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September 27, 2023 5:40 pm

Local News

Celebrations for a Kind Soul’s 101st Birthday

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Armand Jackson          

Betty Grenig, a remarkable soul who has dedicated more than eight decades of her life to the service of others as a Red Cross volunteer recently turned 101. Betty started volunteering for the Red Cross back in 1937 when she was only 17 years old, making her the oldest and longest volunteer in the organization to date. She started her Red Cross career when her mother mentioned that the organization needed people to knit socks for the military. When Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941, she was only 20 years old and had to change her wedding plans with her fiancée Robert since he was called to active duty. 

They got married in a small military chapel, and since then she had the opportunity to travel overseas as an army wife and volunteered wherever she and her husband were stationed which included Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines. Wherever she went, Betty would find a local Red Cross office where she could perform a number of tasks including organizing teams to prepare care packages for disaster relief, bookkeeping for the nurses, or sterilizing medical equipment. She moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 1967, where she currently serves in the Phoenix chapter of the Arizona and New Mexico Region of the American Red Cross.

Betty has given 4,000 hours of her service to the Red Cross caring for wounded soldiers and donating nearly 25 gallons of blood, earning her the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award from President Biden. She has been a friend, positive influence, and inspiration to many in the Red Cross for her cheerful personality and history of dedication to helping others in need. As the Phoenix office of the Red Cross held a birthday party for her 101st birthday, one young female airman said, “Miss Betty gave me confidence in myself, I was far away from home and scared, she helped me make it here in the US Air Force.”

She is a heroic figure and a remarkable soul that exemplifies love for humanity. Betty shares words for others to live by so they may experience life as she does; “The most important thing is to get people to donate blood,”; “Be dependable. That counts a lot more than the hours,”; and “As long as you can do something, go out and volunteer!”