Red Cross crusader passes away

Cel Etheredge, a crusader for the local American Red Cross, passed away around 5 p.m. Feb. 22, according to Red Cross volunteer and close friend Kathleen Schiefelbein.

Etheredge had volunteered with the Red Cross for more than seven decades after offering her service along with her sister Mary Ann between World War I and World War II.

In 2008, she explained why she kept working so hard.

“I love what I do,” said Etheredge. “My doctor says I need to quit, but I can’t. I’d go crazy.”

Many know of Etheredge from donating to her Iron Bowl Blood Drive each year. She began hosting the event 26 years ago, pitting Auburn and Alabama together to determine who could give the most for their community.

In a November article, Shelby County Red Cross Account Manager Ryan Sherman said Etheredge was more than vital to what the local chapter accomplished.

“Her impact in Shelby County has been amazing,” Sherman said. “She is a vital part of what we do in Shelby County. We couldn’t do what we do in Shelby County without her.”

The Red Cross marked Etheredge’s 97th birthday with a blood drive to collect 97 pints of blood in late January.

Funeral arrangements were not yet final as of Monday evening.