Red Cross volunteers making a difference
Debbie Freeman, a member of the Fort Riley Red Cross team, left, was recognized, along with more than two dozen of her fellow volunteers, at a special luncheon May 8 at Grimes Hall. Photo by: Mollie Miller, 1ST INF. DIV.
Story by: Mollie Miller
1ST INF. DIV. PUBLIC AFFAIRS
Men and women who, through their service with the American Red Cross, make life at Fort Riley better, have many amazing stories to share, according to Debbi Freeman, a member of the Fort Riley Red Cross team.
And Freeman, who has been a member of the team for about three decades, may know every one of those stories.
"We have a lot of good people and a lot of good stories at Fort Riley," the spouse of a retired 1st Infantry Division Soldier said recently. "We do a lot to make life better for Soldiers and their Families."
Freeman has been both a Red Cross volunteer and paid staff member for 28 years, exactly as long as she has called Fort Riley home.
"I started out working at the Red Cross chapter in Junction City and then moved over to Fort Riley," she said. "Since then, I have run just about every Red Cross program on post."
Recently, Freeman said she has been focusing her efforts on energizing the Red Cross Dental Assistant Program on post. The free training program, that can cost as much as $4,000 in the private sector, offers Fort Riley Family members an opportunity to improve themselves and employment opportunities through about 900 hours of dental assistant training.
Building Red Cross programs like the Dental Assistant Training is just part of Freeman's commitment to her community.
"The Red Cross is my life," said Freeman, who said she also was an Army brat. "I help Soldiers and their Families."
The work she has put into reinvigorating the Red Cross programs has not gone unnoticed. Freeman and more than two dozen of her fellow volunteers were recognized during a special luncheon May 8 at Grimes Hall.
"Debbi brings us structure," said Danielle Bega-Silva, Fort Riley Red Cross Special Programs coordinator, before the ceremony. "She is the go-to person … and, her enthusiasm and commitment to Soldiers and Families is inspiring."
Ceremony guest speaker Command Sgt. Maj. Junior Riley, senior noncommissioned officer, Irwin Army Community Hospital, thanked Freeman and her fellow volunteers for all they do to make Fort Riley and the 1st Inf. Div. better.
"The work that you do for the Red Cross is so important," Riley said. "Always make sure you are doing something to make a difference in someone's life, even if that only means putting a smile on someone's face. Everything you do makes a difference."