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  ARC Heartland Chapter
2912 South 80th Avenue
Omaha, NE 68124
(402) 343-7700


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  Heartland Chapter

Red Cross Helps in Bus Tragedy

The first word of trouble came across our TV screens on the afternoon of October 13. West Dodge Road was closed due to a traffic accident involving a bus. Then Red Cross pagers began going off. Soon, 26 chapter volunteers and staff had responded to the call for help due to the tragic accident involving the Seward High School Marchng Band.

The band's bus flipped off West Dodge Road and plunged 60 feet into the Papio Creek killing three and injuring all of the others on board. The injured were transported to four area hospitals.

Both the Heartland and the Lancaster County Chapter responded to help. Band members in two other buses were directed to the Elkhorn High School as were family members of the victims. The Seward High School was opened as a crisis center with the Lancaster Red Cross responding to that location.

Disaster Mental Health Co-Chair, Margo Franz, recruited volunteers to the four area hospitals and to Elkhorn High School. They provided emotional support to the victims, family members, workers and others involved in the incident. Disaster Health Services nurses were also recruited to Elkhorn High School to provide support and verify a casualty list. Mass Care services were provided at the crash site and at the Elkhorn High School in cooperation with the Salvation Army and the Elkhorn High School staff.

Red Cross Mental Health volunteers remained at one hospital until nearly midnight supporting the families of those seriously hurt.

Nine Families Burned out of Homes

Nine families were left homeless by an apartment fire in Plattsmouth on October 26. DAT Supervisor, Verlan Rumbaugh, led the chapter's response after receiving a call from the Cass County Sheriff about 2:30 a.m. New team members Beth and Jeremiah Jansen joined Verlan, but shortly after arrival it was apparent additional help was needed. DAT Chairman, Mike Champ, was able to recruit Jim and Ardyth Baratta to meet the emergency needs of the families. Followup casework was handled by our Family Services Chair Marj Schierkolk and Susan Blausey. Families received nearly $15,000 in food, clothing, emergency lodging, rent, deposits and household furnishings.

DSHR Members Answer the Call

Staffing continues for the many disaster operations running simultaneously as a result of the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Disaster Mental Health workers assigned include Joyce Huebner, Robin Zagurski, Arlys Dill, Bev Macek, and Juanita Hunsaker. Martin Zaccone was a Mass Care worker, Noel Macek was assigned to Logistics, and Frank Walter was assigned to work Family Service.

Click here to see the DAT Volunteer Calendar for December.