Mary Crawford is known by many as the York area’s go-to blood drive coordinator, but she’s also been a scout leader, softball coach and 4-H mentor.
She says her volunteerism started with a promise she made as a little girl.
Her story starts in her hometown of Red Cloud, when, at age five, a fall off a horse broke her leg and pelvis, leading to polio. She was quarantined from her siblings, and with the family’s only lamp to keep her company, made a resolution.
“I kind of promised the good Lord then that if I survived, I would do something every day to help somebody, and I’ve tried to do that,” says Crawford.
As blood drive coordinator her job includes checking in donors, organizing call lists, rounding up other volunteers, and making the drive a success. She says that after 54 years, it’s second nature.
“I paid a dollar to join Red Cross as a volunteer in January of 1960,” says Crawford.
Red Cross officials say their efforts would be fruitless without people like her.
“The Red Cross is a non-profit organization, and so we have limited funds, and so that’s why it’s so important that we have the volunteer help,” says Donor Recruitment Representative Stephanie Mousel.
Crawford says it feels good to help, no matter the method.
“If you donate blood you can save as many as three lives every time you donate, and if you come and volunteer you really get to meet and know the people that live in the community,” says Crawford.
That’s especially true for her – Crawford knows nearly every York donor by first name.
“I think they kind of broke the mold when they made Mary,” says Mousel.
Crawford says she doesn’t know if she can ever completely quit volunteering, though her retired husband sometimes asks.
“He keeps saying, ‘When are you going to try to slow down?’” she says with a laugh. “I don’t know, needs to happen before too long maybe, I don’t know.”
Crawford says it’s easy to help in a giving community like York where they have enough willing donors and volunteers to have four days of drives every two months.