The American Red Cross depends on its hundreds of thousands of volunteers to help fulfill its mission of alleviating human suffering during emergencies. Here is the story of one of these volunteers, a very special lady who is still helping the Red Cross at 100 years old.
Blanche Baudhuin, Green Bay, Wisconsin, has been volunteering for the Red Cross for almost 40 years. At 100 years old, she is one of the oldest active Red Cross volunteers. She gives her time every week, staffing the registration desk at the Red Cross Green Bay Blood Donation Center. She celebrated her 100th birthday on March 13 by hosting a blood drive at the center, hoping to see 100 people give blood in her honor. “That’s a lot of people, so I hope we make it,” she said. 114 blood donors presented at the event.
Baudhuin was the lead promoter – not because of her birthday – but because she believes in the good work being done at the Red Cross. She sent blood drive announcement fliers to all her friends and associates while sipping wine and sharing laughter with friends. Some people made the three-hour drive from Milwaukee just to donate in her honor. The 100-year-old volunteer thanked all 114 donors, and she’s already challenged the Red Cross for her 101st birthday blood drive next year.
A birthday party was part of the day’s festivities and included a shout-out from Red Cross President and CEO Gail McGovern. "I am delighted to wish Blanche Baudhuin a very happy 100th birthday," McGovern said in a special video just for Baudhuin. "Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your incredible commitment to our lifesaving work."
“Even when she turns 100, she says she’s still going to keep volunteering,” said Debbie Mylener, the Red Cross’ donor recruitment representative. “I love working with people,” Baudhuin said. “Usually, first-timers, they’re nervous, and I tell them, ‘It’s not going to be bad. It’ll be okay.”
As for the many hours she has volunteered for the Red Cross, Baudhuin said, “I’m going to get paid when I go upstairs.” A mother and grandmother, Baudhuin worked in her early adult years for a manufacturer in her native city of Algoma before she and her husband moved to Green Bay.
BECOME A VOLUNTEER Red Cross volunteers give their time to help their community. Sign up today to join their ranks and be part of the lifesaving work of the Red Cross. There are many ways you can get involved. Go to redcross.org to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application.