Janet George Murnick was initially called to volunteer with the American Red Cross in 2005, when she spent three weeks at a large shelter after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.
“At that time, the governor of New Jersey had requested support from members of the state’s many pharmaceutical companies, so I volunteered alongside several of my colleagues from the area”.
The shelter that I was assigned to was very large – about 7,000 people – and it was run by the Red Cross. In my three weeks of volunteering, I learned very quickly how the organization worked day and night for those in need. After that, whenever my work schedule permitted, I began to volunteer for the Red Cross, too – and have continued to do so ever since.”
It was there that she developed a passion for giving her time, talent and heart to those served by the mission of the Red Cross. Over the years, her unwavering commitment to alleviate human suffering has only grown and has driven her to expand her volunteer engagement into other areas of the organization.
Janet’s background in blood research ignited a passion for the Red Cross’ work in Biomedical Services. “I find great fulfillment in encouraging donors and communities to grasp the significance of blood donation and empowering them to take action,” she remarked.
Janet’s brother, a Navy Reservist and critical care anesthesiologist, has deployed to Iraq and Kuwait providing medical care to the United States military’s most seriously injured servicemen and women. Inspired by him and by those returning from military hospitals abroad, she looked for a way that she too could help them upon their return to the States. Learning about the work of SAF, she volunteered in the Veterans Hospitals in her region. Her first assignment was assisting returning veterans with their medications. She eventually became the regional liaison with the Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals, where she has had the opportunity to interact with the physicians and therapists at the VA hospitals and nursing homes throughout her region. This has helped her learn more about the needs and wants of veterans and their families. In additional to social events, like bowling, pizza parties, or holiday shopping with women in the trauma unit, she has presented psychological preparedness sessions for the families of vets as they return home, as well as make-up artists for the female vets to help them feel better about themselves.
Janet was recently recognized for her service with the 2022 Presidential Award for Excellence in Humanitarian Service, which is presented to those who demonstrate exceptional performance or service in support of the American Red Cross delivering on its multi-faceted mission. Janet says, “I feel humbled and privileged to have been chosen. I feel that what I do, so many others do too, and while I’m grateful to be recognized, I also recognize all the accomplishments of so many others across the country and world.”
When asked what fuels her enthusiasm for the Red Cross, Janet shared, “There is so much that we do at the Red Cross that I believe in, so it’s easy for me to find a way to talk about our mission almost everywhere I go.”