Red Cross Announces Labor Activist Will Chair Florida Heroes Campaign

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Seth Eisenberg will serve as chairman of the Heroes for the Red Cross campaign in Broward County, Florida. William B. Epps, Jr., executive director of the chapter, made the announcement, recognizing Eisenberg as "a national labor leader who has repeatedly demonstrated his commitment to making a difference for children and families.” Epps also praised America's union members for supporting the Red Cross. “Red Cross has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with America’s workers over much of the past century on behalf of community preparedness, safer neighborhoods and our mutual commitment to neighbors helping neighbors in times of crisis,” he said.

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Broward County, FL, September 14, 2004 -- Seth Eisenberg, a freelance writer, communications specialist, and labor leader, will serve as chairman of Heroes for the Red Cross in Broward County, announced William B. Epps, Jr., executive director of the local chapter.

Staff and volunteers from the Fort Lauderdale area chapter (http://www.arcbcc.org ) have been in the office, shelters and on-call throughout the community nonstop since Floridians statewide began experiencing the unusually active 2004 Hurricane season (including Hurricane Charley, Hurricane Frances and Hurricane Ivan) that began in August. While the impact of the powerful Atlantic storms on Florida's residents has placed the local chapter under greater pressure in recent weeks, Red Cross (http://www.redcross.org ) staff and volunteers are frontline responders during emergencies of all types throughout the year.

As chairman of the Heroes campaign, Eisenberg will help the Broward chapter attract increased resources to strengthen preparedness, training and infrastructure that can potentially impact every local resident in the event of an emergency.

In announcing Eisenberg’s appointment, Epps said, “I’m delighted that Seth Eisenberg, a national labor leader who has also repeatedly demonstrated his commitment to making a difference for children and families in south Florida, has agreed to serve as chairman of the Broward County Heroes for the Red Cross campaign.”

Eisenberg, a native of northern Virginia, has lived in Weston (http://www.westonfl.org ) since 1994, where his two sons attend middle and high school. He said he is pleased to have been asked to serve Red Cross, “especially at time when all Floridians recognize the vital importance of preparedness and training to safeguarding our families and neighborhoods.”

“Actively contributing to stronger neighborhoods and communities has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember,” Eisenberg said.

His first national service began in 1978, he recalled, when he was elected national student president of Junior Achievement (http://www.ja.org ), a economic education program for youth. Eisenberg was later recognized for his public service by President Jimmy Carter (http://www.jimmycarter.org ) in an Oval Office meeting (http://www.whitehouse.gov ).

In 1980, Eisenberg was working as editor-in-chief of the bi-weekly Community newspaper serving 10,000 Jewish families in Louisville, Kentucky. Several months into the job, his boss told him he was sending the young journalist on a ten-day tour of Israel (http://www.jpost.com ) to report on a United Jewish Appeal (http://www.uja.org ) fact-finding mission. The experience changed Eisenberg’s life. Six months later, when he discovered it wasn’t his employer that paid for his trip to Israel, but a generous member of the community who had hoped to remain anonymous, Eisenberg was even more touched.

“I went right to the individual, Charlie Weisberg, and asked how I could ever repay him,” Eisenberg recalled. “He answered: ‘You’ll pay me back many times over by helping others throughout your life.’”

Eisenberg never forgot those words. “I’ve repeated them myself many times when those people I’ve helped have asked me the same question,” he said.

As advisory council chairman of the United Auto Workers, UAW (http://www.uaw.org ), for a 12-state region that stretches from Pennsylvania to Florida, Eisenberg sees the challenges and struggles facing Americans and their families everyday.

“We stand together at every opportunity for the rights and respect of workers who contribute so much of their lives to building America,” Eisenberg said. UAW, an AFL-CIO union (http://www.aflcio.org ), represents over one million automobile, aerospace, agricultural implement, public sector workers, freelance writers, academicians and a range of other technical, office and professional employees and retirees throughout the nation. Eisenberg is also state coordinator for UAW Local 1981, the National Writers Union.

Epps said Eisenberg’s leadership role in the labor movement influenced the decision to ask him to chair the Red Cross Heroes campaign.

“Red Cross has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with America’s workers over much of the past century on behalf of community preparedness, safer neighborhoods and our mutual commitment to neighbors helping neighbors in times of crisis,” said Epps.

“Time and again,” the Red Cross director added, “chapters across America have benefited from the generosity and selfless dedication shown by members of America’s labor unions.”

Eisenberg has often addressed state and national audiences on the challenges facing youth and families. As director of PAIRS (http://www.pairs.org ) from 1995 to 2001, he helped develop communications skills and emotional intelligence training that he taught to thousands of Florida students. He went on to found 411-KIDS (http://www.411kids.org ) to provide an umbrella for volunteers to help runaway, homeless and disadvantaged youth.

Eisenberg continues to work actively with at-risk youth and adults throughout the state.

Professionally, Eisenberg is a freelance writer and communications specialist, serving a select group of non-profit, academic, political and corporate clients with material development, public relations, and training.

Red Cross is banking on Eisenberg’s experience to help strengthen operations in Broward County while developing additional resources critical to meeting local needs.

“As our campaign chairman, Seth will work closely with our professional staff and volunteers to share the Red Cross story with other leaders throughout our community,” Epps said. “I know his own passion, enthusiasm and enormous dedication will help many others appreciate the role of Red Cross and realize their participation in the Heroes campaign is critically important to our own families and neighbors,” the executive director added.

Eisenberg said he has already begun working with other campaign volunteers to identify as many as 200 Heroes for the Red Cross in Broward County.

“This is not a job any of us can do alone,” Eisenberg said. “Red Cross – like all great enterprises – is about what’s possible when we work together towards a common goal. Red Cross is there for all of us every day. The Heroes campaign is about being there for the Red Cross and for each other.”

To learn more about serving as a Hero for the Red Cross, or involving your business, school, church, club or organization in the campaign, call Red Cross at (954) 797-3842, E-mail RedCrossHeroes@aol.com , or visit http://www.arcbcc.org .

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