Whether Green Bay’s Lakeland Chapter of the American Red Cross is organizing a blood drive or sponsoring a golf tournament, the chapter can count on the help of Kimberly Sawyer, Miss Wisconsin 2010.
A Red Cross volunteer since college, Sawyer says she “likes to help people and help them help others.”
Originally Sawyer came to the Red Cross as a blood donor. One of her cousins had leukemia at a young age and several blood transfusions saved his life, so when St. Norbert College held a blood drive Sawyer donated blood for the first time. She started talking to Red Cross staff and other donors, and, in her own words, “fell in love with the Red Cross and the wonderful things it does.”
Now a college graduate and a year-round volunteer, Sawyer has expanded the time she spends helping the Red Cross fulfill its mission to provide relief to victims of disasters and help people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. “All of us are so proud of Kimberly’s passion and her gift to give back,” says Red Cross communications director Barbara Behling. “This gal lives by what she says.”
When the chapter held a Dance with Our Stars fundraiser, Sawyer was there to help raise funds and awareness of Red Cross programs and services. Participating in the event took a lot of time—dancers received professional lessons, trained with their partners and then performed for a sell-out crowd.
Six months ago when the Haiti earthquake hit Sawyer was one of the first to offer to help with local fundraising efforts. The chapter partnered with the Festival Foods grocery store chain and Midwest Communications to have a radio, remote and in-store blitz. Sawyer tirelessly stood in Festival Foods stores, a smile on her face and a donation bucket in her hand.
Now Miss Wisconsin and on her way to the Miss America Pageant, Sawyer is able to do so much more than personally volunteer. She has the opportunity to inspire others to follow in her footsteps—and that is exactly what she is doing.
It is no surprise that Sawyer’s Miss Wisconsin Platform is volunteerism. She is encouraging people to volunteer, and to find volunteer opportunities that fit each person’s individual interests and goals. “It is imperative that each individual volunteer find a ‘Service for the Soul,’ a cause or organization that they can be passionate about,” Sawyer says.
She adds, “Even in tough economic times, we can build bridges, make a difference and contribute to the character of our communities one volunteer at a time.”