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Red Cross Volunteer Nurses Selected for Florence Nightingale Medal

Four American Red Cross volunteer nurses have been selected by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to receive the Florence Nightingale Medal, nursing’s highest international honor.

Those honored with the 43rd Florence Nightingale Medal are Cheryl Schmidt of Benton, Arkansas; Debra Williams of Edmond, Oklahoma; Janice Lufkin of Abington, Pennsylvania; and John Mark Burton of Covington, Georgia.

“These Red Cross nurse volunteers have helped bring food, shelter, comfort and hope during countless large and small disasters,” said Vivian Littlefield, American Red Cross National Chair of Nursing. “They have worked tirelessly to teach people what they should do before, during and after an emergency, and have formally trained scores of nurses and nursing students in basic disaster response.”

All four medal recipients serve as American Red Cross disaster health services volunteers. Together they have responded to some of the most catastrophic disasters the nation has faced, as well as countless community emergencies ranging from house fires to airline crashes to ice storms.

Medal recipients’ volunteer service goes beyond disasters. Debra Williams, for example, brings Red Cross services to members of the military and their families. Cheryl Schmidt has served as a CPR instructor, and on Bloodmobiles. Janice Lufkin spends weekends at community events, telling people about the Red Cross.

The 2011 Florence Nightingale Medal recipients are leaders. College professor Cheryl Schmidt is changing the education of student nurses to include disaster training. Janice Lufkin leads the largest Red Cross Disaster Action Team in Greater Philadelphia. John Mark Burton served on his local Red Cross chapter Board of Directors. Debra Williams heads the American Red Cross State Nurse Liaison Network, with members spread from Maine to Hawaii.

The International Committee of the Red Cross awarded 39 medals this year, to nurses and nursing aides from 18 nations. Medal recipients were active in public health, conflict situations, disaster situations and nursing education.

Around the globe, this elite cadre exhibited courage and active compassion, and conducted practical activities on behalf of injured, sick or otherwise vulnerable people.

U. S. recipients of the prestigious 2011 Florence Nightingale Medal will receive the engraved silver and enamel medal during a ceremony at American Red Cross national headquarters.

Medal Recipient Service Sketches

  • Debra Williams
  • Cheryl Schmidt
  • Janice Lufkin
  • John Mark Burton