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13 U.S. presidents later, Loretta Johanson still volunteering for the Red Cross


Loretta Johanson began her career with the Red Cross in 1948 as a candy striper at First Presbyterian Hospital in New York. 

She was 13. Harry S. Truman was president. 

Monday night, the American Red Cross Greater Cincinnati & Dayton Region honored Johanson, the Red Cross volunteer coordinator at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, for her longevity and dedication that has called for her to lead a group of volunteers who devote at least 1,000 hours a month to the Red Cross. 

Johanson now is 82. Donald J. Trump is president. 

Thirteen presidents later, Johanson, who has a birthday at the end of the month, is still handling volunteer intake and assignments in addition to tracking volunteer hours and participation.

The organization honored her with a 70-year volunteer recognition pin at the Northern Miami Valley Ohio (NMVO) Chapter’s annual holiday volunteer dinner in Troy. 

“Only through the dedication and strength of volunteers like Loretta, is the American Red Cross able to continue our mission,” said Lynne Gump, NMVO chapter executive. “I can only imagine the difference she has made in the countless lives of the men and women who serve in our military.” 

Also honored for their service were 60 other volunteers including the Piqua Fire Department, the Springfield Fire Division and students from the Upper Valley Career Center in Piqua. 

Those groups were recognized for their support of the ongoing Red Cross free smoke alarm installation project. Recently, two families in Piqua and Springfield were saved from fires when their smoke alarms, newly installed by Red Cross volunteers, awoke the families. 

The regional Red Cross serves 27 counties in Ohio, Northern Kentucky and southeastern Indiana.

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