Fred Wilson has endured more than his share of hardship. On Dec. 5, 2007, he was working as a manager at Von Maur at
Westroads Mall when a shooter opened fire in the store, killing eight and wounding many, including Wilson. He underwent multiple surgeries and more blood transfusions than he can remember.
“I miraculously survived my serious injuries, although I had lost much blood and was near death,” Wilson said.
Tragedy struck again when, on June 28, 2013, the fire alarm went off in Wilson’s apartment building. He escaped safely, but lost his home and all of his belongings. The American Red Cross was there for Wilson to comfort him and help him figure out his next steps.
In honor of Fred Wilson, the Red Cross will hold a blood drive April 4, from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Red Cross Omaha Chapter building, 2912 S. 80th Ave. in Omaha, and at the Red Cross Loess Hills Blood Donation Center, 705 N. 16th St. in Council Bluffs. The community is invited to help celebrate the work of the Red Cross and honor Fred Wilson by donating in his name.
Additionally, Red Cross volunteers will be on hand during the blood drive to provide home fire safety education and to help create individual fire escape plans.
“Fred Wilson is an example of community resilience,” said Jill Orton, Chief Executive for the Omaha Council Bluffs Metro Chapter of the American Red Cross. “Through unexpected tragedy and crisis he utilized the lifesaving biomedical and humanitarian services of the American Red Cross, and we are pleased to be hosting the April 4th event in his honor.”
To make an appointment to donate at the blood drive honoring Fred Wilson, use the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org, or call 1-800-RED CROSS.
How to donate blood
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 in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), 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.
Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass
and follow the instructions on the site.
Home Fire Safety
You may only have two minutes to escape when a fire occurs, but most people mistakenly believe they have more than twice as long to get out. The Red Cross recommends that households develop a fire escape plan and practice it at least twice a year with everyone who lives in the home. People should know two ways to escape from every room and designate a safe place to meet outside the home in case of a fire.
Discuss the plan with everyone in the household and practice until every member of your household including children – can escape in less than two minutes. Many home fires can be prevented. Homeowners should avoid using items that can be hazardous such as candles and space heaters – common items that can turn dangerous very quickly.
You can help people affected by home fires and countless other crises by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to, and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit redcross.org; call 1-800-RED CROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. For more Red Cross fire safety and preparedness information, visit www.redcross.org/homefires
About the American Red Cross in Nebraska
The first Nebraska Red Cross chapter was established in Omaha in 1917. With the support of volunteers and donors, the Red Cross has expanded across Nebraska and Southwest Iowa to help countless people. Over the past 100 years, the Red Cross has helped people like Fred Wilson every day by collecting blood and providing comfort and assistance after home fires and other disasters
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org
, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross