At a luncheon held at the West Point Golf Course on May 15, the American Red Cross Greater New York Region honored the efforts of more than 140 volunteers who serve at West Point. Three of those volunteers were presented with awards for their exceptional contributions.
“Our Red Cross volunteers make it possible for us to fulfill our urgent humanitarian mission of helping our neighbors in need,” said Mary Young, CEO of the Red Cross Metro New York North chapter. “Their commitment and compassion are the heart of the Red Cross here at West Point.”
The American Red Cross and West Point Military Academy have a longstanding partnership supporting the West Point community. The Red Cross has organized and supported blood drives, supported local military related events and trainings, and provided long-term volunteer support to Keller Army Community Hospital.
The importance of Red Cross West Point volunteers was echoed by Josh Lockwood, Regional CEO of the Greater New York Red Cross. “This extraordinary work makes you all heroes,” he said, “in my eyes, and in the eyes of those you help.”
Bridgette Nugent, Greater New York regional case manager, SAF & International Services; Sang Hui Molin, West Point volunteer committee chair; and Mary Young presented the awards to this year’s deserving volunteers: Judy Audevard, Elizabeth Crawford and Debra Stafford.
Judy Audevard received the Betty Rasmussen Service Award, which recognizes an individual who has exhibited exceptional devotion to serving the West Point community.
In September 2010, in partnership with the Greater NY Red Cross, Audevard and her partners created Hudson Valley Paws for a Cause. Through the fall of 2013, Audevard and her therapy dog, Kizzy, along with other pet therapy teams from the Lower Hudson Valley, spent one day a week at West Point’s Wounded Warrior barracks, offering support to soldiers in recovery.
Currently, Audevard leads 30 pet therapy teams that make weekly visits to the Paws for Kids program at West Point, interacting with special-needs children whose parents either work at West Point or are deployed overseas.
“We salute Judy’s service and her positive impact on her community,” Nugent said as she presented Audevard with the award.
Elizabeth Crawford received the Harriet Demarest Congeniality Award that recognizes an individual who serves the West Point community with extraordinary kindness, optimism and cheerfulness. Crawford received the award for her upbeat service as a blood drive volunteer.
Upon arriving at West Point in 2006, Crawford registered as a Red Cross volunteer and has since worked at every blood drive. She volunteers many hours, supervising youth volunteers, escorting donors, serving refreshments, monitoring donors for signs of sickness, and helping maintain the canteen area.
“Crawford is an energetic and constant source of inspiration,” Molin said. “She is deserving of this award because of her dedicated commitment to the West Point community and her outstanding volunteer spirit.”
Debra Stafford received the Jean MacArthur Volunteer of the Year Award that honors an individual who has shown unswerving dedication to the American Red Cross at West Point.
After arriving at West Point five years ago, Stafford, who had served in the Air Force as an officer in the nurse corps, began volunteering in the Ophthalmology Clinic. She worked at the front desk helping patients check-in, making appointments, filing charts, giving pre-operation briefings, and taking care of patients after surgery.
Stafford also serves as a West Point Red Cross committee member and senior advisor. As such, she participates in monthly planning meetings, recruits volunteers for blood drives, and coordinates their schedules. Additionally, she volunteers many hours at each blood drive.
“Debra’s enthusiasm, positive attitude, and commitment are in keeping with the true spirit of volunteerism and the highest traditions of the Red Cross and the United States Army,” said Mary Young. “We extend our sincerest appreciation to Debra for her dedicated and selfless service.”
The Metro New York Red Cross extends grateful thanks to organizations that helped make the event possible: DUSA (Daughters of the United States Army, West Point, NY) and the West Point Women’s Club and the West Point Laundry Plant.
It also thanks Robert Gould, a 20-year Red Cross volunteer and director of the Bethlehem Art Gallery established by his father, the late Hudson River School artist John Fleming Gould. Robert generously donated two of his father’s unframed prints of Hudson River scenes to the event raffle.
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 redcross.org/metronyn or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossMetroN.