It has been a period of change for the Shelter Island Chapter of the American Red Cross. In the past year the Red Cross turned over the operation of the Island’s Ambulance Corps to the town. But one enormous change is Joy Bausman has tendered her resignation as volunteer CEO of the Red Cross chapter here after 37 years of continuous service.
Volunteering to help people in need runs in Ms. Bausman’s family. One of her uncles, George Clarence Johnston, was one of the original officers who started the Red Cross here in 1931. Ms. Bausman’s mother, Isabel Johnston Bowditch, was also on the Red Cross committee when Joy took over in 1976.
Things were a bit different back then, Ms. Bausman remembered. There was no dedicated Emergency Services Building. The one Cadillac ambulance was parked below Town Hall — the present day police headquarters, and the volunteers met there.
But one thing hasn’t changed — there have always been 30 to 40 Islander volunteers.
“We could not have arrived to this moment without the leadership and friendship of Joy Bausman,” said John Miller, CEO of the Long Island
Red Cross. She has led the chapter as its CEO for three decades and “has been a true advocate for her neighbors on Shelter Island,” Mr. Miller added.
Legendary Red Cross and Ambulance Corps member Ben Jones called Ms. Bausman “an inspirational leader” who “provided the road map” to making the Red Cross the organization it has been on Shelter Island.
The Shelter Island Chapter of the American Red Cross is becoming part of the American Red Cross on Long Island as of July 1.
“Local volunteers will continue to serve their neighbors and fulfill our mission to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies,” Mr. Miller said.
Mary Wilson, who has 25 years of experience with the Red Cross here, will chair the Shelter Island Disaster Committee, ensuring there is a disaster plan in place to respond to any emergency. Disaster shelter supplies are already in place on the Island, Mr. Miller said.
Peter McCracken, Shelter Island Red Cross Board Chairman, will become a member of the Board of Directors of the Long Island Red Cross.
Ms. Bausman remembered her mother as the inspiration for her life of giving back to the community. “She joined the Red Cross for the first “first aid” course given here and was a volunteer for 55 years,” Ms. Bausman said. “First on the ambulance and then on the board of directors, in charge of the swimming program and first aid program. Being on the board nominating committee, she suggested me as I had just moved back to Shelter Island.”
There was something special about completing a circle of community service, Ms. Bausman said. George Clarence Johnston and anther uncle, Walter Dawson, were organizing officers. “And I am the one, three generations later, merging the chapter into Long Island,” Ms. Bausman said. “My mother believed everyone should volunteer and that’s how I became involved and how I made it for 37 years.”