Red cross honors volunteers

Published 6:34 am Friday, December 18, 2009

Several local volunteers were recently recognized for their work with the Mower County Red Cross.

And two people in particular — Jim Grunewald and Lynda Paxton — took home big honors.

Grunewald was chosen as the Eileen Nierengarten Award recipient. The award is named after a 50-year volunteer who also once served as chairwoman of the board for the Mower County Red Cross, and it goes to people who show long-term commitment to the organization.

Grunewald fits that bill — he has been volunteering locally for 31 years. Mower County Red Cross director Elaine Hansen said he’s been a great influence during that time.

“He really cares about people,” Hansen said. “(And) he’s the kind of guy people want to be with.”

Paxton was named Volunteer of the Year for the more than 780 hours she put in. Originally coming to the Red Cross during Hurricane Katrina several years ago, Paxton has continued to work hard to make people’s lives better. Locally, she was a big part of the Holiday Tour of Homes and the Evening in Red events.

When asked about what stands out with Paxton, Hansen simply said, “Everything.

“She’s just a very humble, sweet person.”

In all, more than 530 people volunteered at the Mower County Red Cross during the last year. Many of them were recognized for reaching service milestones during a dinner last month.

“We’re just very excited that we have all these great volunteers involved,” Hansen said.