Media Contact: Martin Gagliano
Telephone: (510) 368-8320
STOCKTON, Calif. June 27, 2022 — The American Red Cross Heart of the Valley Chapter honored nine local residents at their annual recognition event – held virtually this year - for volunteers from Merced, San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties on May 26.
At the event, April Thacker of Merced County received the chapter's top honor, the Clara Barton Award for Meritorious Leadership. Named after the founder of the Red Cross, the award recognizes a volunteer for their years of service in various leadership positions.
A Red Cross volunteer for 19 years, Thacker volunteers alongside her mother, Molly, to lead the Disaster Action Team (DAT) in Merced County. Her dedication and compassion for those impacted by disasters has translated to her work as preparedness educator, where she meets with local communities and county partners to create disaster preparedness plans. Thacker guided the Merced County DAT through an organization realignment in 2019, and helped her team through the implementation of new RC Care disaster response program software. A proven leader, Thacker exemplifies the Red Cross mission in action.
In addition to the Clara Barton Award for Meritorious Leadership, the following awards were given to local volunteers:
- Disaster Cycle Services – Leadership Award – Irene Johnson (Merced)
- Disaster Cycle Services – Extraordinary Commitment and Dedication Award– Molly Thacker – (Merced)
- Biomedical Services – Donor Ambassador Program – Steve Rogers (Stanislaus)
- Biomedical Services – Transportation Specialist Program – Jane Knowles (San Joaquin)
- Teamwork and Collaboration Award – Susan Winters (Stanislaus) and Peggy Pinarbasi (Santa Clara)
- Youth Services Award – Hajra Ahmad (San Joaquin)
- Volunteer of the Year Award – Nancy Reeves (Stanislaus)
While the annual recognition event spotlights several key Red Cross volunteers, it is designed to acknowledge and honor the work of all local volunteers who dedicate many hours in service to the Red Cross and their local communities. This past year, 396 dedicated Heart of the Valley Chapter volunteers contributed more than 25,450 hours to support the mission.
“It is critically important that we take the time to appreciate and celebrate the many volunteers who work on behalf of the Red Cross,” said Felicia Woolfolk, Red Cross Heart of the Valley Chapter Executive Director. “They exemplify the spirit and mission of this organization, turning compassion into action. As disasters continue within our region, our volunteers help ensure families never face these emergencies alone.”
Become a Red Cross Volunteer:
Community members can make a difference in Merced, San Joaquin, and Stanislaus Counties by becoming a Red Cross volunteer. As this year’s heightened wildfire outlook continues a years-long trend of more frequent and intense climate disasters, volunteers are continually trained to meet the needs of those affected by disasters – providing food, shelter, and comfort to families; and they help local residents prepare for and recover from emergencies of all kinds. Red Cross volunteers also provide assistance to military members, veterans and their families; support the collection of 40% of the nation’s blood; and provide humanitarian aid across the globe. Those interested in finding the right position for their specific skills and talents can visit redcross.org/volunteertoday to get started.
About the American Red Cross of the Heart of the Valley
With local offices in San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Merced Counties, the American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, visit our website at redcross.org/hov or call us at (209) 645-1239. You may also find us on Facebook and Twitter.