Honor a Veteran and Donate a Pint

Chief Jim Heavey and Metro New York North CEO Stephanie Dunn Ashley after Battle of the Badges 2022.

By Stephanie Dunn Ashley

I love parades. I love to watch them and to march in them. And so, I am really looking forward to the annual Greenwich Veterans Day parade this Saturday. It’s a day to recognize our friends and neighbors who served our nation through the armed forces. I am proud to march alongside my American Red Cross volunteers to recognize and celebrate this service. Whether you served in the Army, Marines Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, or Coast Guard, the sacrifices made by you and your family to protect the values we hold true as Americans is inspiring, and I want to be among the first to say THANK YOU.

This Veterans Day, I am taking a moment to recognize a special Greenwich public servant and leader, Police Chief Jim Heavey. Chief Heavey is a veteran of Operation Desert Shield, serving over 20 years in the U.S. Army Reserve and as a military police officer. He has been a member of the Greenwich Police Department since 1986, leading as Chief since 2011.

What you may not know is that Chief Heavey has led a lifetime of service. From his days as a Boy Scout and his first volunteer opportunities with the Red Cross as a 15-year-old, Chief Heavey has committed his time and effort to making our world a better place. As a teenager without a car when he first started volunteering with the Red Cross Disaster Action Team, Chief Heavey would ride his bicycle to help respond to fires and make sure his neighbors had the resources they needed to recover from disasters.

Today, in addition to his police department role, Chief Heavey serves as a member of the Board of Directors for our Metro New York North Chapter of the Red Cross. This chapter serves the residents of Westchester and Rockland counties, the US Military Academy at West Point, and of course, our hometown of Greenwich, Connecticut.

Chief Heavey is also a Red Cross-certified instructor for CPR and First Aid. He has proudly led the charge to make sure all his colleagues on the Metro New York North Chapter Board are certified to administer CPR, AED and First Aid. He is an active participant in and supporter of our annual Safety Town program, which teaches rising kindergarteners how to be safe as they start school and introduces them to all our ‘town helpers’ in the Police, Fire, EMS and Animal Control.

With such an incredible lifetime of service, it may seem hard to pick out a milestone moment to recognize. But this December 2, Chief Heavey will donate his 100th pint of blood — a monumental achievement that takes at least sixteen years even if one donated blood the maximum six times per year. In honor of this incredible legacy of donating blood, Chief Heavey and the American Red Cross are calling on the Greenwich community to schedule 100 new blood donation appointments.

Chief Heavey and I are planning to donate during the Battle of the Badges blood drive on December 2nd, which will take place at the Greenwich Public Safety Complex located at 11 Bruce Place. Battle of the Badges builds camaraderie among local first responders through a friendly competition to see who can recruit the most blood donors. When you donate, you can choose to donate in honor of your favorite first responders: Police, Fire, or EMS. At the end of the day, we will tally the score – but have no fear, everyone is a winner when you donate blood. Supporting the Red Cross blood supply is another great way to touch lives in the communities you serve every day.

The drive will run from 8:00 a.m. until 1:45 p.m. If you are available to donate on that day, please go to redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) and use the sponsor code GREENPOLICE to make an appointment. If you are not available to join this event, you can still help us reach our goal to schedule 100 new appointments by using this BloodLink (rcblood.org/3Qc4zGw)to make an appointment at another location and date between November 1 and December 31, 2023.

Veterans Day is a time to recognize those who stepped up to serve our country, and it should also be an opportunity to remind people that service can take many forms. People like Chief Heavey and the 20,000 Red Cross volunteers who are veterans, who so selflessly dedicate their lives to help others, are an inspiration to me and motivate me to continue trying to give back.

I am proud of the work we do at the Red Cross to support veterans and all Americans. For more than 140 years, the American Red Cross has served military members, veterans and their families — building on the legacy started by Clara Barton as she cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the Civil War. Throughout the many decades since our founding in 1881, veterans have stepped up to support their communities after their active-duty service comes to an end by volunteering with the Red Cross. From the front lines of disaster recovery to service in the Veterans Administration and military hospitals across the nation and around the world, their impact is integral to the Red Cross mission.

These veterans help teach lifesaving skills, they give back to their own by volunteering to assist fellow veterans, and they make an impact through the teamwork and dedication that served them well during military service. We ought to do our part too.

Thank you all again for your service and thank you for rolling up your sleeves to help!

Stephanie Dunn Ashley, Chief Executive Officer, American Red Cross, Metro New York North Chapter.

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