: For most people these days, this is kept in their cell phones. Don’t risk your phone dying. Keep names and phone numbers of family members, doctors, pharmacies, insurance agents, anyone who you may need to contact in a notebook. It’s old-school, yes, but in a disaster when the power is out you often have to resort back to how things were done in the 1970s–before there were smart phones, the Internet and quite possibly fire.

2020 | Entertainment: TVs, the Xbox, DVD players—none of these things work when the electricity’s out, so unless you’re a musician or stand-up comedian, the kids are going to need something to keep them entertained. Crayons, pencils and paper work with smaller kids. Card games and puzzle books might work for older kids. Don’t forget to bring reading material for yourself.

21 | Miscellaneous items: Safety pins, Velcro strips, bobby pins, rubber bands, super glue, carabiners. It’s amazing how often you need these things. Just toss some in a small bag or container and you’ll be good to go.23

22 | Sharpies: They’ll write on anything. Label plates and cups so the kids don’t argue over which one is theirs. Write on a piece of duct tape and you can leave a note anywhere. Put your name on your disaster kit and anything (and everything) else.

23 | Storage: Ziploc baggies can hold leftovers as well as keep papers or cell phones dry. Garbage bags not only provide a place for trash, but they can double as ponchos if it’s raining, an extra layer to keep you warm or a tarp if you’re sitting on wet ground. Storage containers can hold items when you’re preparing your disaster kit, and then be used as bowls to eat out of or a place to store leftovers. Plastic grocery bags are great to hold wet clothes or washcloths, or you can use the handles and string them up with some rope for out-of-the-way storage space.

2424 | Snacks: A little snack is a welcome relief during a disaster. Hard candy such as butterscotch candies and peppermints are ideal for disaster kits, since they won’t melt and taste good.25

25 | Two-way radios: During many disasters, cell phone service tends to go out along with the electricity, so a great way to keep in contact with family members is to share a couple of two-way radios. They’re small, relatively inexpensive and have a range of up to 50 miles.

2626 | Work gloves: Most disasters leave behind a mess, meaning you may have to move dirty or dangerous debris. Gloves can also double as hand warmers on cold days, pot holders if you’re cooking on a camp stove, even fly swatters if you have good hand-eye coordination.

27 | An extra set of car and house keys: When a disaster hits, you may not have time to grab your keys, so keep an extra set in your bag.

10543627_10202384639359181_6743445317021780746_n28 | Pet supplies: Don’t forget the dog and cat. Plan for three days of pet food and supplies, as well as extra water for your pets. A toy or two also helps. If you have a cat, aluminum roasting pans are inexpensive and make great makeshift litter boxes. For dogs, pack an extra leash and clean-up bags. If you can’t grab a crate, make sure you have a blanket for your pets to sleep on. It also helps to have photos of your pets in case you become separated. Medical records also help.

2929 | Baby supplies: Going through a disaster is tough. Going through a disaster with an upset baby is a double disaster. Many parents already keep a baby bag, but if not make sure you have enough diapers and food to make it through three days, along with baby powder, wipes, pacifiers and whatever else your baby needs.

3030 | A multi-purpose tool: These amazing little devices go beyond the basic pocket knife by including such handy tools as a can opener, scissors, a saw, pliers, screwdrivers, tweezers and files. You’ll find yourself using this more than you think.

Top Ten Reasons to Become a Red Cross Volunteer!

Thinking of becoming a volunteer? See a list of reasons that will help you make up your mind (*content courtesy of UC San Diego).

#10: It’s good for you.
Volunteering provides physical and mental rewards. It:
Reduces stress: Experts report that when you focus on someone other than yourself, it interrupts usual tension-producing patterns.
Makes you healthier: Moods and emotions, like optimism, joy, and control over one’s fate, strengthen the immune system.

#9: It saves resources.
Volunteering provides valuable community services so more money can be spent on local improvements.
The estimated value of a volunteer’s time is $15.39 per hour.

#8: Volunteers gain professional experience.
You can test out a career.

#7: It brings people together.
As a volunteer you assist in:
Uniting people from diverse backgrounds to work toward a common goal
Building camaraderie and teamwork

#6: It promotes personal growth and self esteem.
Understanding community needs helps foster empathy and self-efficacy.

#5: Volunteering strengthens your community.

#4: You learn a lot.
Volunteers learn things like these:
Self: Volunteers discover hidden talents that may change your view on your self worth.
Community: Volunteers gain knowledge of local resources available to solve community needs.

#3: You get a chance to give back.
People like to support community resources that they use themselves or that benefit people they care about.

#2: Volunteering encourages civic responsibility.
Community service and volunteerism are an investment in our community and the people who live in it.

#1: You make a difference.
Every person counts!

Begin making a difference in your community today! Visit http://www.redcross.org to explore volunteer opportunities.

Red Cross helps celebrate World Humanitarian Day

How are you being a humanitarian this year? 

The World Humanitarian Day, designated by the United Nations in 2003, is celebrated every year to celebrate humanity and the spirit that inspires people to help others who are in need, even in difficult and dangerous situations, often putting their own lives at risk.

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent network that includes the International Federation of the Red Cross, the International Committee of the Red Cross and its 187 national societies including the American Red Cross is focusing on on-going efforts in calling for protections of volunteers and promoting support and solidarity for Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers who risk their lives at the service of others. 

In Syria 37 Red Crescent volunteers have been killed while on duty, since the beginning of the conflict. In the occupied Palestine territory, two volunteers from the Palestinian Red Crescent Society have been killed in the recent conflict and many more have been injured in the last months.

Many of these volunteers are young people – youth who are committed to saving lives by putting their own lives at risk every day.

ICRC is also drawing attention to the fact that health-care personnel are often among the first to be attacked in war and other situations of violence. A complete report from ICRC regarding this issue can be seen here: http://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/report/2013-05-15-health-care-in-danger-incident-report.htm

As part of the network of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent, the American Red Cross Greater Cincinnati Dayton Region is responding to both local and international needs within our capacities. Our local disaster volunteers are responding to local emergencies and fires, assisting with services to the armed forces, and many other capacities within our mission. In the International Services Department, we are raising awareness and funds for Measles and Rubella Initiatives, educating the public about International Humanitarian Laws, and connecting families through Restoring Family Links services. 

International Humanitarian Law, which includes the Geneva Conventions, is at the core of the global Red Cross network. It is critical to preserving a minimum of humanity in the worst of circumstances. For more than 20 years, the American Red Cross has promoted international humanitarian law through its chapters. The Greater Cincinnati – Dayton Region is selected in its third year to participate in the International Humanitarian Law Action Campaign 2015, among 11 other chapters. This program for young people (high school and college levels) are open for applications. For more information, please contact the International Services Department
The International Committee for The Red Cross has updated the Customary International Humanitarian Law that integrates practice up until the end of 2010 of the following countries: Bangladesh, Ireland, Nigeria, Peru, Sri Lanka, the United States of America and Zimbabwe. (link: http://www.icrc.org/eng/war-and-law/treaties-customary-law/customary-law/) To receive updates about IHL and American Red Cross work all over the world, please contact the International Services Department.

Disclaimer: the International Services Department does not deploy volunteer overseas. Deployment of volunteers is organized by the International Response and Programs by the American Red Cross National Headquarters.

This year’s theme for World Humanitarian Day is “the world needs more..” Express what you think you can do this year to support the work of humanitarian workers near and far through social media with the hashtag #theworldneedsmore through social media (twitter, Facebook, instagram), and change your word into action.

Be a humanitarian today, volunteer with the American Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/support/volunteer/opportunities#step1

To learn more about International Services: www.redcross.org/intlcincinnati

Red Cross Seeking Candidates for AmeriCorps

Red Cross AmeriCorps

AmeriCorps service opportunities offer practical, real life experiences for individuals looking to engage in public service while meeting the critical needs of the Red Cross. Team members will participate in disaster response and preparedness activities, community disaster education and volunteer recruitment.  Members will receive a living allowance, health care coverage, free training and the Segal Education award (upon completion of the service year). 

Youth Community Preparedness Member

AmeriCorps members will be housed at ARC sites in the following counties: Alan (Lima), Athens, Fairfield (Lancaster), Franklin (Columbus), Hamilton (Cincinnati) Hancock (Findlay), Licking (Newark), Lucas (Toledo), Marion, Muskingum (Zanesville), Ross (Chillicothe)

* With a primary focus on Community Preparedness Education (CPE), Member will conduct CDE outreach presentations with paid staff and volunteers, as well as seek further opportunities to do so. This may include curriculum development and implementation, staff/volunteer training, facilitating presentations, and reporting the number of participants (75-80%)

* AmeriCorps member will assist with volunteer recruitment, management and retention within their county. This will include recruitment activity (attend fairs, speak to local community groups about volunteering) and volunteer engagement in regular service with the organization including community preparedness education (CPE). Members will also ensure volunteer files/paperwork is up to date and complete. (10%)

* Member will be trained for available participation with national deployment opportunities (10%)

* Member will participate in canvassing events addressing neighborhoods affected by fire/fatalities (5-10%) 

Additionally members are expected to:

* Participate in initial Prepare Central Ohio AmeriCorps orientation

* Participate in Monthly Central Ohio AmeriCorps Meetings (in Columbus)

* Complete monthly reports and spreadsheets detailing their activities

**The stipend is $12,500 and is paid on a bi-weekly basis.**

Interested applications should visit the Cincinnati Area Chapter Facebook page to access the application. Please submit your completed application to Karl Williams at karl.williams2@redcross.org by August 18.


Baptist Church Church supports the Dayton Chapter by collecting comfort kit items for Disaster Service

Miami shores baptist church Miami shores baptist church2


A group from Miami Shores Baptist Church recently collected, sorted and bagged disaster comfort kit items for the Dayton Area Chapter; which will be provided to fire victims in the area. The kits contained items such as deodorant, Scope mouthwash, Gillette shaving cream, two razor blades, tooth paste, tooth brush, hair products, a hair brush, tissue, and body soap.

Miami Shores Baptist Church is located in Moraine, Ohio. It is a house of prayer for all people – this is a place of acceptance where we encourage you to “come just as you are.” 

New disaster communication radio station is on the air at Dayton Chapter

Dayton Radio

The Dayton Chapter of the American Red Cross (ARC) and their amateur radio volunteers are proud to announce that the chapter radio station K8DRC is on the air. The station is located at the Dayton Area Chapter of the American Red Cross building located at 370 West 1st Street, Dayton, OH.

The community partnership of the Dayton ARC with the Dayton Amateur Radio Association (DARA) and other community businesses have made this dream a reality. The financial support from a grant given by DARA for the purchase of radios and necessary equipment made the establishment of this station possible.

The K8DRC station will be home to the Gem City Emergency Network and will consist of ARC volunteers that are licensed amateur radio operators trained in emergency communication. They will provide communications in the event a disaster. Amateur radio licenses are issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) after a testing process. 

If you are interested in become a volunteer for the Dayton Chapter of the American Red Cross please call (937) 222-6711. If you want more information on becoming a licensed amateur radio operator please contact Jim Ebner (N8JE) at (937) 536-2835.

Cindy Ebner   K8CJE

American Red Cross Volunteer

Public Information Officer-Ohio Section

American Radio Relay League (ARRL)