Deb Smith’s experience at the Red Cross began in the 90s. She was seeking an opportunity to volunteer, while furthering her education and working for OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington, Illinois as a nurse and in various leadership roles. She was eventually approached by Executive Director Lyn Hruska and then board chair Leanna Bordner, to serve on the volunteer board of directors. Deb was more than excited to take on the responsibility and knew she was in the right place.
“I felt so aligned with their mission” Deb says.
For Deb, the work of the Red Cross became personal. She experienced the importance of blood donation as her sister and mother received blood transfusions while battling illnesses. Although her sister passed, she still recognizes how blood donations can make a difference.
“It strengthened me with needing to help however I can with blood”, says Deb, “It was there for my family when we needed it the most.”
It wasn’t long until Deb started to find more opportunities within the Red Cross to fulfill her passion for helping others. She became a blood donor ambassador, helping provide a positive experience to blood donors at blood drives.
Although, she is a board member and has retired from the workforce, she still wants to utilize her nursing skills. Last fall, she became a Divisional Nurse Leader for the Red Cross. Currently, she speaks to nursing students in Peoria and Bloomington about becoming involved with the Red Cross.
“I think it’s a wonderful way to serve the Red Cross”, says Deb, “It’s easy to learn, and if you’re a people person, it’s the place to be.”
The Red Cross has opened many doors for Deb’s love of giving back to those in need. She’s come across people from all walks of life throughout her journey and cherishes the stories that come with it.
To become a Red Cross volunteer like Deb, visit redcross.org/volunteer.
Written by Communications & Marketing Intern, Matthew Pontious