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Why I Help
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Deborah Griffith MacSwain, Red Cross Volunteer Journalist
 
July 13, 2009

Art and Betty Boedigheimer could star in a movie entitled “The Couple that Volunteers Together, Stays Together.”  They recently celebrated their 60th anniversary, and have been Red Cross volunteers since October 2001.  Art stated, "I think the Red Cross is very worthwhile, and an asset to the community by helping people."

Art and Betty Boedigheimer, Pikes Peak Chapter of the American Red Cross, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Art and Betty Boedigheimer share a hug after reviewing and processing client cases following the Castle West Fire - an apartment fire in Colorado Springs, January 2007, that killed 2 people and left 130 families homeless.

Both were volunteering in the Colorado Springs community when the 9/11 incident occurred.  The September 11 events were big disasters, and spurred them both to do Red Cross work.  Betty took disaster training at the Pikes Peak Chapter.  And, Art, an Air Force veteran, utilized his military experience to serve as a caseworker with the Red Cross' service to Armed Forces.  Together, they joined a Disaster Action Team.

Over the years, they've worked in the 2004 storms in Florida (Hurricanes Bonnie, Charley, Ivan, and Rita) and they have met countless clients who had lost everything in single family homes.  According to Betty, her (and Art's) volunteer work "made us feel like we were making an important difference and positively impacting the family to be there and give help.”

Art recalled that the "disaster that impacted me the most” was the tornado that struck Halem, Nebraska, in 2004.  He said that this storm flattened buildings and carried family pictures miles away.  He added that "hearing the stories of how people laid on top of each other to save a person really got to me.”

Currently, the Boedigheimers handle all the administrative and disaster human services records for the Pikes Peak Chapter.  But if needed, they will still go out with response teams to disaster sites.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation's blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at www.redcrosschat.org.



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