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Red Cross Nurses Serve in Many Different Ways

Joanne Perez
More than 20,000 nurses and student nurses serve the Red Cross today.

During National Nurses Week, the American Red Cross celebrates the contributions of the more than 20,000 nurses and student nurses who serve the organization today in many different capacities.

Nurses serve the Red Cross directly as part of disaster response teams, at health fairs, volunteering in military clinics and hospitals, manning first aid stations and promoting blood donations. Nurses also teach and help develop different courses like CPR and First Aid, Disaster Health Services, Nurse Assistant Training, Babysitting and Family Caregiving. They serve in management and supervisory roles in Red Cross chapters and blood regions and in leadership roles on local Red Cross boards and the national Board of Governors.

Several of our nurses and their contributions to the Red Cross include:

Mary Casey-Lockyer, MHS, RN, currently serves as the senior associate for Disaster Health Services at Red Cross National Headquarters in Washington, D.C., working in program development and continuous quality improvement. She previously was a Red Cross disaster volunteer who deployed eleven times on national responses, most recently for Hurricane Sandy. Casey-Lockyer earned a Masters Degree in Homeland Security for Public Health Preparedness in 2010 from the Pennsylvania State University Hershey School of Medicine and holds a Bachelors of Science in Nursing from DePaul University. Her nursing career includes critical care nursing and hospital wide administrative supervision.

Lucille Frisicano, RN, is the Health Services Advisor for the Northeast Division of the Red Cross. After retiring in 2012, she joined the Red Cross and has had seven national disaster deployments. Frisicano is active with her local Disaster Action Team (DAT) and Health Services. She graduated from Keuka College in the Finger Lakes of New York in 1978 and worked at Highland Hospital in Rochester, New York for 31 years in various capacities. She was also a member of the staff at the free-standing surgery center affiliated with University Hospital.

Sonia Rivera, RN, serves as Regional Health Services Advisor for the Caribbean Region of the Red Cross, Puerto Rico. Rivera has been a Red Cross volunteer since 2008, helping with Volunteer and Disaster Services as well as Service to the Armed Forces. With her background as a registered nurse who has worked in hospital, hospice and home infusion settings, she holds the position of Health Services Advisor in the Puerto Rico Chapter since October 2014. Her projects include participating in the preparation of a 10-year Plan with the Puerto Rico Health Department in the area of Public Health in Emergencies and Disasters, recruitment and training of health professionals as health service volunteers and providing disaster health services for clients with unmet disaster related needs.

Charlene Jones, RN, is a Red Cross volunteer on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands since 2010. She has helped after the earthquake in Haiti and been part of disaster relief teams in Louisiana after Hurricane Isaac and New York after Hurricane Sandy. Jones is a graduate of Freedmen’s Hospital School of Nursing in Washington, D.C. and a graduate of Howard University’s Physician’s Assistants program. She has practiced in the Virgin Islands, Georgia and New York as well as in Dakar, Senegal and Amman, Jordan with the Department of State.

Eileen Hadbavny, RN, is the regional lead SAF Caseworker for the Red Cross in Palmetto, South Carolina. Her first experience as a Red Cross volunteer was with Blood Services in Virginia in 1988 while her husband was in the Navy. After retiring in 2009, she became a full time volunteer, serving as an International Services Instructor for Restoring Family Links & IHL, an International Services caseworker, a volunteer SAF Manager, chapter health services lead, Chapter/Regional Health Reviewer and the VS Voluntary Service representation for Red Cross at the Charleston VA Hospital since 2005.

Phillip E. Bovender, RN, BSN, CCRN, is the State Nurse Leader for Maryland. Bovender began volunteering at age 14 for the Northwest North Carolina Red Cross Chapter at the VA Outpatient Clinic in Winston-Salem, He resumed his affiliation with Red Cross at the Chesapeake Regional Chapter in Baltimore in 2009 and became active with the Disaster Action Team (DAT). He deployed nationally to Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. As State Nurse Leader for Maryland, Bovender teaches Disaster Health and Sheltering to student nurses at several Maryland schools of nursing and has taught Disaster Nursing for six Maryland Health Departments. He has been active in Services to the Armed Forces by giving pre or post-deployment briefings of Red Cross programs to families of service members. Bovender also teaches Nurses Educating to Save Lives which prepares student nurses to promote blood donation in their communities. His proposals to foster diversity in the donor pool led to his regional chapter receiving the Susan Hassmiller Award. As an active DAT team member, he assists disaster clients with medication replacement, makes hospital visits to do casework and teaches inclusion of clients with functional needs. He received the Ann Magnussen Award in 2013. A 1989 graduate of Winston-Salem State University, he worked as a critical care nurse at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center for 18 years.

Debbie Hayden, RN, is the Disaster Health Services Regional Advisor for Greater New York. She joined the Red Cross in October of 2010 as a volunteer and has been the Health Services lead on Long Island since 2012. She deployed on six national disasters, including Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Sandy in her home chapter. The Greater New York Region has been very busy in the past few years. Under her leadership, the health services group has grown and includes outreach to student nurses.

JoAnn Dade, RN, PhD, Is the Disaster Health Services lead and Regional Nurse Leader for the metro Atlanta Red Cross chapter. She has been a volunteer for the Red Cross since 1990 and has served as Health Service lead for four years. During that time she has implemented many new initiatives such as the annual nurse week celebration. Dade is currently working to establish a mentoring program with Red Cross and the University of Phoenix for Health Administration students completing their degrees. Dade published an article depicting the emotional challenges faced by a volunteer Red Cross nurse entitled "Caring for the Community During Disasters" in Minority Nursing in 2012 and another article in Advance For Nurses in July 2013 titled "The Unsung Red Cross Heroes".

Debra Williams, RN., MSN., is the Division Nurse Leader and Staff Wellness Consultant for the Southwest and Rocky Mountain Division of the Red Cross. Her Red Cross experience began as a student nurse in 1979 teaching Family Care-Giving in the Houston, Texas community. Williams has also served as Chair of Disaster Health and Mental Services at Delmarva Chapter in Wilmington, Delaware and as Health Service Lead for the Greater Houston Area Chapter during multiple hurricanes. She also served as the Texas State Nurse Liaison to help build chapter recruitment and retention efforts for health professional in Preparedness, Health and Safety, Disaster, Service to Armed Forces and Blood Services. Williams has been awarded the Florence Nightingale Medal from the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Clara Barton Honor Award, Meritorious Volunteer Leadership in Houston and the William F. DuPont Excellence in Service Award, the highest Volunteer award for the Delmarva Chapter, Wilmington, Delaware.

About the American Red Cross:
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 or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.