Brave Hearts – Emergency Response


Emergency Response

Deputy Sheriff Jeff Mike

Award presented by Rockwell Automation


Photo credit, Front Room Photography

Imagine receiving a 911 call from a panicked mother and having to ask “is the child breathing?” When the response is “[She’s] trying to cry right now and puking out [her] mouth and nose,” panic is prevalent.

Deputy Sheriff Jeff Mike, with the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department, happened to be filling out paperwork near the scene and found himself responding before the dispatcher finished giving details. On his way there, he was mentally preparing for the worst and walking through his action plan for when he arrived.

He pulled up to the car, which was on the exit ramp near Layton Avenue, and saw the mother standing with a limp infant in her arms. Jeff could see no movement and a dull blue color emerging on the 7-month old’s skin. The CPR mask was out before he put his squad in park and he began what he had learned in CPR training. Jeff moved to the hood of his car for easier access and continued to do CPR on the infant with chest thrusts and rescue breaths. The time seemed to drag on, but it was probably only a matter of minutes. Jeff was “in the zone” to help this infant, not even recognizing a fellow police officer approach the scene or thinking of what the outcome might be. The mother was frantic, but could recognize that Jeff was doing his job and trying to help. After what seemed like forever, the infant twitched a finger and clenched her fist and opened her eyes. She was resuscitated.

Almost instantaneously, the paramedics arrived on the scene, taking over and assisting the infant in breathing. After stepping back, the adrenaline started pumping and Jeff began to shake. His partner could recognize the shock setting in and suggested that Jeff sit down for a minute to collect himself. Jeff would soon come to terms with what had just happened. Working as a first responder, some go a full career without ever needing the skills provided and yearly re-certifications. There is a need and want to “be prepared for whatever may happen.” Jeff, getting a little teary eyed, couldn’t fathom losing one of his own children and feels that “the greatest moment that I will take away from this job is saving a 7-month old.”

You can further support the American Red Cross by attending the upcoming Brave Hearts: Heroes Among Us event on May 1st (tickets available HERE) or by taking a CPR/AED or First Aid courses to become better prepared (information HERE).

*Photo provided by Front Room Photography

Donate Blood In Honor Of Pat Baganz

Pat Baganz has undergone chemotherapy and surgery while battling ovarian cancer. “I have always assumed the people receiving my blood were victims of accidents or women in childbirth,” said Baganz, a blood donor for more than 30 years. “It didn’t occur to me that people with cancer would have surgeries that might necessitate a blood transfusion. So it came as a surprise when the nurse admitting me for my ovarian cancer surgery asked if I would accept a transfusion if necessary. Fortunately, I didn’t need one, but I am so grateful that blood donors would have made that lifesaving transfusion a possibility.”

Friday, April 18, 2014

Living Hope Lutheran Church
851 W. Dekora St.
Saukville, WI 53080
12PM – 5PM

Donors of all blood types are needed, especially those with O positive, O negative, B negative and A negative. Type AB blood, which contains the universal plasma type, is also needed – a type possessed by a mere 4 percent of the U.S. population. The Red Cross must collect 15,000 pints of blood every day to meet the needs of patients at approximately 2,700 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country, including 46 in Wisconsin. And red blood cells have a shelf life of only 42 days and platelets just five days, so they have to be constantly replenished.

To make a blood donation appointment, please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit Walk-ins are also welcome. For more information about the blood drive, please contact Baganz at 262-353-6555 or

How to donate blood

Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Brave Hearts – Youth



Nick and Alex Stanisic, Alex Wimmer & Sage Schram

Award presented by State Farm


Photo credit, Front Room Photography

Nick and Alex Stanisic, Alex Wimmer and Sage Schram all grew up together. Now, at the age of 17, they attend Wauwatosa West High School. Having played soccer since before they could remember, driving together to a home game against Pius XI was a regular occurrence.

As Nick, Alex and Sage turned down “Wimmer’s” street, to pick him up, they saw a woman lying next to a vehicle. Immediately, they jumped out of the car, acting on their own gut instincts. The woman’s son was in the back, buckled into his car seat and was very upset. Alex went to check on the woman’s condition, noting that her eyelids were fluttering and she was breathing. Nick ran up the street to get Wimmer and his parents, hoping that they knew who the woman was. Sage called 911, calmly explaining that there was a woman unconscious and then going to comfort her son. Working back and forth, the four continued checking conditions, calming the son and trying to find someone to help.

Nicole Kastner had picked up her 4-year old son from the babysitter, a neighbor on the street. While putting him in the car, she fell in the middle of the road, convulsing. No one was around, while she lay in danger. Her son had never seen Nicole have a seizure and only being 4, was unable to help. After the police and paramedics got to the scene, the boys left, running late for their game.

On the way to the game, the boys called their coach to inform him that they all would be late, not giving any explanation. Wauwatosa West went on to beat Pius XI that night, no one knowing why Nick, Alex, Alex W. and Sage had arrived late. Nicole, her husband and their babysitter were grateful to the boys, wanting to directly meet and thank them. It wasn’t until they went in search of the boys to thank them, that anyone knew what had happened. A face-to-face meeting was arranged and Nicole was able to personally thank the boys.

There are not many people out there who would have done that for a complete stranger,” Nicole said. “They are my angels.”

When asked what made them stop that day, rather than getting to the game on time, all of the boys paused to look at each other and all said at once “our parents.” Looking back, they realized the difference that they made, “more people in this world need to not be selfish…it’s the principles that we have grown up with and learned over the years while growing up together.”

You can further support the American Red Cross by attending the upcoming Brave Hearts: Heroes Among Us event on May 1st (tickets available HERE) or by taking a CPR/AED or First Aid courses to become better prepared (information HERE).

*Photo provided by Front Room Photography

Introducing Kyle Roeder, Disaster Program Manager!

Please join us in welcoming Kyle Roeder our new Disaster Program Manager! Basically, that means he coordinates the Red Cross disaster services in Racine, Kenosha, Walworth, Waukesha and Milwaukee counties – which includes mentoring our Disaster Action Team through the initial response to opening/closing a shelter to helping victims with a recovery plan.  The old adage of going from the “fire pan to the fryer” maybe applicable in his case as previous experience has been with the Union Grove-Yorkville Fire Department and Racine County Emergency Management, as well as working as a Fire Instructor/Post Advisor for the Fire Explorer Post 400.

He is also pursuing a Fire Science degree at Gateway Technical School!  That knowledge, will not only be put to good use here at the Red Cross but also during his time as an on-Call firefighter/EMT for the Town of Raymond.

Obviously, he has a real appreciation for fire departments, police officers and emergency management but most of all he is excited to be working with our outstanding volunteers!  Since we just finished our busiest fire season of the year truly appreciates Red Cross services even more.

“As a fire fighter, once the fire is out, we drove away. But the Red Cross stands beside the family – sometimes for a very long-time.  It’s this side of humanity and compassion which appeals to our volunteers and my goal will be to enable more volunteers to find their passion in the Red Cross!”

Please stop by to meet Kyle on the second floor of our Milwaukee office or shoot him an email at He looks forward to working with our entire disaster team, and you will see him on-scene at many of the greater Milwaukee area fires!

Please stop by to meet Kyle on the second floor of our Milwaukee office or shoot him an email at He looks forward to working with our entire disaster team, and you will see him on-scene at many of the greater Milwaukee area fires!


Brave Hearts – Military


2014 Military Hero

Murry Mitten 


Photo credit, Front Room Photography

Murry Mitten joined the Air National Guard in April of 1987. He went through pilot training in ’88 and had a 23-year career at the 128th Refueling Wing before retiring. Through his experiences, Murry flew KC-135s all over the world, became a Colonel at the 128th and is looked up to by many.

Taking care of yourself is not enough, there’s more to your life than just you.”

Murry served overseas and witnessed the many emergencies that the Red Cross has assisted with. Additionally, his parents were long time volunteer EMTs and Murry has previously attended Brave Hearts, twice, in support of friends and co-workers. Both of the award recipients came to the aid of someone, saving a life; one at night over a knife fight and the other on a sunny day, driving up north. Adam Kinzinger and Michael Guch inspired those affected by the individuals that they saved, the audience at Brave Hearts in 2007 and 2008, but more importantly, Murry. He left inspired, taking away many things, but most importantly – if something ever were an opportunity to help out in ANY way, he would.

Doing something has to be better than nothing and there’s no reason not to.”

Traveling from East Troy to Michigan, Murry never expected to have that opportunity to act. Driving a long distance, 30 seconds earlier or later, him and his fellow driver would have missed it completely. A semi truck in the southbound lane started to jackknife. Their first concern was that he was going to cross over the median and hit others and them in the northbound lanes. Shortly after the semi’s initial start of the jackknife, it started on fire. The semi truck fully jackknifed and the cab rolled on its passenger side. Without knowing what he was doing, Murry was out of the truck before it even came to a full halt.

Murry can’t believe, looking back, what happened next. As he approached the concrete barrier, a man with a sledgehammer came up behind him. Murry took the tool and ran to the trapped man in the cab. The driver, Melvin Phillips, was frantic and encouraging Murry to break him free. Murry began to hit the windshield, breaking open a hole large enough for the driver to get through. Unsure of the contents of the truck, Murry assisted Melvin to safety of the guardrail on the opposite side. Melvin collapsed from all of the smoke inhalation and as Murry looked back at the truck, it engulfed in flames. Rescue workers arrived on the scene, ensuring the safety of everyone. In a matter of minutes, the cab had jackknifed, overturned and went up in flames. Had it not been for Murry being at the right place at the right time and his dedication to helping others. Melvin may not be here with us today.

I hope I changed his life – I know he changed mine.”

This is especially emotional because Murry lost a relative in a semi truck overturn. He can’t imagine what would have happened if they hadn’t stopped for coffee and missed the accident. Murry sought out Melvin to send a card over Thanksgiving and in return, received the best Christmas present ever – a note from Melvin and his wife, thanking him.

You can further support the American Red Cross by attending the upcoming Brave Hearts: Heroes Among Us event on May 1st (tickets available HERE) or by volunteering with one of many opportunities, including Service to the Armed Forces (information HERE).

*Photo provided by Front Room Photography

Brave Hearts – Community Safety, Security & Resiliency


2014 Community Safety, Security & Resiliency Heroes

Lisa Schraufnagel & Sarah Bartosz

Award presented by Northwestern Mutual Foundation

FRPhoto_140312N_C120 (1)

Photo credit, Front Room Photography

Christopher Schraufnagel was first diagnosed in February 2011 and battled an aggressive Medduloblastoma brain tumor. He never complained and managed to smile every day as he bravely fought his cancer for fifteen months until he went to his eternal home in June 2012.

Jack Bartosz was first diagnosed with Stage IV, high-risk neuroblastoma in September 2005. Through years of treatments and trials, travels and tribulations, Jack’s indomitable spirit, joyous personality, and happy attitude affected all who knew him. Jack heroically battled cancer for more than 6 years and 11 months finding his ultimate cure in heaven in August 2012. His story is shared here:

Lisa and Sarah met at Children’s Hospital Intensive Care Unit in 2011, 1 month after Christopher had been diagnosed and six years after Jack had been diagnosed. The two had mutual friends who knew the difficulties that their families were going through and thought that they could benefit from the connection.

Wanting to give up anything in the world to have their sons back, they found good in their experiences – raising awareness on the lack of treatments and outdated methods. During the boys’ treatments, they received, on average two blood transfusions a week to keep them alive. Lisa and Sarah think back and realize how crucial these frequent blood donations were.

“Typically, you think of blood being needed during disasters; times when someone is injured in a crash or a crucial surgery happens. It was very eye opening to see how Christopher and Jack needed it to supply nutrients and immune support.”

Working with the American Red Cross Blood Services to plan an annual blood drive, was a way to give back. Christopher and Jack will always be remembered and the seeds of their awareness on the community will only continue to grow. Seeing the impact that their boys made on our communities were very heartfelt “Walk-ins that had never donated blood before were coming in to support the boys.” After the boys were gone, family, friends, neighbors and complete strangers were looking for a way to show their support to the families. By hosting the blood drives, we were engaging them in a way to support not only our boys, but all the children around the world that need blood transfusions on a monthly, weekly and daily basis.

Because of Lisa and Sarah’s efforts in coordinating successful blood drives (and future blood drives) the Red Cross will be able to continue to maintain a strong blood supply on the shelves for patients who need it, just like Christopher and Jack.

You can further support the American Red Cross by attending the upcoming Brave Hearts: Heroes Among Us event on May 1st (tickets available HERE) or by donating blood in honor of Christopher and Jack (appointments can be made HERE or by calling 1-800-RED Cross).


*Photo provided by Front Room Photography

National Volunteer Week! April 6 – 12, 2014


We are celebrating volunteers and the work they do in the community to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies. Almost one thousand active volunteers serve within the eight counties of Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter.

Last fiscal year, Red Cross volunteers provided food, shelter, comfort and hope to thousands who faced home fires, tornadoes, winter storms and other emergency situations an average of 1.3 disasters a day (462 annually). In addition, trained disaster responders like Phyllis Wiggins have been able to expand their skills and help people across the country during national deployments. When asked “why” Phyllis volunteers, she stated, “because it allows me, as a disabled Veteran, to contribute to society in a meaningful and purposeful way!”

In addition, volunteers trained thousands in lifesaving skills such as First Aid, CPR/AED and babysitting skills to name a few. Some volunteers also take this a step farther by participating at larger community events as a First Aid Service Team.

To support our military members and Veterans alike, Service to Armed Forces caseworkers validate emergency services for military members, and their families, serving around the globe. On a lighter note, we made, collected and distributed 50,000 holiday cards to Veterans and active duty members around the state.

Volunteers also helped collect and donate blood at the Waukesha Blood Donation Center along with one-day blood drives at businesses, schools and churches alike which helps support 46 Wisconsin hospitals. On average, the Red Cross must collect about 15,000 pints of blood every day from volunteer blood donors to meet the needs of patients at approximately 2,700 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country.

“To serve is beautiful, but only if it is done with joy and a whole heart and free mind,” states Pearl S. Buck a writer, Nobel Peace & Pulitzer Prize winner. “This quote embodies why our volunteers do what they do every day, and we couldn’t be prouder,” stated Leslie Luther, Director of Volunteers.

join-us_page_1-e1396635418494Click here to sign-up to volunteer and be a part of the lifesaving work we do!

Those interested in hosting a blood drive or scheduling an appointment to give blood can visit


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