March is Red Cross Month.

We’ve been celebrating each March for 66 years. This year, we’ll be highlighting one Red Crosser’s personal story each day.

Today we commemorate Mary Hannick, a WWII volunteer who is still giving her time today.

How did your life first intersect with the Red Cross?
During World War II, I got the bug I wanted to do something overseas. I went to the Red Cross and made application to go overseas and they sent me for my physical. I weighed 98 pounds; I got a letter back from New York headquarters saying that I couldn’t go overseas unless I weighed 108 pounds and I should let them know if I ever gained weight. So I drank a lot of milkshakes, ate a lot of food and finally got up to 105 pounds. I wrote and told them that I had gained weight – I didn’t say how much. They wrote and invited me to come down to New York for an interview. So I went down on the train to New York and stayed at the Commodore Hotel. The next day I was supposed to have my interview with the Red Cross. I stuffed my pockets full of stuff in case they weighed me again. They never weighed me again. They accepted me immediately. I took my leave of absence from Kodak and they trained us in Washington, DC as hospital staff aides.

What is your current role at the Red Cross?
Today I go to events and participate in An Afternoon at the Canteen and visit with senior citizens at different centers and homes and tell my stories. I have hundreds of stories I could tell!

How has the Red Cross changed your life?
I ask myself “Are we better than we were when I came into this world?” From my parents I learned the love of people – its people that we love – it’s the human race that we love. I truly believe that was why I was able to do some of the things I did. I don’t think I could ever re-pay the Red Cross for the experience I had the two years that I was overseas. If I stayed at Kodak, financially I would be much better off, but I wouldn’t be half as rich as I am in people.

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