By Mark Walker – Red Cross volunteer, Bainbridge Island, WA
American Red Cross volunteer and Gold Star Mother Myra Rintamaki is being saluted by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee with a 2018 Governor’s Volunteer Service Award for her dedication to veterans’ services.
The governor recently hosted Myra and other volunteers from throughout the state at the Governor’s Mansion in Olympia, where he said volunteers such as Myra are integral to the well-being of all Washingtonians.
“Without their gifts of time, talent, and resources our communities would not be as successful and vibrant as they are today,” the state’s chief executive said.
Myra called the recognition humbling. “I was surprised and a little embarrassed,” she said. “Every one of the volunteers I work with is just as deserving.”
Myra is a proud Marine Corps parent who turned loss into healing through her dedication to veterans. Her Marine Corps infantryman son, Steven, died in a roadside bomb explosion in Iraq in 2004.
“Everything I do is to honor his service and that of all the men and women in the service,” she said.
Today she organizes special events for former troops and represents the Red Cross at monthly veteran meetings at Hero’s Café, often attracting more than 100 attendees. Her award specifically recognizes her work at Hero’s Café in Lynnwood, where she provides former service members with help accessing services provided by the Red Cross and other groups.
Eric Reevesman, regional program specialist for Red Cross’s Services to the Armed Forces program, said Myra is the lead military outreach volunteer in Snohomish County. “Tireless and dedicated” is how he describes her.
“She is truly an amazing volunteer,” he said. “She cares very deeply about all the members of the military and each of their family members.”
Myra and all those recognized by the governor also got a tip of the cap at Safeco Field prior to a Seattle Mariners game during Volunteer Week in April. Myra was among several on the field and introduced to the crowd.
The Red Cross joins Gov. Inslee in recognizing Myra Rintamaki for all she does for others.
Every day, the American Red Cross provides 24/7 global emergency communication services and support in military and veteran health care facilities across the country and around the world.
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