Red Cross Shares Tips for a Safe Labor Day Weekend


The Labor Day holiday is upon us, signaling the unofficial end of summer and time for that last hurrah of summer fun. The American Red Cross has steps everyone can take to help stay safe over the long holiday weekend.


TRAVEL SAFETY Many families see the holiday weekend as their last chance to travel and celebrate the end of the season. Many will hit the road sometime over the three-day holiday weekend. The Red Cross offers these travel tips to help keep you safe on the highway:

  • Find out what disasters may occur where you are traveling and how you would get information in the event of a disaster (local radio systems, emergency alert systems).
  • Pay attention to the weather forecast for your destination.
  • Buckle up, slow down, and don’t drink and drive. Designate a driver who won’t drink.
  • Be well rested and alert; give your full attention to the road.
  • Use caution in work zones.
  • Observe speed limits.
  • Make frequent stops.
  • Be respectful of other motorists.
  • Clean your vehicle’s lights and windows to help you see, especially at night.
  • Turn your headlights on as dusk approaches, or during inclement weather, and don’t overdrive your headlights.
  • Carry a Disaster Supplies Kit in your trunk.
  • Don’t let your vehicle’s gas tank get too low.
  • If you have car trouble, pull as far as possible off the highway.
  • Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.


RIP CURRENTS If a trip to the beach is part of your weekend plans, remember the possibility of dangerous rip currents which are responsible for deaths on our nation’s beaches every year, and for most of the rescues performed by lifeguards. For your safety, be aware of the dangers of rip currents and remember the following:

  • If you are caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current. Once you are free, turn and swim toward shore. If you can’t swim to the shore, float or tread water until you are free of the rip current and then head toward shore.
  • Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist near these structures.


GRILLING SAFETY Perhaps your plans include an old-fashioned barbecue at home. The Red Cross offers these steps you should follow to use that backyard grill safely:

  • Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
  • Never grill indoors – not in your house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
  • Make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.
  • Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
  • Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to help keep the chef safe.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using grills.


The Red Cross hopes everyone enjoys their Labor Day weekend and stays safe whatever their plans may be. For more information, visit

American Red Cross and Co-Operative Insurance Companies Announce Vermont’s Recipients of the “2018 Everyday Heroes Awards”

Everyday Heroes logo

Co-Operative Insurance Companies Proudly Sponsors Event Honoring Extraordinary Vermont Citizens

Every day, ordinary people make extraordinary contributions by putting their needs aside to help others in our community. The American Red Cross is honored to salute these unsung heroes. A hero might be a lifeguard who saved a drowning child, an ordinary citizen who performed CPR when a stranger collapsed, or someone who saved a neighbor’s beloved pets from a fire.

The Everyday Heroes Awards are celebrated all over the country at which the American Red Cross honors people who personify our mission of service and help in local communities. To celebrate acts of kindness in Vermont, the American Red Cross will honor local heroes at the 2018 Everyday Heroes Awards on April 11, 2018.

This year’s Vermont Heroes are continuing proof that one person can indeed make a lasting and meaningful impact. The 2018 Everyday Heroes Awards are presented by the New Hampshire / Vermont Region of the American Red Cross, Co-Operative Insurance Companies, and WPTZ NBC5.

The 2018 Everyday Heroes Awards will be presented :

When: Wednesday, April 11, 2018, from 5:30p to 8:30pm.

Where: Doubletree by Hilton, Burlington Vermont Hotel at 870 Williston Road, South Burlington, VT

Ticket Price: Single ticket for $30, or a table of 8 for $225.

Includes: admittance to the event and heavy hors d’oeuvres. Purchase tickets here: hampshirevermont/everydayheroesvt.

For information on sponsoring or attending this heartwarming event, go to

Questions can be directed to Stephanie at


Vermont Everyday Heroes Award Winners 2018

Gerald Hornung
Shelburne, VT  (Chittenden County)

JedGerald “Jed” Hornung has been volunteering for the American Red Cross for more than 70 years. Jed’s tireless work for the Red Cross began at an early age.  Jed took on leadership of his local Junior Red Cross (JRC) chapter in Oklahoma City.  After a series of city, state and regional elections throughout the Mid-West, Jed became the first-ever Youth Chairman of the National Advisory Committee for the JRC.  As its Youth Chairman, Jed traveled across the U.S. speaking to thousands of people on behalf of the Red Cross culminating in 1947, when Jed was the youth speaker at the National Red Cross Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, which was attended by more than 4,000 adults and 1,000 young people from across the U.S.  Today, Jed lives in Vermont with his wife, Jini, and continues to support and advocate for the American Red Cross.


Ilka Pritchard
Burlington, VT  (Chittenden County)

ilka In 2014, Ilka Pritchard volunteered for an event called the Spectrum Sleep Out, a fundraiser for Spectrum Youth and Family Services. Since then, she’s become one of Spectrum’s most dedicated volunteers as well as volunteering for The Empty Bowl, Spectrum’s other annual fundraiser. On Thanksgiving Day, you’ll find her preparing hot meals for Spectrum kids. In a recent blog post for Spectrum, Ilka wrote, “It is my wish that the youth we serve feel the love and care that we put into these efforts and that it gives them hope — because hope is something money can’t buy.”


Cameron Greene
Rutland, VT  (Rutland County)

cameronCameron Greene was outside having lunch when he noticed his friend, Joe Anderson, desperately signaling that he couldn’t breathe. Cameron recalled an emergency aid poster that used to hang just outside the school lunchroom, and, remembering its instructions, he began to apply abdominal thrusts, which dislodged the obstruction from Joe’s throat. While many adults take First Aid and CPR classes, wondering if they’ll know what to do when that critical moment arises, Cameron’s quick reaction resulted in Joe’s ability to breathe again.


Jeremy Dunster
Graniteville, VT  (Washington County)

jeremyJeremey Dunster was just starting his day, when his dog Carmen began to whine as if something was wrong. Jeremy took her outside to discover that the two-family apartment building next door to his home was in flames. After notifying his own family and calling for help, Jeremy ran to the burning building, where he forced in the door of the downstairs resident and helped him out of the building. He then fought his way upstairs through the flames to alert a woman and her teenaged son, who lived on the second story. Thanks to Jeremy’s heroic efforts and quick thinking, with a notable assist from Carmen, only one person was taken to the hospital with minor injuries, and the devastating fire claimed no casualties.


Norwich University
Norwich, VT (Orange County)
For more than a decade, Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont has been hosting student-driven semi-annual blood drives on campus. These drives are notoriously successful, and since 2006 they have collected more than 8,600 units of blood. In October of 2017, dozens of cadets from the University participated in a Sound the Alarm event in nearby Williamstown, Vermont where they installed 466 smoke alarms in local homes, making it the most successful single-day smoke alarm installation event in our New Hampshire / Vermont region. These events and so many more are made possible by Norwich University’s Center for Civic Engagement. The work of Norwich University students in their community is a shining example of youth leadership and academic engagement in service of others. Accepting the award on behalf of Norwich University are Meredith Halik and Jack Labonte, who have been instrumental in organizing the blood drives in recent years, and Aidan Gaffney who coordinated cadet participation in Sound the Alarm.