U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Pays It Forward

SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE (April 8, 2014) – U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Anthony Smith, the Patient Advocate for the 4th Medical Group, 4th Fighter Wing, helps service members and their families in a variety of ways. In addition to his active duty responsibilities, Smith is a dedicated American Red Cross volunteer.

USAF Master Sgt. Anthony Smith is an American Red Cross volunteer.

USAF Master Sgt. Anthony Smith is an American Red Cross volunteer.

This week, in honor of National Volunteer Week, the American Red Cross Eastern Region will present Smith with the President’s Volunteer Service Award, a national honor offered in recognition of volunteer service.

The President’s Volunteer Service Award is issued by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation on behalf of the President of the United States to recognize the best in American spirit, and to encourage all Americans to improve their communities through volunteer service.

Smith, a Wayne County resident, is one of eight volunteers who will be presented with volunteer recognition awards tomorrow by Col. Jeannie M. Leavitt, Commanding Officer, 4th Fighter Wing aboard Seymour Johnson AFB. Smith will receive the President’s Volunteer Service Award (Silver Level), having logged nearly 500 hours of volunteer service with the Red Cross during the past year.

Every Red Cross volunteer seems to have his/her own unique story and significant event that brought them to volunteer service. For Smith, it was a Red Cross notification in late 2011 that his father, James Smith, Sr., suddenly became very ill. Diagnosed with terminal cancer, his father was only given months to live and his son requested and received a humanitarian transfer in January 2012 to Seymour Johnson AFB to be with him for the final months of his life. Mr. Smith passed away in March 2012. Reflecting upon his father’s life and wanting to honor his memory, Smith turned to the Red Cross.

“My father taught me so much throughout his life,” said Smith. “I wanted to honor him by giving back to my community. The Red Cross was there for me and I felt that it was an opportunity that I could put my heart into.”

Smith began his volunteer service as a case worker for military families. He credits his active duty service for enabling him to better support the service members and their families who come to the Red Cross for assistance.

“Compassion is the key to case work,” Smith explained. “No one ever gets a heads up when bad things are about to happen. When they do, people just want to know that they’re not facing the situation alone. Sometimes the days are hard, but that’s what keeps me going.”

To learn more about how you can become a Red Cross volunteer, please visit http://www.redcross.org.rco_blog_img_anthony

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