Reed retiring after many years of service|
Saturday, July 31, 2010
By Liza Matia Staff Writer
After 19 years of service, Executive Director Shelia Reed is retiring from the Clearfield-Jefferson Chapter of the American Red Cross.
"I feel this is really God's perfect timing for me to make a change in my life and stay home to spend time with my family," she said. Reed said her whole family has been involved with the Red Cross. Her parents, husband, daughter, and granddaughter have all supported the organization over the years by assisting with setting up shelters, providing supplies, and working fundraisers.
Reed noted that because she is only 60, she is too young to officially retire. She plans to continue working in her family's business, Reed Brothers Tool and Equipment, after she leaves the Red Cross.
Reed had volunteered for approximately two decades before she started at the Red Cross. She worked as an assistant director for two days a week. Two days became four days a week and in 1993, Reed became the full-time executive director.
During her service, the Red Cross has had three different locations. The organization was first housed on East Market Street, then moved to West Locust Street, and is now at its current location on South Second Street. Each move, Reed said, was to a larger facility in order to be more available to the public. The Red Cross is now able to hold meetings and trainings in a classroom and store supplies at its current location.
"This is our ultimate location," she said. "We house cots, blankets, comfort kits and clean-up kits here. It all takes up a lot of space. People don't realize the space we need." Reed also said that multiphasic blood screenings are held at the facility four times a year.
During each move, the offices were furnished through donations by local banks and businesses. Computers were provided through grant funding.
In 2002, the Clearfield Chapter merged with the Jefferson Chapter of the American Red Cross, thus creating the organization which is now known by the joint title of the Clearfield-Jefferson Chapter. Prior to the merger, Reed also had an office in Brookville and managed both chapters.
"There was quite a bit of traveling. It kept me really busy," she said.
Throughout her time at the Red Cross, Reed met "many wonderful people and volunteers." She added that her own experience helped her to appreciate the work of the Red Cross volunteers. Reed said the organization could use more local volunteers who could be trained to respond to national disasters. During crises like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, Reed said many volunteers were willing to go to help. She said the national disasters kept the Red Cross busy raising funds so that the volunteers could respond.
"People feel good when they come back from national disasters," Reed said.
Raising money, however, has been one of the challenges Reed faced as executive director.
"It's challenging across the board for all nonprofits," she noted. "But our wonderful supporters have been our mainstay."
When the fundraisers weren't enough, Reed said the Red Cross would hold other special events, such as auctions, to help raise money.
"It's a challenge to find something different to do," she said.
But, when there's a local or national disaster, people see where their money goes, Reed pointed out.
Despite the challenges, Reed said she loved her job as executive director.
"It's great to have a job you enjoy going to every day. It's something different every day. You might have plans for the day, but then an emergency comes up. It's never boring. You have to be flexible."
Reed appreciates the support from all the board of directors, volunteers, and donors through the year who have helped to make the Red Cross grow.
"It's satisfying knowing you're helping people with needs in the community you're serving," she said.
Summing up her years with the Red Cross, she commented, "Knowing you're making a difference and helping people respond to emergencies and helping with programs and services ... that's really been rewarding."
To volunteer with the Red Cross, call the Clearfield office at 765-5516 or the Brookville office at 849-2712. Donations may be sent to 1100 S. Second St., Clearfield, PA 16830.