By Amy Thomas
SOUTH CAROLINA, March 15, 2023 -- Cynthia McLafferty is a dedicated Services to the Armed Forces (SAF) American Red Cross volunteer. For over 30 years McLafferty has dedicated her time, talent, and resources to supporting American troops, veterans, and their families.
As a 2005 recipient of the Mary E. Walker Award, McLafferty has an exemplary volunteer record. A record that stems from her admiration of the armed forces community and their sacrifices. Sacrifices, she is familiar with due to her familial connection. Both her husband and brother are members of the armed forces, and she has lived and worked on military bases for almost 30 years.
As a SAF Red Cross volunteer, she has served the armed forces community in several capacities. From serving in military base community hospitals and supporting Yellow Ribbon events, to sending custom care packages and making customized pens, from purple-heart wood, for service members. McLafferty is a skilled wood turner and makes beautiful wooden, home-made pens.
When asked how her volunteer path began, McLafferty stated, “I began sending care packages to service members in the early 1990s. I would put together packages with my own money and ship them to the bases.”
What began as a personal project to provide the comforts of home to deployed soldiers, soon turned into an organized effort to serve her community as a volunteer with the Red Cross. Since joining the Red Cross as a SAF volunteer, McLafferty has also received two appreciation awards for her outstanding dedication to customer service and her community on base.
From her work with creating customized wooden pens, to providing resources at Yellow Ribbon events, McLafferty hopes to improve the lives of those she serves. Ensuring that the current and next generation of the armed forces community has every opportunity and support they need to succeed and thrive.
With each of her volunteer activities, McLafferty wears a yellow ribbon in remembrance of service members who were deployed but have not yet made it home. When asked what drives both her service to her community, and her dedication in wearing the yellow ribbons, McLafferty simply answered that “if not for service members, we wouldn’t be free. I will continue to serve my community and wear yellow ribbons until the last one [service member] is home”.
To learn more about the Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces, go to www.redcross.org/saf.