By: Marta Rusek
Judith Alexis Smith is uniquely qualified in her role as a volunteer for the American Red Cross’ Service to the Armed Forces Program, as she herself is a veteran of military service!
She served her country as a reservist with the 4074th Reception Battalion, in Willow Grove, PA starting in 1985. For the next eight years, she performed her duties as a 71L (a clerk) once a month and two weeks annually. When she wasn’t serving as a reservist and working in a civilian role, she was engaged in what she describes as “the worthwhile cause” of donating blood to the Red Cross.
Wanting to support our community beyond an exceptional military career, Judith became a volunteer for the Red Cross in late 2005, during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Though she was never deployed on-site to Louisiana, she put her experience and passion as a blood donor to good use by volunteering with local blood drives organized by the Red Cross.
In the years since, Judith has become a valued member of the volunteer team, going wherever she is needed most. She has done it all, from setting up tables at community events to wearing the chapter’s mascot costume. She’s also enjoyed participating in Sound the Alarm events, serving as a greeter for the Red Cross Ball, and working the greeting cards station at the annual Holiday Party for families. She even strut her stuff as a model at a recent volunteer appreciation banquet, wearing a Red Cross uniform as part of a collection of uniforms from different periods in the organization’s history.
While she has worn many hats as a volunteer, working with veterans and their families has been the highlight of Judith’s Red Cross service.
“I felt that [joining the Service to the Armed Forces program] was an extension of my work with the community,” she said. “Even though I was a veteran, I think other veterans contributed so much more than me. The sacrifices of the men and women, along with their families, is gratefully and proudly recognized. If I can help in any way promoting that fact, I’m in.”
Some of Judith’s favorite activities have unfortunately been postponed or massively scaled back as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, including volunteer shifts at parades and the VA medical center.
“Volunteering at the veteran’s medical center and at parades is a joy,” she shared. “I would help at various functions and meetings, in the center. At the parades, I would walk and/or assist in them – before, during, and after – greeting the people, handing out information and snacks and, of course, water.”
At 70 years young, Judith is as passionate and driven to working with service members and their families as she was when it came to her own service as a reservist. She looks forward to the day when the COVID-19 pandemic is over and she can jump into more active service.
“I hope to contribute more than I am right now,” she explained. “My prayers are with all who can and do more.”
Primary image description: A graphic that reads: “Thank you for your service! Judith Alexis Smith”. The American Red Cross logo appears at the top, and a circular photo of Judith, wearing a Red Cross volunteer vest and smiling from ear to ear as she proudly holds a picture of herself in her Army Reserves uniform.
Secondary image description: Judith poses for a group photo at a recent Veterans Day parade with the American Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania’s CEO, Guy Triano and three staff members. They are all smiles as they hold American flags and stand in front of a Red Cross ambulance.