Local Red Crossers receive prestigious national recognition

From left to right: Colleen M. Sasso, Terry Unter, Patty Montmorency, Katie Pierson, Christine Medeiros and Shivum Kapoor

In an unprecedented year of challenges, we have made adjustments in many aspects of our lives. Most of us at some point over this time have faced postponement or cancelation of important events celebrating life milestones, traditions and special occasions. At the American Red Cross, this has included the National Awards and Recognition Ceremony we hold annually to celebrate our outstanding recipients.

In response, the Red Cross Northern California Coastal Region celebrated the national recognition of six local volunteers yesterday in a virtual ceremony, presented by the Regional CEO. The prestigious Red Cross National Awards represent and honor the highest level of achievements in their respective fields. Nominated by their peers, each recipient embodies the true spirit of the Red Cross and has dedicated their time and talent, resulting in noteworthy success.

“Now more than ever, it is important we take time to pause and recognize the accomplishments and sacrifices made by our teammates,” says Jennifer Adrio, CEO of the American Red Cross Northern California Coastal Region. “It’s time to celebrate this spectacular group of volunteers and employees who have given the best of themselves to deliver our lifesaving mission!”

The award winners from the Red Cross Northern California Coastal Region are:

Colleen M. Sasso, BSN, RN, PHN (San Mateo County) – Ann Magnussen Award. The Ann Magnussen Award is presented annually to a volunteer or employed registered nurse who has made an outstanding contribution to strengthening or improving American Red Cross programs and services. It is the highest honor of nursing achievement in the American Red Cross.

Here’s what Colleen’s nominator had to say: “Bringing comfort to those in trouble, alleviating suffering and conserving life are all foundations to Colleen Sasso’s core beliefs, making her an incredibly impactful Red Cross Nurse. Colleen’s gracious work over the past 11 years has helped us grow our nursing presence in the community by serving others with these core values. Colleen’s contributions are manifold, and she has held the highest levels of awards for her service here locally, and at the division level, she would be the perfect recipient for the Ann Magnussen award.”

Terry Unter (Santa Clara County) – Presidential Award for Excellence – Humanitarian Services. The Presidential Award for Excellence is presented to an individual or group of American Red Cross employees or volunteers who demonstrate exceptional performance or service in support of the American Red Cross delivering on its multi-faceted mission.

Here’s what Terry’s nominator had to say: “Terry Unter is the embodiment of Red Cross fundamental principles. He represents the best this organization has to offer. He leads by example as a dedicated humanitarian deeply committed to saving lives and alleviating human suffering. His unselfish determination to help others and countless acts of human kindness are profound and impactful. He has a beautiful heart and a strong spirit. The world needs more people like Terry Unter.”

Patty Montmorency (Alameda County) – Presidential Award for Excellence – Biomedical Services. The Presidential Award for Excellence is presented to an individual or group of American Red Cross employees or volunteers who demonstrate exceptional performance or service in support of the American Red Cross delivering on its multi-faceted mission.

Here’s what Patty’s nominator had to say: “When Patty started as a volunteer driver, she recognized the need for more structure and created and implemented a highly detailed and robust program, including a 23-page training manual for drivers. Over her service span of 13 years, she has given the Red Cross more than 2,600 volunteer hours. In FY’19 Patty scheduled 1,700 volunteer shifts and onboarded volunteers, including training, garnering a total cost savings of more than $183,800. In building the Volunteer Transportation Specialist Program, she truly stands out as an exemplary leader.” 

Katie Pierson (San Francisco County)  – Jane Delano Nursing Student Scholarship. The Jane Delano Student Nurse Scholarship awards scholarships to nursing students who have contributed volunteer service to an American Red Cross unit within the past five years; have completed the equivalent of at least one year of college/university credits; and are currently enrolled as a student in good academic standing in an accredited United States nursing school.

Here is what Katie’s nominator had to say: “Katie regularly shows her compassion and adaptability as we continuously throw challenges her way, and she continuously exceeded my expectations. Not only does she strive to improve upon herself, but she has also discovered innovative ways to empower her colleagues to improve and succeed as well. I strongly believe that Katie will be a phenomenal nurse. I know that she will bring the same level of compassion, drive, and commitment to her studies in nursing school and furthermore into her successful career as a nurse.” 

Christine Medeiros (Marin County) – International Services and Service to Armed Forces Department: Exceptional Volunteer Award. This award is given to a volunteer who demonstrates exceptional performance and extensive personal commitment. They must have substantially exceeded the original commitment to International Services and/or Service to the Armed Forces and model exceptional commitment to the Fundamental Principals.

Here’s what Christine’s nominator had to say: “Christine has transformed the Pacific Division Restoring Family Links program since becoming our Division lead in October 2020. Christine is an excellent mentor and works to help regions build self-sufficient Restoring Family Links programs. Her passion for the program is contagious, and her dedication to the program and our clients is unmatched. She embodies the principles of humanity, unity, and voluntary service.” 

Shivum Kapoor (San Mateo County) – Navin Narayan Excellence in Youth Leadership in 2020. The Navin Narayan Award for Excellence in Youth Leadership is a prestigious honor presented annually to a youth volunteer who demonstrates exemplary Leadership Skills and Red Cross service. 

Here’s what Shivum’s nominator had to say: “Beyond his immeasurable impact on our youth program as a rising Junior, Shivum helped us integrate youth leadership into our Volunteer Services team as well. Shivum created an avenue for us to build that bridge and make the way for youth volunteers to follow in his footsteps. Shivum showed us what we always believed to be true, that youth leaders have the innate ability to adapt and thrive in new environments, even if they are the only youth in the room.” 

Congrats to each of the awardees, and thank you for your tireless commitment to the mission of the Red Cross!