Friday, September 5, 2014

My Red Cross Story: Four Generations of Red Cross Volunteering

Brinley Broomfield (L) and her mom, Sally Broomfield
at the Pikes Peak Chapter. Photo by Bill Fortune
By Sally Broomfield

See that beautiful girl on the left? That’s my daughter. (Yes, I am biased). Her name is Brinley, she is 16 years old, and she just earned Volunteer of the Month at the Pikes Peak Chapter of the American Red Cross.

I’m over there on the right, Sally Broomfield, Disaster Program Manager for that same chapter.

The one you don’t see is my son, Nick. He is 19 years old, an FSI and Volunteer Services Volunteer with us, but he’s camera shy.
You know what else you can’t see in this picture? The four generations of my family who have volunteered with the Red Cross.

As World War II raged, American men and women rallied to the cause of freedom, left their homes and traveled overseas to fight or volunteer for their country. On the home front, nearly everyone played some sort of role to support the war effort. With so many of our young men and women deployed, gaps were left in factories, civic duties and hospitals. With two young children at home, Dorothy Mae Whitmarsh Bean, Brinley’s great-grandmother, could not go overseas, so she did what she could from American shores. She joined the American Red Cross and volunteered her time as a nurse’s aide in a local hospital. Her eight year old daughter, Elizabeth, contributed to the war effort by fixing the meals for the household, and taking care of the housework.
Fast forward to 1955. Brinley’s grandmother, Elizabeth, is now a Navy wife stationed in Hawaii with a young son. With time on her hands, a tradition of volunteerism behind her and a teacher by training, she naturally gravitates to helping and instructing others. She becomes a Red Cross Water Safety Instructor!

Brinley’s history of volunteerism comes from both sides of the family tree. In 1974, her other grandmother, Hilda Fountain, retired from a career as a social worker and began to volunteer with the American Red Cross at High Point Regional Hospital in North Carolina. At the time, she was 66 years old. Thirty-seven years later, when she retired from volunteering at the age of 102, the hospital created an award for volunteer service and named it after her.

Brinley’s mother, that would be me, came next. I started volunteering as a Government Liaison with the Pikes Peak Chapter of the American Red Cross in 2012, one week before the worst wildfire in Colorado history hit our town. The next year, we got hit again by another wildfire, which surpassed the previous year’s fire, and while we were still reeling from that fire, we were hit by flood after flood after flood. I became the Disaster Program Manager in 2013, and when Brinley and her brother Nick came home from college this past summer, they became the fourth generation of our family to volunteer for the Red Cross.

Am I proud? Darn right! Red Cross is like family to me, and to have my own family a part of such a great and noble tradition means the world to me.

1 comment:

  1. What an awesome family!!! I'm proud to say I know Sally and her daughter and son, and now, her ancestors! This is a great write up...thanks Sally for sharing it.