American Red Cross joins Dominican community relief efforts

On October 15, 2017 Dominican became an American Red Cross staff and volunteer staging center for a week, accommodating Red Cross personnel arriving in the Bay Area from throughout the United States to assist with relief efforts related to the North Bay Fires.

The Conlan Recreation Center was prepared to accommodate up to 200 Red Cross personnel. Red Cross staff and volunteers started arriving at the center early Sunday evening, October 15, and continued to arrive through the night. The staging center closed on October 23.

Dominican is located about 25 miles outside the fire zone. Given the University’s proximity to this disaster, the impact on the campus community has been widespread, with more than 500 students, faculty, and staff residing in the counties directly affected by the fires. The University is providing temporary accommodation to students, staff, faculty, and alumni who either have lost homes or were evacuated. The University continues to work with students, faculty, and staff on a case-by-case basis as the full extent of the damage is realized.

Dominican also was working as a resource for fire-related efforts.

“While the North Bay fires are ongoing and the full extent of the damage is not yet known, we know the impact is severe and the recovery will be extensive,” said Dominican University of California President Mary B. Marcy. “These are our colleagues, neighbors, friends, and family. This is our community. We will help this region heal.”

The University of San Francisco had been in touch concerning its Santa Rosa campus, and  Dominican was ready to provide classroom space to some of their faculty and staff. Over the October 14-15 weekend, Dominican donated food originally intended for our Family Weekend to the emergency evacuation center at the Marin County Civic Center.

Students were quick to organize efforts to provide assistance. When the disaster occurred nursing students and faculty traveled to Sonoma and Napa to volunteer at emergency relief centers. Student-athletes and students from the Department of Occupational Therapy organized a drive to collect and deliver food and supplies needed by relief agencies. A donation center was opened in the Conlan lobby.

Dominican alumni also provided critical assistance to fire victims.

•    Laura Bishop '12, Executive Director at North Bay Recovery Center, helped the center collect donations for those affected by the fires. Supplies were dropped off from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. through October 17 at 55 Shaver Street, Suite 200, San Rafael, CA
•    Melissa Stoakley ’17 is an executive assistant at the Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership. She was fielding calls as a disaster response assistant. She told us that she had been “connecting with thousands of passionate and generous individuals contacting us from all over the Bay Area willing to give their time and resources in whatever way possible.”
•    Maureen de Nieva-Marsh ’07, Senior Program Coordinator for Marin Health and Human Services in the County of Marin, worked 12-hour shifts in the government-run shelter for evacuees in the Marin Center Exhibit Hall. She stepped into her role as assistant Public Information Officer for Marin County Emergency Operations and was sharing information with evacuees, residents, and media.
•    Cady Marsh ’07 and MBA ’09, a social media specialist for AAA, visited an evacuation center at the Santa Rosa Fairgrounds to comfort people. She was sharing information to AAA members via social media.
•    Angela Beebe Todd ’08 works as a nurse at Sonoma Valley Hospital and with Planned Parenthood. She provided first aid for Spring Lake Village Independent Living facility when they evacuated to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. She also joined her parents, Dominican faculty members Kathleen and Jay Beebe, at Adele Harrison in Sonoma to help with displaced Sonoma Developmental Center patients.
•    Maggie Benedict-Montgomery ’08, a psychology professor at Dominican, was offering and organizing counseling services for fire victims, especially children, who were evacuated to the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds in Petaluma.
•    Carla Barbier ’07, who works for the Barbier Security Group, volunteered to provide security at the shelter at the Marin Center Exhibit Hall.

October 16, 2017