Volunteers constitute about 95 percent of the American Red Cross workforce and are an essential part of our humanitarian aid and services. Many choose to volunteer with the Red Cross, but we believe that there are a few individuals who were born with the Red Cross in their blood.
This proves to be true with our very own Sara Bruesewitz, Public Support Coordinator with the Southeastern Wisconsin Region. Sara’s history with the Red Cross doesn’t begin with her, it actually started over 20 years ago with her mother, Barbara Bruesewitz. Barbara worked in Community Preparedness & Resilience Services in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin Chapter, the same chapter that Sara would call home decades later. Barbara left the Red Cross several years later in order to take care of her two children, Sara, and her older brother Bryan.
Growing up Sara had her first experience with the Red Cross at four years old, when her parents enrolled her in preschool aquatics and learn-to-swim programs at the Greenfield High School swimming pool. Aquatics programs that were provided by Red Cross certified instructors and lifeguards.
As a young teen, Sara took a Babysitter’s Training course from her local Chapter, a program that helps prepare youth to make good decisions under pressure, respond to cardiac and choking emergencies, and manage children. In no time at all Sara was known in her neighborhood as the best babysitter on the block.
Problems arose for Sara at 13 years old, when she began to experience severe and chronic back pains, and after several doctor visits and physical therapy, the diagnosis was spondylolthesis, a rare genetic disorder that prevents the development of vertebrae in the spine.
Fortunately, Sara was able to undergo a spinal fusion operation to correct the issue, however during surgery Sara lost more blood than expected and was in need of several blood transfusions. The blood that Sara received was none other than blood collected by the American Red Cross, which collects approximately 40% of the Nation’s blood supply. After a grueling three-month recovery, and countless physical therapy sessions, Sara made a full recovery.
After graduating high school, Sara attended the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay where she continued to show her support and joined the Red Cross club on campus where she was active in holding community awareness events and blood drives. In her senior year she was offered an internship at the Lakeland Chapter in Green Bay, assisting in development, special events, and communication. Upon completion of her degree in May 2012, Sara was offered a full-time position within the Southeastern Wisconsin Region.
When Superstorm Sandy affected the east coast in late October, Sara embarked on her first national deployment and is currently dedicating her time as a public affairs service associate at the New Jersey Disaster Relief Operations Headquarters in North Brunswick, New Jersey.
Sara’s ties to the Red Cross began long before she was even born, and her compassion and dedication literally runs through her. She is as much a part of the Red Cross as the organization is a part of hers. On behalf of the American Red Cross, we owe a lifetime of gratitude to Sara Bruesewitz.
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