New Bern, NC – On Tuesday, June 11th, 2013, the American Red Cross Coastal Carolina Chapter held its Annual Meeting at their new location in downtown New Bern. This year’s meeting recognized many of the volunteers who have helped the American Red Cross fulfill its mission in the community over the last year. One volunteer in particular was recognized for her service that spans over four decades.
Linda Eldredge was presented with the Lifetime of Service award. Many in the crowd held back tears as Linda was introduced and they listened to her compelling story. You see, Linda is not your typical Red Cross volunteer. This October Linda will celebrate her 44th year as an American Red Cross volunteer.
Linda first started volunteering with the Red Cross in 1969 as a dental assistant while her husband, Fred Eldredge, was deployed to Vietnam with the U.S. Marine Corps and she hasn’t looked back since. Averaging over 500 volunteer hours a year, Linda has surpassed the 22,000 volunteer hour mark and is still working as the Red Cross volunteer coordinator at Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station. Linda has given thousands of hours of service, all while, supporting her husband’s military career and raising a family.
Linda inherited the spirit of volunteerism from her mother who also volunteered with the American Red Cross and has passed this legacy of service to her granddaughter who volunteers with the Red Cross in Charlotte, NC. Linda credits her volunteer service as having “saved her life” at least twice. First as a military spouse coping with her husband’s various deployments in the Marine Corps, she found purpose and stability in her volunteer service and second as welcome distraction from chemotherapy treatments as she successfully battled cancer.
Linda still works two to three days a week at the Red Cross office on Cherry Point MCAS and is a leader in the Service to the Armed Forces Program as well as the Coastal Carolina Chapter. Linda’s lifetime commitment to serving the men and woman of the Armed Forces and their families is an incredible example of selfless service and unyielding determination and she is not done yet. Linda is looking forward to hitting the 50 year mark and says, “The best is still yet to come!”