Meet Cel Etheredge

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Do you know Cel Etheredge?

If you&8217;ve given blood to the Red Cross in Shelby County in the last forty-eight years she probably knows you.

Cel is that feisty little lady who bounces from donor to donor serving juice and crackers.

She is the volunteer chairman of the Red Cross Blood Service here in the County.

When asked about her life and how she became a Red Cross volunteer, she&8217;s happy to tell her story.

Born in 1913 along with her identical twin into a large family, Cel was a delicate child who required special care.

Her mother was a nurse and her father a yard master with the L&N Railroad.

She learned the value of volunteering with the Red Cross from her mother who served as a nurse in World War I.

A picture of herself as a little girl wearing her mother&8217;s cap is a special memento of her childhood

Cel&8217;s life has not always gone smoothly.

She&8217;s survived many health problems and the deaths of family members and friends, but she rises every morning with a smile on her face looking forward to the day. She remarked &8220;My mother was very active and she raised us to think we needed to exercise and to be active doing things for others.&8221;

Cel pointed out that helping others makes her happy &045; and happy she certainly seems to be.

She lives on the second floor of her Pelham home and claims that her exercise comes from climbing the stairs.

She eats a hardy breakfast and begins a day that would send many to the couch.

Her yearly total volunteer hours amount to more that 2000 &045; that&8217;s about a 40-hour week.

If the day is spent at home, she does her own housework and catches up on her Red Cross paper work.

On other days, she drives herself to work with the blood drives. Remember now, this lady is ninety-three years old!

Being a Red Cross volunteer has been Cel&8217;s &8220;career&8221; for sixty-five years; forty-eight of those here in Shelby County &045; an amazing record.

Becky Mayr of the Red Cross organization remarked &8220;Cel is a spicy lady ready to help at a moment&8217;s notice.&8221;

Cel&8217;s response to the question of why she has stayed so long with the Red Cross was &8220;My own and my family&8217;s occasional need for blood has given me that incentive and I know how much it means to have the blood there when you need it.&8221;

Cel&8217;s eyes sparkle when she talks about the upcoming 22nd annual Auburn-Alabama Blood Drive where there are many special gifts, a drawing for game tickets and an autographed football from each school.

She has another unusual and very personal prize for that day; an Alabama &8220;Bear&8221; Bryant belt buckle that she bought for her husband but was not able to give him before he died in 1976.

Now the search is on for a special Auburn prize.

Make a special effort to meet Cel at the next blood drive in the area.

She may talk you out of a pint of blood, but that will be a real bargain because her joy of living is contagious.