American Red Cross Chairman Bonnie McElveen-Hunter presented the Harriman Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service - the highest recognition for volunteer service in the American Red Cross - to Susan Hassmiller, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, of Plainsboro, New Jersey. The recognition took place on October 23rd during an American Red Cross Leadership Awards Dinner held in Washington, DC.
Hassmiller currently serves as the board chair of the American Red Cross of Central New Jersey, where she has volunteered since 1997, and the chair of communications for the National Nursing Committee.
“We are very pleased Sue has been chosen for this esteemed honor,” said Mathieu Nelessen, regional CEO, American Red Cross North Jersey Region. “Sue is an extraordinary leader, always keeping the Red Cross mission at the forefront of her decision-making. Sue has a great ability to lead and motivate others to endeavor and fulfill the core humanitarian principles of the Red Cross in service to the community.”
Hassmiller began volunteering with the Red Cross following the 1975 earthquake in Mexico. The Red Cross helped her locate her parents, who were visiting Mexico at the time. From 2001–2007, Hassmiller served on the American Red Cross Board of Governors which spanned unprecedented disaster response activities in the aftermath of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. Hassmiller has been involved in other large Red Cross disaster relief efforts, including tornadoes in the Midwest, Hurricane Andrew in Florida in 1992, the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia and both Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy in New Jersey.
As the senior advisor for nursing at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Hassmiller led the Institute of Medicine report on the Future of Nursing, a national strategic plan that has been the impetus for change in the national and international health sector since 2010 and she has brought that expertise to the National Nursing Committee, leading the charge to create a strategic plan for health direction for the Red Cross.
The Harriman Award was established in 1973 and is named for two distinguished Red Cross volunteers, E. Roland and Gladys Harriman, and serves as a living recognition of their service. Through their extraordinary commitment and public relations achievements, they provided unprecedented impetus and leadership to the organization. Roland's 23 years as Chairman of the American Red Cross and Gladys’ long involvement as Chairman of Volunteers of the American Red Cross in Greater New York were only part of their lifelong service.