Remembering Red Cross Volunteer Clare Lewis

Topics: Ontario, Volunteer, Emergency Response
Jodi Huenemoeder, Communications volunteer | August 26, 2020

Clare Lewis lived her life full of passion for helping people. She dedicated her career, personal time, and countless efforts into a devotion for bettering her community and communities across Canada.

Upon retiring from her career as a social worker in Guelph, Ontario in 2010, Clare decided she was not done helping those in need, and she began volunteering with the Red Cross.

“Being a Red Cross volunteer was one of my mother's proudest achievements,” says her daughter Louise Lewis-James.

Clare began her volunteer career as a member of the Personal Disaster Assistance team, responding to smaller scale emergencies such as house fires, before moving over to the Emergency Response Team. As a certified trauma specialist with a passion for helping and listening, she was a perfect fit for any team.

Clare was always one to put her hand up quickly when support was needed. She participated in emergency exercises and training, community outreach, local emergency responses, and deployed to larger scale emergencies across Canada.

Her efforts helped the Red Cross prepare, respond, and care for thousands of individuals who were in need of aid and support.

Clare’s love for life, go-getter attitude, and calm nature had an impact on those who worked alongside her. “Clare was kind-hearted, devoted, and enthusiastic, looking to help in any way possible,” says fellow volunteer Jeffrey Taylor. “She was always looking for ways to bring the group together even during the toughest deployments. She loved finding unique and interesting places for the group to eat together. She not only cared about the people we were helping but the entire team’s wellbeing.”

Clare lived and breathed the Red Cross Fundamental Principles in her everyday life promoting inclusivity and providing empathy and compassion to those in need. Unfortunately, in 2018, she was diagnosed with cancer and had to take a break from volunteering to focus on her health and family. Clare Lewis died on April 17, 2020 after a year-and-a-half journey with cancer. Her daughter Louise says Clare approached this journey with a distinct sense of purpose and dogged determination, leaving no stone unturned in her pursuit of quality of life.

“My mother loved being part of a camaraderie with fellow volunteers, learning and supporting each other; learning and understanding from the ground what displacement and crisis meant in people’s lives,” says her daughter Louise. “Whenever my mum spoke of her time with the Red Cross, her face lit up when she talked about the people she worked with and the people she was able to help. She really missed volunteering once she got sick and even considered fitting in some volunteer time in her short period of remission. I have no doubt that if she were still here, she would be making herself available for years to come. She absolutely loved it.”
The Red Cross community thanks Clare for her joyful personality, dedication to helping others, and her many years of volunteer service. Though she may be gone, her positive influence on so many lives on.