I became an author by accident. I never planned to share the journals I kept while helping people after 9/11. But now, I've decided to share the journey of my Red Cross adventures with my grandchildren so they may understand how important volunteering can be to the community and for themselves.
I was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I grew up near Humboldt Park in an area of the city called Bay View. Our neighborhood was one where everyone knew each other. As children we would roller skate, play tag, or other games with all the neighbor children. I attended Immaculate Conception grade school and graduated from Bay View High School.
My first job out of high school was as a secretary in the Trust Department of a downtown Milwaukee Bank. I was married soon after I graduated from high school and quickly had three young children. I was fortunate to be a stay-at-home mom. After six years of marriage I found myself unexpectedly divorced and became a young single mother. During my ten single years raising the girls on my own, I learned how to humbly accept help from others when needed. While receiving help from others, I knew that someday, some way, I would try to help others who were in need.
I was fortunate to be hired as a receptionist in the Financial Aid Office at Marquette University. During my fifteen years at Marquette I earned my Bachelor's Degree as a part-time student. After graduation I became the Financial Aid Director at Marian University in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, where I worked for fifteen years.
I was remarried and with the support of my new husband and three teenage daughters, I began volunteering for the American Red Cross. The time to "Pay It Forward" had finally arrived. I would be on-call one week a month from 6 pm to 6 am. I loved being a volunteer with the Red Cross. As a Family Service Caseworker I provided one-on-one help to families and individuals after they experienced a fire in their home. I then began volunteering as a national Red Cross responder also doing casework for those who were affected by large disasters. My first national volunteer response was in Washington D.C. after 9/11 where I helped provide financial assistance to families who lost loved ones on 9/11/2001. I also helped in Laurel, Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, in northern New Jersey after flooding in 2010, and after Hurricane Sandy in New York in 2012.
I spent over twenty years as a volunteer with the American Red Cross in a variety of roles, including leadership, bringing a small measure of hope to many individuals and families at a very difficult time in their lives. The Red Cross became my passion and fed my soul. It is because of this deep-rooted passion that I am able to share my experiences with my audience in a believable and real manner.
I became an author by accident. I never planned on being one. After a conversation with my granddaughter which gave birth to the germ of an idea, I was asked by a friend to attend a writer's conference in fall of 2015. She is a writer of short humor essays and has been doing this for some time. She said, "just bring some of your poems along." At the conference, people would ask me what I wrote. I'd shrug and say "I'm not really a writer, but I've written a few poems. Well, I did keep some journals while volunteering after 9/11, and Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy." Many of the attendees encouraged me to write my story. So, I did.
I now reside in rural Wisconsin with my husband. Our daughters, son-in-laws, and ten grandchildren love to visit our home not too far from Wisconsin Dells. During my spare time I like to garden, read, travel, play with my model trains, and spend time with my children and grandchildren.