Thursday, February 11, 2016

My Red Cross Volunteer Story: Bette Cooke

Bette Cook

Service to the Armed Forces Volunteer

"Volunteers are not paid because they are worthless, but because they are priceless."

I became a Red Cross volunteer when I retired from working for the Federal Government in 2012. I visited Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, walked into the Red Cross office and decided to volunteer!

My husband is a U.S. Army veteran and served in three wars. This inspired me to want to help wounded warriors. It was heart wrenching to see these young wounded men and women. I wanted to show these young people who were doing such brave things for our country that we admired their services. And I decided the way to do that was by volunteering with the Red Cross.

My first experience with the Red Cross was when I was a teenager. My sister was married to a service member in Japan and she was killed there in an accident. We were at home in Kentucky, and the Red Cross came knocking on our door. They were so comforting and it was so personal. They were there for us in many respects and I was so impressed with their support.

Currently, I serve as the Station chair at Fort Belvoir and Quantico Marine Corp Base. I assist the Station Manager and work with over 200 volunteers regularly. Our physical therapy clinic at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital provides in-patient and outpatient services to our armed forces. This includes wounded warriors, reserve, active duty, retirees and their families.

I support our outreach efforts by attending fairs and programs, where I reach out to military service members, families and the community and let them know about the services available from the Red Cross.

Being a Red Cross volunteer has been so rewarding and feels so good, every single day. I love when I am at the hospital or at an event and a military family comes up to me and thanks me for my service. It feels undeserved, I get embarrassed. I say you are welcome, but Thank YOU for your service.  

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