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September is National Preparedness Month

10 Red Cross Emergency KitThe American Red Cross Eastern North Carolina urges everyone to plan for emergencies by making preparedness a priority this September during National Preparedness Month. We have recently seen emergencies impacting people who don’t usually experience a major disaster or extreme weather, while other communities are going through the devastation of disasters multiple times a year.

“Disasters can happen anywhere, anytime. We urge people to prepare now and be ready if an emergency occurs in their home or in our local community,” said Barry Porter, Regional CEO, American Red Cross Eastern North Carolina Region. “Helping people during disasters is at the heart of our mission. Help keep your loved ones safe — get Red Cross Ready today.”

Help keep your family safe by taking three actions to 1) Get a Kit. 2) Make a Plan. 3) Be Informed.

First, build your emergency kit with a gallon of water per person per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for infants or pets, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information.

Next, plan what to do in case you are separated from your family during an emergency and what to do if you have to evacuate. Coordinate your plan with your child’s school, your work and your community’s emergency plans. Don’t forget to include your pets. Know in advance which pet-friendly hotels are in your area, and where your pets can stay in an emergency situation.

Finally, plan to stay informed by finding out how local officials will contact you during a disaster and how you will get important information, such as evacuation orders.

Depending on your household’s needs, there might be additional considerations to take into account as part of your emergency planning. For example, older adults or people with mobility, hearing, learning or seeing disabilities may need to create a support network of people that can help during an emergency.The Red Cross recommends creating a plan that considers each person’s capabilities, any help they may need and who can provide it. This is especially important if evacuations are called for or if the power goes out for several days.

Disasters can be scary for children. It’s important to talk with your kids about preparing for common emergencies, how to stay safe and what to expect before a disaster happens. The Red Cross has free programs and tools to help, visit redcross.org/youthprep for more information.

National Preparedness Month is also a good time to take steps to help your community get prepared for emergencies of all sizes. By volunteering, donating blood or learning lifesaving skills, you can be ready to help your loved ones and neighbors when needed. Visit redcross.org to learn more.

Red Cross volunteers play several critical roles in their local communities, including providing aid after disasters and educating people about home fire safety. People can also support local military members, veterans and their families, or volunteer as a blood donor ambassador or a blood transportation specialist to be the critical link between blood donors and recipients.

Blood can take up to three days to be tested, processed and made available for patients, so it’s the blood already on the shelves that helps to save lives in an emergency. To help prepare your community, make an appointment to donate blood or platelets and help save lives.

Learn lifesaving skills so you can help people in a crisis until medical professionals arrive. Sign up for a first aid, CPR or other classes available online or in-person.

Pictured: Learn what to pack in an emergency kit at https://rdcrss.org/3tolVEv (Photo courtesy American Red Cross)

Gateway improvements are encouraged

08 PONDEROSA2Residents of the new Ponderosa community off Bonanza Drive and city leaders were on hand for a neighborhood ribbon-cutting last month.

Residents, officials of the city’s Economic and Community Development Department and Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks and Recreation worked to refurbish the community entryway. The program fosters neighborhood pride in moderate income communities by providing funding for erection of neighborhood signs, landscaping and placemaking.

The objective is to create quality neighborhoods. Residents interested in learning more about the Neighborhood Beautification Program should contact the Economic and Community Development Department at 910-433-1590. Additional information: www.fayettevillenc.gov/city-services/economic-community-development/neighborhood-resources.

Volunteers needed for Cumberland County cleanup events

09 cleanupOn Sept. 18, community cleanups will take place in Fayetteville, Hope Mills, Spring Lake and unincorporated areas of Cumberland County. The goal is to combat health, environmental and economic harm caused by litter.

At the Fayetteville Beautiful cleanup, volunteers will be given free t-shirts and other giveaways. You can choose to clean around your school, street, church or other faith organization, or right in front of your home. Cleanup teams can enter a photo contest for a chance to win milkshakes for every team member, donated by Duck Donuts.

Fayetteville Beautiful is organized by the city of Fayetteville and the nonprofit Sustainable Sandhills. It is a bi-annual city-wide cleanup, held to raise awareness about litter prevention and help residents take pride in their city and neighborhoods. In Fayetteville, litter has been measured at a 14-year high, and litter crews pick up more than two tons of litter each week.

Litter is not only harmful to wildlife, but it is costly for businesses and city litter crews to clean up. It can also lower property values by around 7%. Wind and rain can also wash litter into and pollute waterways such as the Cape Fear River, which is a source for drinking water.

On Sept. 18, Fayetteville Beautiful volunteer team leaders can pick up supplies in front of Segra Stadium between 8 and 10 a.m., and then join their team to clean up the area they are registered for. Volunteer registration and more details are available at fayettevillebeautiful.com. All cleanup supplies will be provided.

Fayetteville City Council Member Yvonne Kinston is one of the event organizers. “Sign up online now to participate in this wonderful event,” Kinston said. “Clean up with friends and relatives or do this yourself to show that you care about the place we call home. The big win is that we’re helping ourselves, our futures and the earth. I challenge you to show up in a big way.”

"We want to go beyond cleaning up litter, and also convince people not to litter in the first place," says Jonelle Kimbrough, executive director of Sustainable Sandhills.

Kimbrough hopes that large community cleanups like Fayetteville Beautiful can help bring awareness to the problem and reach people with the message to not litter.

"Reducing disposables is also part of the solution," says Kimbrough. "That's why it's so important to use reusable water bottles, coffee cups, and grocery bags."

Fayetteville Beautiful partners include Duck Donuts, Beasley Media, Fayetteville Public Works Commission, the Rotary Club of Fayetteville, 4imprint, the Fayetteville Woodpeckers, Dunkin' Donuts, Biscuitville, Starbucks, Lidl and Navy Federal.

Pictured above: Volunteer registration and details on how to sign up for the Sept. 18 cleanup event in Cumberland County are available at fayettevillebeautiful.com. (Photo of previous cleanup courtesy Sustainable Sandhills)

13 U.S. service members killed in airport attack in Afghanistan

06 MilitaryGravesHC1405 sourceThe attack last week at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, claimed the lives of 13 service members including 11 Marines, a Navy corpsman and an Army soldier assigned to a unit from Fort Bragg.

Several Marines were wounded in the attack, said Marine Corps spokesman Maj. Jim Stenger. The attack was one of the deadliest of U.S. forces in the 20-year history of the war in Afghanistan.

“Freedom comes at a cost,” Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger said while visiting Camp Lejeune, N.C. “I think the best that we can do from where we sit here in North Carolina is send them our prayers,” Berger added. “These fallen heroes answered the call to go into harm’s way to do the honorable work of helping others. We are proud of their service and deeply saddened by their loss.”

There were more than 2,000 Marines in Kabul, Afghanistan. They had been rushed to the airport to aid in the evacuation of U.S. citizens and Afghans attempting to flee the country. They mostly came from the Central Command’s 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force.

Fort Bragg soldier among troops killed in Afghanistan

05 SSG Ryan KnaussStaff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, a soldier assigned to Fort Bragg’s 9th Battalion, 8th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne) died as a result of wounds sustained from an attack at the Hamid Karzai International Airport, where he was supporting non-combatant evacuation operations Aug. 26 in Kabul, Afghanistan.

“We share in the tremendous grief over the loss of Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, and we stand in support of his wife and entire family during this tragic time,” said Col. Jeremy Mushtare, commander of 8th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne). “Ryan was the embodiment of an Army Special Operations Forces soldier, a testament to the professionalism of the non-commissioned officer corps, and a steadfast husband and teammate. His loss is devastating to our formation and Army family.”

Knauss, 23, of Corryton, Tenn., joined the Army in May 2016. Following Initial Entry Training and Airborne School at Fort Benning, Ga., Knauss was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, and deployed to Afghanistan in 2017 as an infantryman. Upon returning home he attended and completed the Psychological Operations Assessment and Selection Course and the Psychological Operations Qualification Course. Upon graduation, Knauss was assigned to 9th Battalion, 8th POG (Airborne).

Staff Sgt. Knauss’s military education includes the Basic Airborne Course, Basic Leader Course, Advanced Leader Course, Psychological Operations Assessment and Selection Course, Psychological Operations Qualification Course, and Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape Course (Level C).

His awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, Bronze Star Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Combat Action Badge, and the Army Basic Parachutist Badge.

U.S. Representative Richard Hudson (NC-08), Fort Bragg's Congressman, released a statement Saturday that read "Renee and I join our country in praying for the family of Staff Sergeant Ryan Knauss, including his wife in Pinebluff and his extended family in Tennessee and Florida. His loss is felt by our entire Fort Bragg community and our nation will never forget his sacrifice, as well as that of all of our fallen service members. They put their lives on the line to save our fellow citizens and allies in harm's way. They are heroes."

Pictured: Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss (Photo courtesy 1st Special Forces Command)

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