USAISR Volunteer Selected as BAMC American Red Cross Volunteer of the Year
Brooke Army Medical Center selected Catherine "Cathy" Killinger as the 2013 BAMC American Red Cross Volunteer of the Year for her selfless, empathetic, and loyal duty to others.
Killinger has volunteered at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research Burn Center located on the BAMC campus at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, since 2006. USAISR Burn Center Chief of Nurses Lt. Col. Paul Mittelsteadt nominated Killinger because, "she has the knack for understanding people and a genuine desire to assist others in their time of need."
Killinger admitted she was surprised by the news of her nomination. She became a burn center volunteer when her son enlisted in the Army. In early 2013, she took some time to care for him when he was injured while deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
"I now know firsthand what our families go through as they wait and visit their loved ones," she said.
In addition to this personal tie, Killinger shared that her brother was electrocuted and spent time in a burn center. She added that after deciding to volunteer for the American Red Cross, she asked to volunteer at the burn center having understood firsthand what a family goes through when a loved one suffers from this form of trauma.
"I remember how my parents were so appreciative of the doctors, nurses and staff [that] were there to help them during their difficult time," she said.
In the volunteer of the year nomination package, Mittelsteadt wrote that Killinger demonstrated how one person can make a positive difference.
"She is able to communicate the stories of those patients who have come before and persevered," wrote Mittelsteadt. "This vital information gives hope and comfort to the families and patients. Most importantly, she does this in a non-judgmental and warm manner."
Killinger was selected from more than 40 American Red Cross volunteers at BAMC and will next compete for the Join Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston individual Volunteer of the Year award as well as the San Antonio United Way individual volunteer award.
She said she was honored to be recognized.
"There are so many wonderful people who volunteer here at the hospital. Some people give money, some give time," said Killinger. "It's such a wonderful experience knowing that you have made a difference, even if it's small, a hug, smile or simple touch. It's priceless."