Longtime Red Cross volunteer wins award for humanitarian service

December 27, 2011|By JANET HEIM |
  • Barbara "Bobbi" Schnebly is the recipient of the 2011 Beulah T. Meyers Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service from the Washington Couny Chapter of the American Red Cross.
By Yvette May/Staff Photographer

WASHINGTON COUNTY — For 25 years, Barbara “Bobbi” Schnebly has written the narrative for the person being recognized with the highest volunteer award by the Washington County Chapter of the American Red Cross.

She has also helped organize the annual volunteer and donor-recognition event all those years.

This year, in a surprise announcement, she was honored with the 2011 Beulah T. Meyers Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service. She learned of the honor during the volunteer recognition dinner on Sept. 22.

“It was a very big surprise. They really got me. I’m very appreciative and humbled,” said Schnebly, who was originally told the award wasn’t being given this year.

Schnebly’s history with the Red Cross dates back to 1981, when she became a board member. That was the year her son was born. Her daughter was born in 1978.

Schnebly said the invitation to join the board was for her husband, former Washington County Commissioner John Schnebly, but he was too busy.

Her volunteer work led to a staff position in 1989, from which she retired in 2006.

“Now I’m back to being a volunteer. I have the best of both worlds,” said Schnebly, who lives at the edge of Funkstown.

“I think I have a unique perspective on things. I see it from both sides. We have great volunteers and dedicated staff.”

Schnebly, 64, grew up in Washington, D.C., and moved here after she and John married in 1975. She keeps a full schedule in retirement.

“Between family, friends, activities and hobbies, it’s a full day,” Schnebly said.

She helps watch her 2-year-old grandson, her daughter’s son, in Harford County. Schnebly’s son and his wife are expecting a baby in April 2012.

In addition to her Red Cross commitments — such as working on special projects, doing some statistical records and helping plan the awards dinner — Schnebly said she recently started driving for the Micah’s Backpack project.

 She picks up full backpacks at Zion Reformed United Church of Christ, delivers them to Conococheague Elementary School, then returns the empty ones to the church.

Schnebly, who was involved with the Red Cross youth program when they had one, said she believes in exposing young people to volunteerism early on. She is proud that her adult son and daughter are Red Cross volunteers where they live.

What always impressed Schnebly about the Red Cross volunteers she met here is that “they stick with it,” many with an impressive number of years of service. Many also volunteer for a number of other community organizations.

Schnebly said writing about the awards recipients each year before the annual dinner means reviewing the year and what others have done.

“It was amazing to me. It gave me a clear picture of what’s going on. If you look at the work our volunteers accomplish in a year, four staff (members) could never do that,” she said.

For more information about volunteering with the Washington County Chapter of the American Red Cross, call 301-739-0717.

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