Volunteers are the power and passion behind the American Red Cross of Cortland County. They generously donate their time in service to others in the community. Volunteers coordinate blood drives, give disaster preparedness training, serve on local advisory boards, work as office receptionists, and are on call 24 hours a day for emergency services and disaster relief.
On July 14, three Cortland County volunteers were recognized at the Central New York Volunteer Recognition Dinner at the Sheraton Syracuse University Hotel. The Cortland volunteers were among many from around Central New York who were honored for their dedication and years of service.
One of the honorees was the first person you meet when you walk into the Cortland office. Agnes Shaver has been a volunteer with the Red Cross since March 2012. In the fall of 2013, she became the receptionist at the Cortland office, and her friendly voice and helpful manner greet everyone who contacts the local office. She is faithfully in the office every day from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. For the many hours she gives to the Red Cross and her dedicated service, she was presented with the Community Service Volunteer Award.
Tom Margrave has worn many hats in his career and continues to do so with the Red Cross. He is known throughout the county for his disaster preparedness training, and is also a member of the Disaster Action Team (DAT) that responds to local emergencies. As a member of the DAT team he is on call 24 hours a day. He handles client services and is the Community Partner for Cortland County. Margrave is also a local clergyman and Fire Chaplain for the Cortlandville Fire Department. He received the Disaster Preparedness and Response Services award for the many skills and talents he offers the Red Cross.
Rich Cunningham, Director of Thoma Development, is a member of the Cortland Advisory Board. He has served on the board for the past six years, and has been a strong advocate on the board and in the community for the Red Cross. He is also Chair of the board’s Nomination Committee, and has chosen excellent candidates to serve on the Advisory Board. For his dedicated service, Cunningham was awarded the Volunteer of the Year Award for Cortland County. This award is also named the Bonnie Ann Heath Award after the past director of the Cortland Red Cross, who was known for her kindness, compassion, and service to the Cortland community.
Local volunteers were also honored for reaching milestone years of service. Rita Alcorn and Renee Bilodeau have been blood service volunteers for five years; Margaret Shultes has volunteered in emergency services for the past 10 years; Nancy Albro, who works in emergency services and blood services, is a 15-year volunteer; and Maxine Cleveland has been a blood services volunteer for a record 50 years.
About 94 percent of the staff of the American Red Cross is comprised of volunteers who give their time and talents to support the mission of the Red Cross, which is to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies. The work of the Red Cross would not be possible without the dedicated volunteers who give so much of themselves to help others.
Michele Whalen is the Branch Manager for the American Red Cross of Cortland County. She can be reached at email@example.com or (607) 753-1182.
Tom Margrave and Agnes Shaver were the other volunteer award winners from Cortland County. (Photos courtesy of Cortland County Branch Manager Michele Whalen).