Friday, May 6, 2016

A Mother's Day Story:Mother and Daughter Volunteer to Support Our Armed Forces

By Linda Julich

Women have always played a vital role in the Red Cross, from founder Clara Barton to today’s CEO Gail McGovern. Many of these women are mothers who may have had to sacrifice time with their own families in order to care for and nurture others in their community through their Red Cross volunteerism. And many mothers also made Red Cross service a family tradition – a passion that they pass down from mother to child, sometimes for generations.

One such mother is Pierina Aaron. She instilled a love for volunteerism from an early age in daughter Patricia. The two volunteer with the Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces program, helping veterans and members of the military and their families. .

 On Saturday, April 23, the Red Cross honored their dedication and service with the Service to the
Patrica and Pierina are flanked by Colonel Joel Hamilton(L)
Fort Carson Garrison Commander and Command Sargent
Major Clinton Reiss at the 2016 Volunteer Recognition
in Colorado Springs. Photo by Arnett Luce/American Red Cross
Armed Forces Family Service Award for their positivity, willingness to help and dedication to the families of Armed Service members. They have touched the lives of service members and their families in countless ways.

Pierina, 80 years young, was raised in a convent in Italy where she learned the value of service to others. She married a U.S. military member and while raising a family began volunteering at their school in Germany. All totaled, Pierina has been volunteering for 45 years; 20 of those years have been as a Red Cross volunteer here in Colorado at the Evans Army Community Hospital at Fort Carson.

Her daughter, Patricia, learned the value of service from her mother and also volunteers at the Evans Army Community Hospital. While mom works in the allergy clinic helping patients, tracking and logging information and helping with patient charts, Patricia works in the volunteer office logging volunteer hours, preparing flyers for mailing and just helping wherever she is needed. Patricia uses a “talking computer” and a wheelchair due to her disabilities but that has never slowed her down. “I know that what I do helps our service members and their families.”

Patricia(r) and her mother, Pierina(c), confer with volunteer
Tom Pardee(l) while working at the Evans Army
Community Hospital.
Photo by Joe Coleman/American Red Cross
Together these two strong women have learned from each other and gained from their volunteer experience. Their weekly trip to the hospital gives them a feeling of community and is a source of pride that they are helping our service members and their families. They have given hundreds of hours.

When asked about words of wisdom they could offer to others, Pierina encourages people to have compassion: many people need help, in many ways.  Patricia advises others that if you are willing to learn, you can learn to do a lot – regardless of your physical abilities.  She encourages others to volunteer with the Red Cross.

As for the award and recognition, “We were honored to receive the award and we both had tears in our eyes when it was presented,” Pierina said. “We love what we do. It’s all about giving back to someone needing help.”

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