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Veteran volunteer is inspiration to others who serve

This is a tribute to an outstanding Red Cross volunteer, Ruth W. Hirschberg. She came to us from Baltimore, Md., Charleston, W. Va., Richmond, Va., and has been with us in Pasco County since 1973.

Ruth recently received her 50th year service pin as a volunteer for the American Red Cross.

As a volunteer registered nurse, Ruth's greatest effort over the years was recruiting volunteer nurses for the Red Cross. She recruited nurses to assist at high school ball games, scout-a-ramas, state fairs and at a hospital during floods.

On a volunteer basis she taught mother-baby care classes at a local hospital in the evenings as she worked full time during the day at the same hospital.

Ruth also volunteered to help with craft and rummage sales and any fund-raising drives, including the blood donor program, for the Red Cross.

If people would say, "I don't have time," I think Ruth would say "God gives us the same number of minutes in an hour and the same number of hours in a day andwhat we do with these hours and days is our responsibility." Ruth adopted a motto that has always been, "Do what you can with what you have where you are."

During hurricane Elena, Ruth, as a Red Cross volunteer and R.N., was designated as the nurse in charge at the Anclote Elementary School, which was a Red Cross shelter. For 48 hours she did not take her shoes off. Ruth said, "A lot was learned from the shelter experience."

In Ruth's words, "The American Red Cross has been a great joy to me for the past 50 years. Fifty years is a lifetime for many. God has blessed me with some extra years. This organization has done more for me than I have done for it.

"Along with my faith and contributions to my church, the American Red Cross has helped fill one of my basic needs, and I do mean needs, the need to be needed. I thank God for giving me the knowledge and skills to serve this great organization for lo, these 50 years.

"Husband, Bill and I have just celebrated 56 years of marriage. He is a member of the Red Cross and a former officer on the Board of Directors.

"I am seriously ill, but as long as I live,the American flag will be flying outside our door and we will be members of the Red Cross.

"At the end of my life here on earth, I have a choice of turning in my Red Cross R.N. pin or being buried with it. I have chosen to have my pin returned to National Red Cross upon my death.

"If my serving the great American Red Cross for these 50 years will help recruit one more nurse, then it will not have been in vain.

"Thank you, American Red Cross."

Gerrie Brown is Pasco County director of the American Red Cross.

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