Drawn in: Appleton volunteer grows relationship with Red Cross

Written by Linda Dums For The Post-Crescent

Emily Henderson of Appleton has volunteered with the Red Cross for four years and serves on the board of directors. / Graham Washatka/The Post-Crescent

Emily Henderson remembers being involved with the American Red Cross as a young teen taking babysitting courses.

While attending Lawrence University in Appleton, Henderson, 26, got involved with the American Red Cross in northeast Wisconsin through CPR and AED classes she took due to her role as an athletic trainer. “I think the Red Cross is an organization that everybody benefits from,” said the Appleton resident, noting everything from the health and safety programs to the work the chapter does with the Armed Forces and emergency communications. “All of the different aspects of the community that they touch is very important,” she said, adding that in a recent annual report, the Red Cross educated 50,000 individuals in the community. “It’s amazing how much they help the community and I think it’s a very important aspect,” she said.

When Henderson was a student at Lawrence, she started up her own summer marketing internship with the Red Cross. “I worked to standardize all of the different brochures that the chapter had,” she said. She also created materials the instructors could hand out to the people they were teaching.

Henderson said she started the internship because she wanted to learn more about the Red Cross. “I was just interested in learning more about it and perhaps helping out,” she said. She also gained many connections through the marketing internship. She left Appleton for a couple years but when she returned, she connected again with the Red Cross and started a marketing committee until they moved to a regionalized structure.

Henderson, who works at Kimberly Clark in Neenah and is getting her masters degree in business administration in managing and marketing at Concordia University, has been involved with the Red Cross’ Soup’s On fundraiser and the Clara Barton Society. In 2010, Henderson joined the board of directors. She recently signed up with the disaster action team. “I think it would be interesting to see that aspect of the organization,” she said, adding that the Red Cross deals mostly providing assistance to those affected by a house fire. “I have an interest in all that.”

Henderson enjoys volunteering. She also helps at the Emergency Shelter of the Fox Valley and is an Advisory Board Chair for Kappa Alpha Theta at Lawrence University. “Volunteering really improves somebody’s life,” she said. “I think if everybody could volunteer just one hour, what that would do for the Fox Cities is pretty amazing.”

Chapter executive Steve Hansen said the chapter relies on volunteers like Henderson. “As a member of our newly consolidated Chapter board, Emily has set a leadership example for others to follow in our community, and we are deeply grateful for her commitment to provide American Red Cross services to anyone in need,” he said. “Through her support of our special event fundraisers, our local chapter will be ready to answer the call — whether it is for lifesaving health and safety training, disaster relief assistance or community programs to help people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies.”
— For volunteer information, call the American Red Cross in Northeast Wisconsin’s Appleton office at 920-733-4481.