The Metro New York North chapter of the American Red Cross Greater New York Region held its annual recognition luncheon for West Point volunteers May 15. The event, held at the West Point Golf Course, was sponsored by the Daughters of the United States Army and the West Point Women’s club.
Mary Young, Metro New York North CEO, opened the event by thanking the more than 150 West Point volunteers for their selfless service.
“Each one of you makes it possible for us to fulfill our vital humanitarian mission of helping our neighbors in need. Your commitment and compassion are the heart of the Red Cross here at West Point,” she said.
Keynote speaker Josh Lockwood, CEO of the American Red Cross Greater New York Region, echoed Young’s words.
“It is a privilege to stand here today among so many committed Red Cross volunteers,” he said. “I’ve been with the Red Cross just under a year and in that time, I have been amazed and humbled by the incredible dedication you bring to our mission.”
Lockwood explained that a mandate requires all volunteers working in military medical facilities to be Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces volunteers. He praised Red Cross volunteers supporting Keller Army Community Hospital, working at Red Cross blood drives, supporting community outreach events on post, offering free trainings to military personnel and their families, and participating in the pet therapy program at West Point’s Warrior Transition Unit.
Three volunteers were then singled out for their exceptional dedication.
Rick Walls, outreach and special events coordinator working with the Warriors in Transition at the Soldier and Family Assistance Center, received the Betty Rasmussen Service Award, which recognizes an individual who has exhibited exceptional devotion to serving the West Point community.
West Point volunteer coordinator Barbara Smeland received the Harriet Demarest Congeniality Award, which recognizes an individual who serves the West Pont community with extraordinary kindness, optimism and cheerfulness
And Darlene Johnson, who chairs the Red Cross information desk at Keller Community Hospital, was awarded the Jean McArthur Volunteer of the Year award.
Johnson commented on her work at the hospital: "I really like being helpful and greeting patients when they come in. It is really nice to be a calm face when someone is worried, just a loving touch if they need that.”
To end the event, a raffle was held for three prints donated by Robert Gould, a 20-plus year volunteer and director of the Bethlehem Art Gallery. The gallery was established by his father, the late Hudson River School artist John Fleming Gould, who created numerous posters for the Red Cross. Robert Gould donated three of his father’s unframed prints of Hudson River scenes to the raffle.