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Red Cross volunteerism has been a ‘life-saver’ for Gusler
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Bea Gusler, who turned 96 on Monday, recently was recognized by the Red Cross for 60 years of volunteer work. “I enjoyed it. I really enjoyed working and making friends. It was something to get me out of the house and help me know I was doing something” to help others, Gusler said. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)

Friday, April 4, 2014

By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer

Bea Gusler was emotional Tuesday when she was awarded a certificate for her 60 years of volunteer service with the American Red Cross.

“I sat there and cried,” Gusler said. “I didn’t expect that” recognition during the local Red Cross chapter’s volunteer dinner at the Dutch Inn.

“I knew I had been working a long time ... but I cried. I just sat there and cried,” said Gusler, 94, of Reed Creek.

She recalled Wednesday that she started volunteering around 1950. At the time her husband, Sam Gusler, was a member of the Lions Club, she said.

“Rose Bouldin was executive director” of the local Red Cross then, and Gusler helped prepare for bloodmobiles, she said.

“I was in charge of getting workers for right many of the bloodmobiles,” she said of the blood donation events that were held throughout the community.

“I’ve been to them all over,” Gusler said.

She continued her volunteer career under a number of different chapter directors over the years because “I enjoyed it. I really enjoyed working and making friends. It was something to get me out of the house and help me know I was doing something” to help others, Gusler said.

Gusler and her husband raised three boys, and now there are five grandchildren, she said.

Sam Gusler, a former Henry County supervisor who also was a community leader and a contractor, died in 1980 from injuries he received when a tractor overturned, pinning him underneath, according to previous reports. His wife found him when she returned home from shopping.

Her affiliation with the Red Cross became even more important after, Bea Gusler said.

“Just being out of the house, in a crowd helps,” she said. “And I got to know so many people” through her work with the agency. “It’s just been a life-saver for me.”

She attributes her longevity to having “a good life, and I had a good husband. That means a lot. That and the children didn’t give us any problems.”

Although health issues have forced Gusler to slow down, they have not diminished her determination.

“I’m hoping I’m going to get straightened out one day and go back and join” the volunteer ranks once again, she said. For now, she will concentrate on improving her health, framing and hanging her 60-year certificate and adding the most recent service pin to her already brimming collection.

With a smile, she said, “it was a good life for me. It really was ... working in bloodmobiles.”

 

 
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