Ashford University Students Recognized by Local Red Cross Chapter

Red Cross Recognizes Ashford Students and SGA

Two Ashford University students and its Student Government Association (SGA) were recognized by the Gateway Area Chapter of the American Red Cross during its annual meeting and volunteer appreciation dinner on Monday, April 19 at Springbrook Country Club in DeWitt.  

Rachel Caulkins of Elmwood, IL received the Blumer Collins Blood Services Award, given in memory of two volunteers who dedicated their passions to the organization’s blood services program. 

“As a student at Ashford University, Rachel was a part of the first group of students we were fortunate to bring on full time during the summer through the Community Service Learning Work Study Program,” said Amber Wood, Red Cross executive director. “As our blood services coordinator was retiring, she truly stepped forward. Rachel has done a wonderful job taking over the coordinator position. She’s fun to work with and has a great personality. Rachel has used her organizational skills to truly keep the blood services program supported. She faces each new challenge with passion and commitment.”

Wood continued, “When classes resumed in the fall and she was active on campus with her academic and athletic endeavors, Rachel still stayed closely tied to the blood program. She has continued to support the program and ensures that all of the various activities are supported with volunteers and other necessities. She also has taken on the responsibility of recruiting financial supporters for canteen sponsorship and ensures they are recognized and appropriately thanked.”

The John Shafar Exceptional Volunteer Award that honors volunteers whose performance over a period of several years has substantially exceeded the volunteer’s original commitment was presented to Denise Stachel of Clinton, IA who also became involved with the Red Cross through the community based learning/work study program.

Having had previous experience with the Red Cross in other areas of the country, she was quickly certified as a CPR/first aid instructor at the local chapter. “Denise is always willing to step forward and help to educate the community about being more prepared and better ready to respond in case of an emergency,” Wood said.

“She began working on youth projects and took a leadership role in developing and organizing our newest youth program - babysitting camps. She set up the activities and developed the extra curriculum. She continues to take a leadership role in the expansion and ongoing improvement of this program,” Wood noted. “She has also been active in presenting preparedness information to area youth at the Discovery Center each month. After her first presentation, they saw such great response from the youth that they asked her to return monthly to provide this life-saving information. She also presented information to the youth participating in the YMCA camps last summer.”

The Ashford SGA was honored with the Red Cross Good Neighbor Award for its help raising funds for international relief shortly after an earthquake hit Haiti in January. 

“How cold is cold? Well, let me just say this, no matter what your definition of cold is,

we witnessed the warm hearts of those students involved with the Student Government Association at Ashford University,” Wood said.  “On what I would have to say was one of the coldest days of the year in late January 2010, members of the SGA came out to help us raise funds to support International relief efforts. The fundraising event was held at Ashford University and these students joined other dedicated volunteers, board members, and staff to reach out to our community to provide hope to those impacted by disaster on an International scope. The SGA volunteers challenged students and other passers-by to support the cause. They did so with enthusiasm and excitement.” 

Wood also said, “The group and other Ashford student groups have since continued to support the American Red Cross with additional fundraisers, blood drives, volunteers, and much, much more. Our Red Cross is proud of this group of young adults as they sacrificed the warmth of their dorm room and comforts of everyday life to get out there, get involved, and make a difference.  As a community, we have a lot to look forward to from this generous group of students as they move on into their professional lives.”