The Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania held its 12th annual Celebration of Volunteers on September 18th at the Hilton City Line Avenue. Over 300 people attended the event, which honored the contributions of extraordinary Red Cross volunteers in the five county area. American Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania CEO Judge Renée Cardwell Hughes was joined by Former Executive Board Chair Tom Hays, New Executive Board Chair Dan Rhynhart, President of Radian Guaranty and Chair of Volunteers Teresa Bryce Bazemore, and 6ABC News Anchor and Reporter, Shirleen Alicott, who served as MC for the award ceremony.
At the Annual Meeting, held before the Celebration, SEPA recognized the end of an era. Longtime Board Chair Tom Hays, passed the gavel to Dan Rynhart, a partner at Philadelphia law firm, Blank Rome. Tom’s loyalty and diligence in his role as board chair were honored in a short video presentation.
The Celebration of Volunteers honors those who serve our organization as volunteers in a wide range of capacities including disaster response, first aid training, office assistance, and photography. The theme of this year’s celebration was “Sleeves Up. Hearts Open. All In” in recognition of the energy, heart and dedication our volunteers bring to their work with the Red Cross. Individuals with an exceptionally long history with SEPA were asked to stand and be recognized, including Sarah Fell and Vicki Schempp, two volunteers who have given 40 years of service to Red Cross endeavors.
Former Red Cross employee, Eloise Leggett, sang in honor of our nation and the members of our community who give their time to help others.
Other award winners were as follows:
Exceptional Volunteer Awards, presented by SEPA Executive Board Chair, Dan Rhynhart, Chair of the Board of Directors at the Penn-Jersey Blood Region, Larry Pockers, and Board of Directors members, John Susanin, go to people whose skills and commitment have made an extraordinary contribution to our efforts.
Award winners were:
Michelle Alton, Communications
Bob Schmidt, Emergency Communications
Jen Tso, Financial Development
Bettina Power, Specialty Teams
Heath Morris, Red Cross House
Gayle Washington, Service to the Armed Forces
Ellen Torrance, Volunteer Administration
Craig Colbert, Youth Services
Lorie Maguire, Blood Services
Philadelphia’s New Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer was on hand to present the Disaster Action Team Awards, which recognize volunteers in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties who accompany first responders to disasters at all hours of the day and night. Commissioner Sawyer will also serve on SEPA’s Board of Directors in the coming year and was honored to present awards to the volunteers who support his efforts to help those affected by fire in Philadelphia.
Award winners were:
Robin Stoute, Lower Bucks
Shelli Dunn, Upper Bucks
Paula Carmichael, Chester County
Erica Paulson, Delaware County
Meara Lebovitz, East Montgomery County
Deborah Tevlin, West Montgomery County
Frank Nardo, Philadelphia County
Yasmin George, Outstanding Disaster Action Team Captain
SEPA CEO Reneé Cardwell Hughes presented the Chapter Wide Awards. They include:
The Betty Robinson Award, recognizing a volunteer leader who has demonstrated commitment to the work of a variety of Chapter programs over several years of service and who has made a notable impact in carrying out the mission of the Red Cross. It was awarded to:
Ron Davis, of Parx Casino and SEPA Board Member
Anita Lockwood Award, recognizing outstanding leadership on a day to day basis. It was awarded to:
Suzanne Garber, Co-Chair of the Philadelphia Leadership Council and SEPA Board Member
The Sam and Dotty Kind Award, recognizing any loyal volunteer who has helped raise more than a million dollars for the Red Cross through a letter-writing campaign to family and friends. It was awarded to:
Linda Rosanio, Co-founder and CEO of Star Group and SEPA Board Member
Jane Bisbee Award, recognizing a volunteer who has made a significant impact on the Chapter to fulfilling its mission in 5 years or less. It was awarded to:
Jamie Maguire, President and CEO of the Bala Cynwyd, PA, Insurance Carrier and SEPA Board Member
Finally, The Chairman’s Award, recognizes a “game changer”, meaning a person who has had a significant impact on the Red Cross mission this year. This year’s recipient was very special to the Red Cross and to the entire Philadelphia Area community for his deeply humane and caring response to the tragedy of fire and his commitment to making Philadelphia’s safer. The award was given to:
Lloyd Ayers, Former Fire Commissioner and SEPA Board Member