Red Cross honors volunteers

May. 17, 2014 @ 04:11 PM

American Red Cross volunteers in Union County were honored recently at the organization’s annual Volunteer Appreciation celebration.

“The Red Cross could not exist without its volunteers,” said Sheila Crunkleton, community executive, adding that more than 90 percent of the Red Cross workforce is volunteers – more than 400,000 worldwide.

“All of our volunteers are heroes, all of them make an impact but sometimes a volunteer stands out,” she said in naming this year’s Volunteer of the Year Karol Medlock. “She takes on leadership roles, makes things happen when you don’t think it is possible and seems to always be around when there is a job to do or a need to be met. She has been involved with blood drives, disaster training, fundraising and office duties.”

Peter Gaiser was named the Emergency Services Volunteer of the Year. Not only does he fill in for the emergency services director when needed, Gaiser is the chapter’s Disaster Action Coordinator for volunteer disaster action teams, is the sheltering lead for the four-county territory and does data entry on disaster cases. “During the last ice and snow storm,” Crunkleton said, “he slept on a cot in the chapter to be available 24/7 and drove down to Wadesboro to help open a shelter in Anson County.” Gaiser also has left his home for weeks on end several times to respond to regional and national disasters.

Dawn Pierce was named Financial Development Volunteer of the Year for her two-year chairing of the chapter’s largest fund-raising event, the Rhapsody in Red Charity Ball and Auction, and for her almost weekly coordination of the event’s auction items.                                                

Taking the Health and Safety Volunteer of the Year award was Gordon Miller, who spends many hours volunteering and teaching health, safety and everyday life-saving classes to the public.                                               

Rad Pate with the City of Monroe earned the Blood Services Volunteer of the Year award. The City has sponsored blood drives for almost 14 years, currently holding three a year at the Monroe Aquatics & Fitness Center. Last year, the City’s drives collected 141 pints.

The Service to the Armed Forces Volunteer of the Year award went to Barbara Whitley, who is no stranger to anything with the Red Cross. As an armed forces volunteer, she helps link local military families to their loved ones through emergency communication, connects families with local community resources and supports our local veterans. At Valentine’s Day, Whitley led the volunteer drive to deliver more than 90 goodie bags to veterans in nursing facilities in Union and Anson counties.  

Police Officer Monique Holt, an adviser for the Red Cross Youth Club at Monroe Middle School, earned the Youth Sponsor of the Year award. Holt has volunteered at many events on her own time and involved students in many community activities.

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.

For more information, please visit redcross.org or on Twitter at @RedCross.