American Red Cross in Greater New York Podcast
Serving Military Communities During COVID-19

Serving Military Communities During COVID-19

November 11, 2020

Our military communities sacrifice so much in “ordinary” times, but COVID-19 has brought new anxiety and uncertainty to their unique situations. For nearly 140 years, the American Red Cross has been there for active and retired service members and their families at every stage of service. During the pandemic, we have adapted our work to these trying times.

This Red Cross program goes by the name of Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) and takes many different forms in communities and on military installations across the US and on bases all over the world.

Katherine Jones, Asia-Pacific Division Manager for the American Red Cross Service to Armed Forces Program, supports military men and women at Yokota Air Base outside of Tokyo, Japan. In this short podcast discussion, she discusses the many different ways she supports service members overseas 24/7, 365 days a year. She also talks a her unique history with the Red Cross and her commitment to service.

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Producer & Host: Michael de Vulpillieres

Hurricane Relief During Coronavirus

Hurricane Relief During Coronavirus

September 13, 2020

Join us and get trained during this active disaster season to support families affected by emergencies across the country and right here in NY. Sign up here: www.redcross.org/volunteertoday

When 22-year-old, recent college grad Nick Montoro learned that he could assist on the ground in Louisiana, shortly after Hurricane Laura made landfall, he immediately raised his hand and volunteered to help, a decision that made his father, Sal Montoro, very proud. His dad Sal is a longtime volunteer who has dedicated a big part of his life to service through the Red Cross. In our conversation, Nick discusses what he is seeing and doing in some of the hardest hit areas, the experience of deploying for hurricane relief during a pandemic, and the importance, to his family, of giving back.

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Producer & Host: Michael de Vulpillieres
Editor: Chi Kong Lui

Kids, Coronavirus and Preparedness

Kids, Coronavirus and Preparedness

June 23, 2020

From inconvenience to economic strain to emotional drain, COVID-19 has complicated life for us all. But the impact on young kids and their parents is unique. Kids are coping with confusion, sadness, worry and at times loneliness brought on by this strange and stressful moment. Parents are dealing with their children’s anxiety and their own concerns, all while juggling the new roles forced upon them by the pandemic. For this episode of the podcast, we’ll be talking about kids, coronavirus and preparedness. We will hear from three different Red Cross experts who will discuss the emotional impact that COVID-19 is having on kids and ways parents can help keep their kids safe during this crisis and prepared for future emergencies.

  • Alec Cecil is a psychologist, formerly with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and currently at Montefiore Medical Center. He works primarily with underserved adolescents and young adults, as well as their families. With the Red Cross, Alec supports our Disaster Mental Health and Service to the Armed Forces teams.
  • Jason Lyons leads our preparedness programs at the American Red Cross in Greater NY. Jason is also the father of a young baby girl who was born early during the pandemic.
  • Alex Poku, a five-year Red Cross volunteer, teaches kids how to prepare for emergencies and how to cope when disasters occur.

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Producer & Host: Michael de Vulpillieres
Editor: Will Wu

Coronavirus: Helping Residents Displaced by Local Disasters During a Global Pandemic

Coronavirus: Helping Residents Displaced by Local Disasters During a Global Pandemic

April 10, 2020

Losing your home and all your belongings to a fire or other disaster is incredibly traumatic but imagine being confronted with such loss and uncertainty in the middle of a global pandemic. That’s what makes the work of Red Cross team members, who come to the aid of these individuals, so critical. As this coronavirus crisis has evolved, the Red Cross has adapted the way we respond to local disasters with new safety measures including remote casework and registration, social distancing in the field and the use of face masks. But we are still providing critical relief.

For this podcast episode we interviewed longtime Red Cross volunteer Phil Cogan. Phil works as a dispatcher for the Red Cross, helping to coordinate disaster relief behind the scenes, in our Emergency Communications Center, or ECC. The ECC normally operates out of our Hell’s Kitchen Headquarters but because of COVID19, this work is now done remotely. Phil discusses how the Red Cross currently responds to these local emergencies that are still occurring every day and shares some of the types of calls he is receiving from the general public.

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Producer & Editor: Will Wu
Host: Michael de Vulpillieres

Coronavirus: Coping with the Emotional Toll

Coronavirus: Coping with the Emotional Toll

March 30, 2020

We are bringing back our podcast for a few short coronavirus conversations. For our first episode, we spoke with long-time Red Cross disaster mental health volunteer Dr. Thomas Hlenski about emotional toll that this is having on us all and ways we can cope despite our unique and different circumstances.

In his role at the Red Cross, Tom draws on his work as an experienced mental health practitioner to help individuals cope with the fear, trauma and stress brought on by disasters. He does this work locally and at times he deploys to disasters outside our region like mass shooting and wildfires.

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Producer & Editor: Will Wu
Hosts: Michael de Vulpillieres and Andrew Sindell

The Spirit of Giving Back

The Spirit of Giving Back

December 19, 2019

As a Disaster Spiritual Care volunteer, Rabbi Stephen Roberts provides a very unique form of assistance following emergencies large and small. Working alongside team members from different faiths, he tends to the spiritual needs of individuals recovering from trauma and tragedy by providing them with safe space in which to cope. And in doing this work, he also carries forward a long-standing family legacy of service.

Rabbi Stephen Roberts has volunteered with the American Red Cross for 20 years. He is currently the lead for the Disaster Spiritual Care Function within the American Red Cross in Greater New York. Previously, he served on the American Red Cross National Spiritual Care Oversight Committee from 2000-2016. In 2016 he contributed to the launch of the Disaster Spiritual Care Function within the American Red Cross. Further, Rabbi Roberts served four years on the National American Red Cross President’s National Diversity Advisory Committee.

Rabbi Roberts is also the co-editor of Disaster Spiritual Care 2nd Edition: Practical Clergy Responses to Community, Regional and National Tragedy which is the first comprehensive book for pastoral care in the face of disaster. His other publications include An Invitation to Chaplaincy Research: Entering the Process, Compassion Fatigue Among Chaplains, Clergy and Other Respondents After September 11and Jewish Pastoral Care in Wake of a Disaster. Rabbi Roberts is also the editor of Professional Spiritual and Pastoral Care: A Practical Clergy and Chaplain's Handbook.

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Producer & Editor: Chi Kong Lui
Hosts: Michael de Vulpillieres and Andrew Sindell

Ready When Called Upon

Ready When Called Upon

December 12, 2019

Fate rarely calls upon us at a moment of our choosing. These words of wisdom are best exemplified by the career of Red Cross IT specialist and international disaster responder Andy Li. Li has often been struck by some apprehension when confronted with the task of supporting major relief operations following some of the largest natural disasters in recent history, but in each instance, no matter what the challenge, his training and instincts took and over allowed him to accomplish the task at hand.

For more than a decade, Andy has served as IT Specialist, a role that has seen him support the organization at the local and national level. During this time, Andy has been called upon to provide IT Support during large-scale relief operations in the continental US and overseas territories: Hurricane Sandy in Greater NY in 2012-13, historic flooding in Louisiana in 2016, Typhoon Soudelor in Saipan in 2016, and Cyclone Gita in American Samoa 2018.

In additional to his work as an IT Specialist, Andy is also a member of the International Disaster Response Delegate Team, a highly specialized and select group of individuals who deploy to offer their expertise on the ground following complex emergencies across the globe. In March/April of this year Andy deployed support a Canadian Red Cross field hospital in Mozambique following Cyclone Idai in 2019. A few months after our interview, Li traveled to the Bahamas to support Hurricane Dorian relief.

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Producer: Chi Kong Lui
Editor: John Cunningham
Host: Michael de Vulpillieres
Photo: Katie Wilkes

Finding Time To Do Good

Finding Time To Do Good

December 5, 2019

For many, balancing work and family life is challenging enough let alone finding time for the causes we care most deeply about. What makes Conrad Meyer such a model for those who want to make a difference in the world is how, throughout the different stages of his corporate and retired life, he always found time to not only give back, but to involve his family.

During his 25-year career on Wall Street, Conrad was a founding member of Lehman Brothers' Mergers and Acquisitions Department and went on to run the global M&A new business development efforts of Morgan Stanley and Gleacher Partners.

In retirement, Conrad has been involved with a number of non-profit organizations. He is currently a board member the American Red Cross in Greater New York, Chairman of The Blacksmith Institute/Pure Earth, and a board member and Vice Chair of the Hudson River Museum. He is also an active volunteer for each of these groups.

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Producer: Chi Kong Lui
Editor: Sue Tran
Host: Michael de Vulpillieres
Photo: Kevin Suttlehan

Paws for a Cause

Paws for a Cause

November 19, 2019

Everyone can look back into their past and point to one or two defining moments that forever changed the course of their lives. For Judy Audevard that moment came the day her pet Kizzy opened her eyes and her heart to the incredible healing power of dogs. Judy eventually gave up her successful corporate career to dedicate her life to bringing therapy animals to adults and children suffering from anxiety, tragedy and trauma.  

Judy Audevard is President and Founder of the Hudson Valley Paws for a Cause Pet Therapy Program. This is a 501C3 organization who have over 100 Therapy Dog teams affiliated with them. Her work has been recognized by prominent organizations like the United States Military Academy at West Point and the American Red Cross. She has written a nonfiction children’s book called One Incredible dog Kizzy and co-authored a book called At Your Service. Stories about Therapy Dogs and how they help the people they serve.

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Producer & Editor: Chi Kong Lui
Hosts: Michael de Vulpillieres and Andrew Sindell

Through the Fire

Through the Fire

November 6, 2019

Imagine arriving at work one morning greeted by the sight of smoke, and embers falling from the sky. Imagine a situation that deteriorates very quickly, one that forces your entire workplace, and your entire town to evacuate. Imagine escaping town in your vehicle and seeing nothing but smoke and fire all around you. And, finally imagine a six-hour drive to safety knowing that your home is probably destroyed.

These circumstances were very real for the residents of Paradise, California where, on November 8, 2018, a massive wildfire devastated this tightknit community. 

Abigail Gerspacher-Davis and Mary Petersen Ludwig, teachers from Paradise, were among the many heroes who helped save lives that day. Driven by school bus driver Kevin McKay, Abigail and Mary helped evacuate a group of 22 young students from Ponderosa Elementary School and accompanied them on a long and terrifying ride to safety.

On October 16, 2019, Kevin, Mary and Abigail were recognized for their courage and compassion at the 2019 American Red Cross in Greater NY Heroes Among Us Gala.

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Producer: Craig Cooper
Editor: Chi Kong Lui
Host: Michael de Vulpillieres

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