It is often said at the American Red Cross that volunteers are at the heart of the organization. This is never more true than in small towns across the U.S., where volunteers lend their time—measured in months, years or even decades—to sustain their local Red Cross.
Vivian Clark began volunteering for the Red Cross in her hometown of South Boston, Va., in 1958. She was recognized for her service on May 8 at an event in Richmond, Va., held by the Greater Richmond Chapter of the Red Cross.
Blood Donation Advocate More than half a century after she started volunteering, Clark is still going strong, using her positive spirit to help bring people to the bloodmobile.
While donors are giving blood, Clark sits with them, talking and making them laugh. Time passes quickly, and before the donor knows it, they’re finished. As they leave, Clark tells them, “Thank you—and come back in 56 days!”
Clark’s connection to the community is even stronger because of her work at the bloodmobile. Often she’ll run into someone and ask, “Where do I know you from?” Many times, the answer is “From the bloodmobile.”
Although she knew how vital blood donation was, its importance really hit home when she was hospitalized and had to receive two units of blood. According to Clark, she felt the difference immediately, and then she understood what a lifesaving gift blood donation is.
Clark can’t donate blood herself due to anemia, but she tells donors, “You’re doing a wonderful thing. I wish I could donate, but instead I donate my time.”
Community Supporter Along with giving her time at the bloodmobile, Clark has been a great supporter of the local Red Cross as a whole.
Clark has known Ginger Weaver, head of the Halifax-Charlotte County Red Cross, since Weaver was a young girl. When Weaver began her job at the Red Cross, Clark approached her to offer suggestions on improving the chapter, including how to diversify its volunteer force.
As a one-employee chapter, Weaver is particularly thankful for Clark’s help, and for her lifetime of service.
As for Clark, her support of the Red Cross is unwavering. “Anytime [Ginger] needs me, I’ll be there,” she said.
Clark shows no signs of tiring of her volunteer work—on the contrary, her enjoyment shines through in every word. As she puts it, “I love people and I love life—and the bloodmobile is life.”