GREENVILLE – This year’s American Red Cross Northern Miami Valley Ohio Chapter annual meeting was a little different.
The May 20 Annual Meeting and Volunteer Picnic was designed, specifically, to attract volunteers, according to the Director of the Red Cross Northern Miami Valley Ohio Chapter Lynne Gump. She has been director for 20 years. Her chapter includes the following six counties: Darke, Shelby, Logan, Champaign, Miami and Clark.
“Every non-profit has to have an annual open public meeting to present their numbers,” she said. “A couple years ago we thought to make a change and plan something our volunteers might attend. Last year we had a picnic with decent attendance. Today, there are about 90 people here, who bring their families.”
Something else that made this meeting special is that it is the Centennial Celebration of the American Red Cross. Chapter Chair Christina Chalmers said the meeting was to recognize and thank all of the volunteers for their service. One in particular was recognized for her 80 years of service, Lucy Wolfe.
“I’ve helped somebody – that is why I am in this,” Wolfe said. “Every time there is a disaster, they call me and I take off.”
The following awards were presented by Chapter Board Member Terri Flood. The Centennial Clara Barton Award: The volunteer who is inspirational and iconic, who volunteers with passion and clarity of mission went to Myrna Yoder.
“She is the type of volunteer that goes the extra mile in services for the Red Cross Disaster Mission.”
The Centennial Henry Dunant Award: The volunteer who is willing to volunteer without being asked; is always there when needed, whatever the task, went to Wendi Coffelt.
“Wendi first got involved with the Red Cross as a Volunteer Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) Instructor. She has now become a pivotal volunteer for the Cincinnati – Dayton region. She is involved in multiple programs, including CPR, Service to the Armed Forces (SAF), Disaster Action Team, National Deployments and Virtual Case Work. Wendi believes that the best part of volunteering for the Red Cross is the ability to act selflessly and help those who are in need. There is no act too small to help those who are going through unthinkable distress. Wendi follows up with military families who have experienced some sort of emergency on a daily basis. Wendi has personally reached out to 1,000+ family members a year and provides them with comfort, information and referrals and a pleasant, friendly voice telling them, we are here to help and everything will be ok. She is extremely deserving of this award.”
The Centennial Dr. Charles Drew Award: This volunteer who is selflessly giving in our Blood Services Mission went to Betty Hunt.
“She is one of our states most dedicated BioMed volunteers. Serving as an Ambassador, Betty is the smiling face who greets donors as they enter the blood drive. She learns returning faces and is a calming influence for new donors. Our blood donation program is stronger because of Betty.”
The Centennial Major Charles Lynch Award: The volunteer who exemplifies the high standards of our First Aid and CPR classes and encourages us to care for and save lives went to Stephan Biawitz.
“He teaches our classes with enthusiasm and knowledge.”
The Centennial Janet Wilson Award: The volunteer who sets an example by their work of ONE Red Cross went to Chapter Chair Christina Chalmers.
“She has carried the local chapter throughout the melding of six counties into one chapter. Her strong leadership has made this possible.”
The Centennial Commodore Wilbert E. Longfellow Award: The volunteer who advocates for the American Red Cross mission, who carries our story into action and who energizes others to join us went to Mary Lane.
“Mary is active in Home Fire Campaign, has taught as an instructor and is a board member. She is always thinking about what she can do for the American Red Cross. She shares our chapter’s posts on her Facebook page and engages her company with the work of the Red Cross. Mary is a strong and caring advocate for the American Red Cross mission”.
Chapter Chair Chalmers said everyone needs the Red Cross.
“Anytime there is a disaster – floods, tornadoes, fires – the Red Cross is there,” she said. “While the volunteer numbers fluctuate, we do have some consistent projects that recruit a lot of long-time volunteers, such as the Home Fire Campaign and CPR/First-Aid Instructors who teach classes,” Chalmers said, of which she is one.
“I think the services the American Red Cross provide are really important and necessary to the community. Everyone should learn CPR and First Aid. Those who have learned that have saved a lot of lives. Our blood services are big- not really here in this county – but in other areas. All of the services are here to help people. We do need the Red Cross.”
Donations for the event came from: Applebees, Merrill Electric, Young’s Dairy, Head Start, Wayne HeatlhCare, Staffmark, Darke Rural Electric, Mote & Associates, Inc.; Kroger and The Daily Advocate.
The writer may be reached at 937-569-4354. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.