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Red Cross honors three local leaders

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Carolyn Schmalenberger
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Philip Belfield
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Austin Roberts

The River Counties Chapter of the Red Cross hosted its annual Leadership Banquet at Indian Creek Yacht and Country Club last week, honoring Carolyn Schmalenberger of Middlesex County, Philip Belfield of Richmond County and the late Austin Roberts III of Lancaster County.

“River Counties Chapter Board of Directors and staff welcomed the opportunity to honor them and to give their communities a chance to express appreciation for their outstanding services,” said chapter executive director Julie Dudley.

Speakers Rev. John Farmer, Austin Roberts IV, Buzz Lambert and Jason Patton did a great job of entertaining the guests with examples of the honorees’ energy, skills, knowledge and helping hands to those in need.

Combined, the three honorees have given more than 100 years to community service, said Dudley.

Among her many public service contributions, Schmalenberger was instrumental in establishing the Middlesex YMCA, and plays a key role in the success of the annual Southern Chesapeake Leukemia Cup Regatta in Deltaville.

In describing Schmalenberger, Buzz Lambert, the current executive director of the Williamsburg YMCA and former director of the Middlesex YMCA, said, “In my humble opinion, Carolyn was put on this earth to serve as the inspiration for so many of us to reach our God-given potential.  When describing Carolyn to others, a few words come to mind . . . compassionate, gracious tenacity, visionary, poise, an outlier, an inspiration.” 

Lambert continued, “I, like many in this room and beyond, am blessed to call Carolyn a mentor, a confidant, a steadfast supporter, a coach, and a friend. Instinctively, Carolyn always shares the perfect nugget of wisdom to help gain perspective on the challenge du jour. I believe that God plants beacons of light to guide us through our life’s journey. Without a shadow of doubt Carolyn has served in this capacity in my life. I am honored to stand before you this evening to help celebrate Carolyn’s legacy that has positively impacted so many lives.”

Paul Sciacchitano welcomed the honorees and guests and started the event by thanking Bay FM, Northern Neck Electric Cooperative and Dominion Virginia Power for the excellent service of keeping residents informed and for the quick response in restoring power after Hurricane Irene. He noted that the Red Cross is celebrating its 94th year of service in this area. During the recent hurricane 510 residents were provided shelter in our five counties, 2,309 meals were served and 5,723 snacks were distributed. In Westmoreland our disaster teams are still active with major flooding and have financially assisted 10 individuals, he said. Red Cross client cases are still open for both of these disasters.

Sciacchitano reported that on a daily basis the Red Cross chapter supports house fire clients and since January has financially assisted 18 families (30 adults and 13 children). In providing services to displaced families and individuals the chapter assists with motel accommodation, food, clothing and necessary items such as medical supplies and a comfort kit.

Deltaville experienced a tornado in April and four families received financial assistance, he reported.

Local Red Cross Blood banks collected 2,113 usable pints during the past year; Armed Forces Emergency messages were sent to 27 personnel; 75 family members received information and literature;1,336 students were certified in CPR, First Aid, Lifeguarding, Water Safety, Pet CPR and Babysitting; and 97 second-graders were taught to swim through a Jessie DuPont fund grant.

Dudley noted appreciation to Jane Bishop and volunteers Ashley Hodges and Heather Ashburn who helped in organizing the event, Richard Shore for volunteering to take photographs and Dennis Burchill for agreeing to emcee the event.

posted 09.21.2011

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