Thursday, October 1, 2015

Red Cross Volunteer Receives Presidential Lifetime Service Award

Tom Pardee (L) receives the Lifetime Service Award
from SVP Koby Langley at the Evans Army Community
Hospital in Colorado Springs.
Photo by Joe Coleman/American Red Cross
Story by Bill Fortune

Red Cross volunteers don’t do what they do for the glory. They rarely seek out recognition and prefer to go through their volunteer hours helping people. Sure a “thank you” once in a while goes a long way but it is all about the service…service above self.

Tom Pardee, a volunteer with the Red Cross Service to Armed Forces at Evans Army Community Hospital (EACH) on Fort Carson, just south of Colorado Springs, exemplifies that spirit of volunteerism and he was recently presented with the Presidential Lifetime Service award for his outstanding service to America. He has been a volunteer with the Red Cross for three decades and that follows two decades of active service with the U.S. Army. Pardee served with the Army in Korea and in Vietnam and traveled to a number of European countries and several locations in the States.

Tom Pardee (L) gestures as he talks with SVP Koby Langely
at the Evans Army Community Hospital at Fort Carson
near Colorado Springs, CO.
Photo by Joe Coleman/American Red Cross
Senior Vice President for Red Cross Service to Armed Forces Koby Langley was on hand to present the award “The Lifetime Service Award is one of the highest awards that can be given to a citizen,” Langely said. “It recognizes people like Tom who have given so much to our country.” He also emphasized the quality of service and made note of the fact that Pardee had served over 17,000 hours as a volunteer with the SAF program at Evans Army Community Hospital and that his services will be sorely missed.

Tom Pardee displays his Vietnam era uniform at a
recognition dinner in Colorado Springs, CO in June of 2013.
Photo by Bill Fortune/American Red Cross
Pardee was taken by surprise at the award presentation and credited his grandfather with providing him the value of service to your community. He also thanked the Red Cross for giving him the opportunity to serve and that he highly recommended his experience for others saying, “I have enjoyed the chance to give back to my country and to those who have served in our military.” He went on to say that the Red Cross Service to Armed Forces program had given his life meaning and a source of pride. “I appreciate the award and I am humbled by the recognition,” he said at the ceremony. “I volunteer with SAF because I know it makes a difference. I see it in every smile, every hug and every handshake from those people I have helped.”

The recognition ceremony and award presentation was a small affair without much fanfare. That was fitting for a man that served so many years and gave of himself to so many without the need for recognition.

Pardee will actually go into “semi-retirement”. He will still volunteer with the Red Cross but not as many hours will be spent at Evans Army Community Hospital. Instead he will work in the SAF outreach program giving pre-deployment briefings to military members and their families. “I will still be only a phone call away so if they need me all they have to do is call and I will be there.” On his personal Facebook page where he announced is semi-retirement Tom ended his post with “THANKYOU OOHA Still Serving…” 

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