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Volunteer Helps Connect Public to Red Cross History

Volunteering is a means of giving back to the community

The American Red Cross has a rich and diverse history, and one longtime volunteer helps connect the public to the 131-year-old organization.

Shirley Powers has been volunteering with the American Red Cross since 1974—close to 40 years. During that time she has worked in a variety of roles, including her current position as a volunteer historian in the memorabilia section of Historical Resources at Red Cross national headquarters.

Powers connects the public to the Red Cross by helping people identify or locate items such as uniforms, pins and posters.

Susan Robbins Watson, manager of Historical Programs and Archives, describes Powers as a dedicated volunteer who is her “go-to lifeline” for all things memorabilia.

One of Powers’ favorite memories is receiving heartfelt thanks for helping a man get a replacement badge for his ailing mother. Replacing a long-lost item such as a pin, uniform or other significant piece helps reconnect that person to the historical event, giving back a sense of honor and pride for the role they played.

Powers says she volunteers at the Red Cross because she enjoys meeting and working with people, both new and familiar.

“I’ll always remember the friends I’ve made over the years at Red Cross,” she said.

“Volunteering is a means of giving back to the community,” Powers continued, saying she’ll only stop when she no longer enjoys what she is doing. However, if her history is any indication, it’s very likely the Red Cross will be the beneficiary of Powers’ volunteer service for years to come.

If you’re interested in volunteering for the Red Cross in your community, visit

Tags: Why I Help.
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.