Thursday, December 12th, was a night for celebration. The Pocono Chapter held a Holiday Gathering and Appreciation Night for Jim Rienhardt, who will retire at the end of this year. The event took place at Desaki, a hibachi restaurant located in Swiftwater, PA. The evening was filled with great food, warming conversation and foot-tapping music courtesy of the band, “The Wooden Spoons.” Many of the Pocono Chapter’s board members, volunteers and constituents came out to celebrate the upcoming holiday, as well as Jim’s retirement.
The heart of the night called for a celebration of Jim and for all that he accomplished during his time with the Red Cross. He became executive director of the Pocono Chapter in August of 2010 and Wayne Pike Chapter in May of 2012. Many colleagues and close friends came forth on stage to pay their respects and honor Jim. Kim Bell, Chairperson of the Pocono Chapter Executive Board, and General Manager of BRCTV 13, kicked off the night by saying, “There’s nobody as deserving as Jim, so let’s let him retire with a sendoff.”
Kevin Lavelle, Vice Chair of the Executive Board, recalled how his mother, who is 79-years old, donated blood because “Jim needed a volunteer.” He spoke of how his son is a volunteer based on Jim’s examples, and how his 6-year old grand-daughter knows all about the Red Cross. Lavelle continued, “Jim showed me the importance of volunteering, and it truly changed my life.”
Bob Werts, Pocono Chapter Board Member, spoke about Jim’s commitment to the Pocono Marathon. He spoke with admiration of how the marathon has been in place for 8 years and this upcoming year is already being represented by 17 different states and 4 foreign countries. Werts said, “The race is now a national event, thanks to people like Jim!”
Jim was presented with an array of gifts throughout the evening. Kim Bell presented him with a number of TV-13 items, including two TV-13 shirts (one for him and one for his wife), a TV-13 hat and oven mitt. Next, he was presented with his very own walking stick, which included a compass and thermometer attached to it. He was also presented with a plaque by the entire Pocono Chapter Board of Directors, recognizing his “dedication, leadership and outstanding service to the American Red Cross of the Poconos and tireless efforts and support for the Pocono Mountain Run For The Red Marathon.”
Jim commented, “I am extremely humbled and grateful. My time with the Red Cross has been quite a journey.” He thanked Peter M. Brown, Regional CEO of the Northeast Region and the 200 plus volunteers, referring to them as “the heart and soul of this organization.” Jim Rienhardt will retire on December 31st, 2013, leaving a legacy and example for the people of the region to follow.
*A photo album of the event can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ARCPoconos.