By Melanie MacDonald and Dan Bedell, Canadian Red Cross 
 
What began as an online search for a mannequin to be used in a small display of historical items at our Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, building has reacquainted us with a long-retired volunteer who had an exceptional history with the Canadian Red Cross in Nova Scotia.
 
Evelyn Mitchell, Canadian Red Cross volunteerAn ideal mannequin was being sold online by the daughter of 84-year-old Evelyn Mitchell, pictured left.  It turns out that decades earlier, Evelyn’s family needed to borrow a mobility device from what is now called our health equipment loan program, or HELP. Evelyn was so appreciative she decided to pay it forward by volunteering with another Red Cross program that provided free drives to medical appointments for those without vehicles or easy access to public transit.
 
The service was offered in Halifax but not in neighbouring Dartmouth where Evelyn lived, so she soon organized meetings that resulted in the Red Cross offering a limited transportation service in Dartmouth with volunteers using their own vehicles.
 
Evelyn’s next move was to campaign for a Red Cross vehicle and in 1977 the Dartmouth Kiwanis Club donated one. For years, the car would be parked at Mitchell’s home where drivers would go to get the keys and the day’s schedule.
 
Evelyn went on to become a provincial vice-president with the Canadian Red Cross and volunteered in other programs too, notably disaster services – often responding to late-night calls assisting people displaced by fires.
The mannequin 'Evelyn' now on display
Her daughter, Kari, recalls that her mother regularly contributed more than required, but would always say she received more than she gave.

The mannequin, named in honour of Evelyn, is now on display dressed in a Red Cross volunteer uniform similar to one Evelyn wore. She and her children recently toured the Dartmouth branch.
 
“I loved serving as a volunteer for the Red Cross. I still wear my pin to this day.”

If you would like to volunteer with us, visit www.redcross.ca/volunteer.