Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hometown Heroes

All of us in this clan extend our joyful congratulations to Susie Turner. She was this year’s Gloria Doss Award Recipient at the 7th Annual Laclede County Home Town Heroes Breakfast, held this morning. The Gloria Doss Award is made to Red Cross volunteers. Gloria Doss herself was a volunteer.

Susie first became involved with the Red Cross in 2005. It was a case of “nothing propinqs like propinquity.” She was just doing a friend a favor. The friend wished to see what kind of volunteer work the Red Cross might have to offer, and Susie gave the friend a ride. As it turned out, Susie became the volunteer; the friend did not. Since that time Susie has been very heavily engaged in every aspect of the Red Cross program in her region. The major branches are fire response, national disaster response, the national hotline and service to the armed forces, case work, and administrative support.

What we look at closely becomes ever bigger. We’ve had a unique opportunity to see the Red Cross from up close through Susie’s eyes—and it becomes a huge, complicated, and demanding enterprise, with great benefit to millions of people, although almost invisible to the public. Being a Red Cross volunteer, at least at Susie’s level of involvement, becomes a fulltime job—and in times of disaster much more than a job. Susie’s boot camp was Hurricane Katrina. And one of the things you learn, looking at things closely, is that disasters of this type radiate all over the country—indeed all over the world.

The Red Cross dates back to a little-remembered but dreadful battle in Europe in 1859, the Battle of Soliferno in Lombardy. Henry Dunant experienced the horrors and began a passionate advocacy to establish a more humane way of dealing with victims of such disasters in his book, Un Souvenir de Soliferno. The Red Cross was formed four years later and has been serving humanity since—its hands and hearts people of the very first rank of humanity, people like Susie.

In our family, during the dark days of World War II, the Red Cross helped us locate relatives and reconstruct the torn network of relations. Most dramatically, the Red Cross found Brigitte. A young girl then, she had been sent west with fellow students to escape the approaching Russian front; she was lost—but found again—thanks to the Red Cross and the labor of its splendid volunteers. We’ve benefited from the work of this fine organization—and Susie, who has never ever stinted of her time, care, and concern for others, has been giving as she had received. We’re proud of her. And I am honored to be able to call her my sister.


  1. She is a hero all-around...hometown- and family- hero in more ways than one, too.
    Congratulations, once more, Susie. We are all so proud of you!

  2. Thanks Arsen. I feel so special, but will have to get back top the real world.

  3. Hi, Susie:

    The real world won't let you get away for long. It is a jealous sort of hanger-on, and if you don't go out on your own, it'll start hammering on the door...

  4. Proud, proud, proud indeed! Bravo Susie!

  5. A little recognition that is so much deserved and overdue.

    Congratulations Susie! I'm so happy to hear about this award.

    Wishing you strength and good spirits with all your work, at home, in the garden and out with others.


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