The American Red Cross Works to Prevent Home Fires


Red Cross pic

Red Cross

In 2014, Cody Gotchall graduated from Crescent Valley High School, where he was an honors student and a member of the school’s robotics team. Since graduating from high school, he has studied at Oregon State University and Linn-Benton Community College. Alongside his academic pursuits, Cody Gotchall has supported several community organizations over the years, including the American Red Cross.

In its efforts to help individuals and families prepare for emergencies, the Red Cross oversees its Home Fire Campaign, which aims to reduce the number of fire-related injuries and deaths in the United States. Through the campaign, the organization works alongside community partners and volunteers to install free smoke alarms and provide educational programs focused on fire safety and preparedness.

Since launching the Home Fire Campaign in 2014, the Red Cross and its partners have installed over 1 million free smoke alarms. The organization also replaced over 50,000 smoke alarm batteries while helping families nationwide develop home fire escape plans.

In 2018, the Red Cross will continue to advance the Home Fire Campaign with Sound the Alarm events across the country. From April 28 to May 13, the organization plans to install 100,000 smoke alarms during events in over 100 major US cities. To learn more, visit


American Red Cross Calls for Emergency Blood Donations

American Red Cross pic

American Red Cross

A student at Linn-Benton Community College iLearn, Cody Gotchall has spent the past several years volunteering with numerous organizations. Over the years, Cody Gotchall has helped such groups as Habitat for Humanity and SAGE Garden. He also has donated blood to the American Red Cross since 2012.

In addition to providing disaster relief and training services, the American Red Cross takes and distributes blood donations. Because of blood shortages, the American Red Cross issued an emergency call for blood donations in early July 2017.

During the two months leading up to July, the American Red Cross was sending platelet and blood donations to hospitals faster than it was receiving donations. There was roughly 61,000 fewer donations than what the organization needed to meet the demand of hospitals. The organization believed this shortage resulted from fewer blood drives. Many drive sponsors had their vacation time during the summer, especially around Independence Day, and this resulted in close to 700 fewer blood drives organized during the week of July 4.

To address this shortage, the American Red Cross called for emergency donations. The organization reminds individuals that donating blood and platelets is a relatively simple process and that most individuals above the age of 17 are eligible to give.

Team Requirements for FIRST LEGO League


FIRST LEGO League pic


A lifelong Oregon resident, Cody Gotchall studies through Linn-Benton Community College’s iLearn program. Maintaining an interest in math and science, he belonged to a robotics team while in high school and is interested in FIRST Robotics. Cody Gotchall also volunteered with the FIRST LEGO League.

As part of its mission to develop the next generation’s technology and science leaders, FIRST hosts a variety of mentor-based programs, including the FIRST LEGO League.

Designed for individuals between grades four and eight, FIRST LEGO League promotes science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). By using STEM concepts, participants are asked to research and solve a real-world problem related to areas such as recycling or food safety. Each FIRST LEGO League team consists of up to 10 students who are led and motivated by at least two adult coaches. All teams must have a public or private meeting place that has internet access, along with a standard Challenge Set and LEGO MINDSTORMS robot set.

Teams typically form and register between the months of May and October each year. The FIRST LEGO League season challenge information is released in August. Once the challenge is released, teams have a minimum of eight weeks to complete their project. Specific tournament dates vary by season. All team members and coaches must agree to meet at least once per week between the months of September and April. Some teams may also want to compete in off-season events, so coaches must have the free time to accommodate these activities as well.

American Red Cross Blood Donation Eligibility Requirements

American Red Cross pic

American Red Cross

Linn-Benton Community College student Cody Gotchall is pursuing studies in business. Alongside his academic work, Cody Gotchall enjoys giving back to his community. He has been a regular Red Cross blood donor since 2012.

The American Red Cross allows most people in good health to make whole blood donations every 56 days. In most states, donors must be at least 17 years old to be eligible. In some states, 16-year-olds may also donate with parental permission.

Donors must be healthy and feeling well on the day they donate. They must weigh at least 110 pounds on the day of donation, though donors under the age of 18 may need to weigh a little more depending on state law.

Donors who meet this criteria will be evaluated prior to collecting blood. Some factors, such as current medication use or recent vaccinations, may render a prospective donor ineligible on that day. Other factors, such as sexual and travel histories, may also preclude some people in some circumstances. These factors will be discussed with Red Cross staff on the day of donation. To learn more, visit: