The Eastern North Carolina Region spent the last few months recognizing all the accomplishments that our 4,200 Red Cross volunteers have done through out the year. Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross more than 130 years ago to provide aid to service members during the Civil War. While the mission of the ARC has expanded beyond just service to the armed forces, Red Cross volunteers still perform vital functions to help support our service members and their Families, at home and overseas.
The majority of the Red Cross volunteers at Fort Bragg spend their time at Womack Army Medical Center, “You can’t walk through the hospital without seeing blue vest after blue vest and smiling face after smiling face,” said Col. Ronald Stephens, commander, WAMC, referring to the vests the volunteers wear while on duty (Quoted from Paraglide online “Sharing Smiles: Red Cross volunteers receive thanks”). Three amazing volunteers who work on Fort Bragg received a Partnership Award for cooperative work between paid and volunteer staff. Wanda Smith, Linda Daney and Ivette Davis have shown a commitment to not only the Red Cross mission but to builiding a great team within Fort Bragg community.
A Red Cross leader for more than 20 years, Margaret Idol, Disaster Services Manager, was bestowed “The Order of the Long Leaf Pine” , a very prestigious award in North Carolina that very few receive. The award was presented to Margaret at the Onslow County Chapter Annual Meeting in June by Edward Buck and N.C. State Representative Philip Shepard. Margaret has assisted with over 25 disaster relief operations and leads day to day Disaster Services in the Onslow County area. She is a retired Educator and has dedicated her time to giving back to the community. Margaret spends many hours continuing from her professional life ended and her volunteer life began as a disaster instructor and trainer. She has led a very success volunteer disaster training program in the Onslow County Chapter and is a great role model for those around her.
Dayl Dougherty was honored at the Triangle Area Chapter Volunteer Recognition Event for her work in Blood Services as well as the Office Administration Area. While we talk about the importance of the canteen and greeter volunteers in Blood Services, working in Office Administration is critical to support the Red Cross for day to day mission delivery. Dayl Dougherty first became aware of the American Red Cross when her mother told her about some of her exploits in Europe during World War II where she served as a Red Cross driver for General Gavin. After graduating from nursing school, Dayl came to work for the Red Cross in Blood Services in 1997. This is where she learned how to identify a good vein to draw blood which not only helped her career but also her patients. She took the skill sets she learned at the Red Cross as she continued her career in the medical field in many other areas. When Dayl retired she decided to turn her compassion in to action to give back by volunteering and lucky for us, she chose the Red Cross. She has worked more than 136 hours this past year working at the Peartree Lane Blood Center, at mobile drives, in apheresis and serving as a volunteer receptionist in the Raleigh office. When Dayl works, she always has a smile on her face and her compassion comes through whether she is answering the phones, assisting a client that comes into the office, helping the office staff or working with donors and apheresis patients. Dayl is recognized for her exceptional volunteer service and the commitment and compassion she brings with her every day to us and to our community.
At the Volunteer Center of Durham 41st Annual Key Volunteer of the Year and Governor’s Volunteers Service Awards Luncheon, Mark Rodrigues and Marie McIntyre, and Sue Reinhardt were recognized for their hard work and dedication to the Disaster Services programs and the mission of the Red Cross. Sue Reinhardt was further recognized with the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award. Sue is a Mass Care lead in the Central North Carolina area, she led the way to updating all the sheltering agreements for 51 shelters in 20 counties. In her spare time as a volunteer Sue will teach new volunteers; whether in a class setting or in small informal groups to accomplish various projects.
One of our youth volunteers, MaKayla Newcomb, 11 years old and a very active blood services volunteer entered the 4-H 2015 Presentation Day competition. Her presentation was on the various service lines of the Red Cross complete with props, a very interactive PowerPoint and ended as a recruitment for more volunteers. Makayla is engaging with the blood donors conversing about Red Cross services, fundraising and other activities. Makayla won the State 4-H competition with a Gold Award for her presentation; her future is very bright and full of possibilities. Congratulations to Makayla!
Along with handing out service line awards, several Volunteer of the Year awards, Leadership awards, and years of service pins were handed out this year. Years of Service pins included a 75 year volunteer, Doris Martin, Onslow County Chapter, who has assisted with sheltering and other needs since she was a 14 year old girl in Massachusetts. Blackhawk Fornelli, Greater Pamlico Area Chapter, received his 45 year pin and began his Red Cross volunteer career as a Health and Safety instructor.
120 Presidential Volunteer Service Awards were given out at the Annual Meetings in June. Sherry Clain is a new addition to the Eastern North Carolina Region volunteer team after living in New Jersey for many years. Sherry now lives in the Wilmington area and is currently partnering with a Disaster Program Manager virtually in New Jersey as well as becoming a new addition to the Disaster Workforce Volunteer Team in the Cape Fear Chapter. Sherry has served on several disaster responses including the plane that landed on the Hudson River and Hurricane Sandy. For all the dedication to the Red Cross over the years Sherry has accumulated over 5,100 volunteers and recently received the Presidential Volunteer Service Lifetime Award.
In conclusion, our volunteers are the heart and soul of our organization making up more than 90% of our workforce. While this article acknowledges the accomplishments of a few great volunteers we have many to thank. Whether you give 1 hour or 30 hours a week, month or year we thank you for all that you do. If you know of someone who would like to volunteer, such as a friend, co-worker or family member please have them go to our website and complete an online application so they too can enjoy and experience the work we do first hand.