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Last "Gray Ladies" receive Red Cross award

The American Red Cross Gray Ladies from the Alexandria, Minn. area were honored with the 2015 Blood Services Volunteer Excellence Award during the regional Volunteer Recognition Event and Annual Meeting held on June 30.

The Gray Ladies are 23 of the more than 4,000 Red Cross volunteers serving in Minnesota across all Red Cross lines of service. Candy Bohjanen-Hammitt, Sylvia Klimek, Janet McHugh and Ruth Steidl accepted the award on behalf of the entire group.

For more than 60 years, the Alexandria Gray Ladies have dedicated volunteer services to the Red Cross. The group started in 1954 with 12 charter members, a number that today has grown 23 members strong. They are the longest exiting group of Red Cross Gray Ladies and the only one that still exists in the U.S. 

In 2014, the group coordinated and volunteered at over 45 blood drives, collecting nearly 3,000 pints of blood and is on track to do the same for 2015. Not only do they volunteer countless hours of time at blood drives, they also prepare meals for staff during blood drives.

Many of the Gray Ladies also volunteer time for Red Cross disaster services. There is no higher calling than when a person gives his or her own knowledge, skills, time or resources to someone in need of help or comfort. The Gray Ladies truly exemplify what it means to be a Red Cross volunteer.

“It’s hard to comprehend how many thousands of lives the Gray Ladies have helped save,” says Mary Pucel, Director of Donor Recruitment. “I can’t thank them enough for their incredible efforts.”  

The Red Cross presents the Blood Services Volunteer Excellence Award to an individual – or group- who goes above and beyond their volunteer role in blood services. From exceptional blood drive performance, to leadership skills, or time dedicated to collecting blood and saving lives, these individuals serve as a true inspiration and contribute significantly to fulfillment of the Red Cross humanitarian mission.