The Fayette Citizen-News Page

Wednesday, June 27, 2001

Local volunteers honored by Red Cross

Two Fayette County residents have been honored for outstanding volunteer work with the Metropolitan Atlanta Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Georgia Knight, a Fayetteville resident and an American Red Cross volunteer since the 1960s, was honored by the chapter as the recipient of the Charles C. Rice Award, given annually to an individual for extraordinary service in the area of Red Cross safety. Helen Denton, a Red Cross volunteer since 1982, was honored as Blood Volunteer of the Year.

Beginning her volunteering for the Red Cross in high school by working at the local hospital and teaching water safety classes, Knight has remained a volunteer for more than 30 years.

She started volunteering with the South Metro Service Center in Morrow in 1993 in the areas of blood drives, First Aid Stations and CPR/first aid instructor. Since then she has trained more than 300 people in CPR/first aid.

Knight knows personally the importance of knowing CPR. Her own father suffered a heart attack several years ago.

"Because I knew CPR, I was able to use it on my dad, and even though he didn't make it, I knew I had done everything that I could," she explained. "I can't imagine what it would have been like to stand there and do nothing and always wonder if it would have made a difference. I hope by teaching CPR that it might help someone else be there for a loved one or friend when they need them."

In addition to her hours spent volunteering at the Red Cross Center, Knight is active at the Fayetteville Community Hospital. A career teacher, she is involved in the hospital's summer youth program, training youth in CPR and has been instrumental in initiating courses in CPR/first aid and babysitting at the hospital.

Knight has taught at the annual free Red Cross CPR Saturday for seven years and trained more than 200 youths in programs such as Safe on My Own, a program that offers children instruction on how to be safe when at home as well as Whales Tales, a program designed to teach elementary school age children water safety rules. She also teaches first aid at the Red Cross Elementary Leadership Development Conference taught annually in Fayette County.

Since 1998, Knight has been a volunteer orientation trainer as well as a member of the Red Cross Disaster Action Team. Currently, she serves as a member of South Metro Service Center's volunteer cabinet, speaker's bureau and also volunteers at the Hope House, a care center for terminally ill children.

For the past 18 years, Denton has been a valuable asset in getting Delta Airlines, one of Atlanta's biggest corporations, to donate much needed blood four times a year, said a Red Cross spokesman. Being the coordinator of Delta's blood drives has provided Denton with many volunteer hours and the local blood banks with more than 50,000 pints of blood.

When she retired from Delta in 1982, Denton became a Red Cross volunteer and now helps to recruit, train and assign 250 people each year to work blood drives in Atlanta. From 1997-1999 alone, she volunteered more than 1,000 hours each year as blood drive coordinator, recruiter and speaker.

"Helen has been a tremendous asset in the South Metro Service Center blood drives," said Ruben Brown, South Metro Service Center director. "She has been instrumental in schools and teaching the importance of giving blood to those who need it most."

This is not the first time that Denton's outstanding work has gained recognition from the community. She has been honored with several other service awards including the Clara Barton Award of Meritorious Service, United Way Community Service award and the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change Inc. award.

Still, apart from all these honors, Denton maintains a simple philosophy about her community service. "You receive much more than you give," she said. "And if you reach out, there is always someone to help you."

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