Colorado Springs Volunteer Receives National Recognition for Volunteer Service

Debbie McSwain
“In our Chapter boundaries, we know Debby as a selfless volunteer who has served in many roles and continues to give of her time and many talents.” - Thomas Gonzalez, CEO of the American Red Cross Pikes Peak Chapter

Oct. 26, 2012 — A Colorado Springs volunteer has received the highest recognition possible for an American Red Cross volunteer.

Debby MacSwain received the prestigious Harriman Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service at an awards ceremony led by American Red Cross CEO and President Gail McGovern at the Red Cross national headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Oct. 24.

The Harriman Award is the highest recognition for volunteer service in the American Red Cross. Designed to promote superior performance among all volunteers, this award recognizes extraordinary accomplishments that extend to people and places beyond the local community.

“Debby has had a wonderful career of service with the American Red Cross as both a professional and as a volunteer,” said Thomas Gonzalez, CEO of the American Red Cross Pikes Peak Chapter in Colorado Springs, where MacSwain volunteers. “In our Chapter boundaries, we know Debby as a selfless volunteer who has served in many roles and continues to give of her time and many talents.”

Debby MacSwain has served the Red Cross in a wide array of capacities for 46 years. She began her volunteer service as a lifeguard and water safety instructor. Debby served in Vietnam as one of the famous American Red Cross “Donut Dollies” in support of our Armed Forces and later served at the American Red Cross headquarters in Washington, D.C. She has been deployed to Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) stations around the world, in addition to serving as Service to Armed Forces Station Manager locally supporting military in the Colorado Springs area.

One of her most notable achievements is as co-creator of SAF’s Our Legacy Continues Project, an effort to find, document and recognize thousands of Red Cross staff who served with the U.S. military in combat, war and humanitarian assignments. Our Legacy Continues Project team has located and documented the service of more than 500 people and to date more than 100 individuals have been recognized in events around the world.

Recently, Debby’s lifelong service to the military has been recognized by her peers in her election as president of the American Red Cross Overseas Association.

Debby’s name was submitted by Jerry DeFrancisco, Red Cross Chief of Humanitarian Services, and Sherri Brown, Senior Vice President for Service to the Armed Forces for this prestigious award.

Other awards given at the Leadership Awards Dinner were the Susan Hassmiller Nursing Award and the International Humanitarian Service Award. Other national awards, including the Presidential Award for Excellence, the Ann Magnussen Award, the Navin Narayan Award for Excellence in Youth Leadership and the Biomedical Partnership Award will be presented at a second national awards ceremony on November 8.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog.