90 Years Strong and Still Serving

Norma Smith vividly remembers the last time she saw her brother. She was nine; he was a 20-year-old heading overseas to serve as a bombardier and navigator in the Air Corps during World War II. The memory that lingers the strongest after all this time is the feel of his khaki uniform and the smell of wool wet from the snow as she leaped into his arms and hugged him goodbye. “It’s 80 years later and I still remember it to this day,” says Norma. He wrote to his family about the Red Cross ladies that gave service members cookies, coffee, and doughnuts. Sadly, 2nd Lt. Norris Kenneth Calkins was killed in combat on May 17, 1943, shortly after his letter home. But that small detail of those volunteers stuck with Norma and led to an incredible 72 years of service to her community through the Red Cross. “[Volunteering] gives back a lot more than you give it. The reward I have gotten for it in terms of satisfaction from a job well done and people who are unbelievably grateful and kind about what you’ve done for them. It makes you feel good and you’re doing something you know is helping,” says Norma. It all started when she was an 18-year-old student nurse and got enrolled as a volunteer responder with the Red Cross in Detroit where she grew up. She graduated from Wayne State University College of Nursing in 1954 with a bachelor’s in nursing, her R.N. license, and her Public Health Nursing certificate. During her nursing career, she would often end up working with th...
Source: Red Cross Chat - Category: International Medicine & Public Health Authors: Tags: Disaster Health & Safety Military Support Volunteers american red cross cpr Disaster Response service to the armed forces volunteering Source Type: news