Crocker, Rosemond

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                                 CROCKER HAS CANVASSED FOR CLOSE TO 30 YEARS
                                              By Jim Stacey

Rosamond Crocker has been canvassing for the Canadian Red Cross Society for nearly 30 years. And she’ll be at it again this year.

Last week Newcastle council nominated Crocker for an international Women’s day award for her years of unselfish devotion to the community. When Crocker found out she was nominated for the award, she was astonished. “I did feel honoured. But I was surprised,” Crocker said.

The Certificate of Merit program was developed by the United Nations association of Canada to honor distinguished women and their contributions to their communities.

Crocker has canvassed for the Red Cross since 1960. She ran a supply service for the Red Cross literally in the shed of her back yard. Crutches, wheelchairs, urinals, bedpans and sick room equipment were handed out from her shed, she said. Crocker ran the supply area for those who needed it for 19 years from 1960 to 1979. “Those were the days before the Extra Mural Hospital came into being”, Crocker said. When people were finished using the equipment, it would often be returned. These same people would make a generous donation when people would canvass during Red Cross month, which is this month.

Crocker is a past president of the Red Cross chapter of the Miramichi, which is one of the oldest in the province, she said. The chapter was incorporated in November 1914, at the start of the First World War. Last year, $27,000 was raised by the Red Cross in Northumberland County, of which $6,400 was raised in Newcastle, Duffy Hoglund said.

Hoglund is the canvasser organizer of the Red Cross for Newcastle. Hoglund has been the organizer since 1983. There were over 50 canvassers last year in Newcastle. This year there will be at least 48, Hoglund said.

Crocker sometimes uses a loudspeaker while driving to promote Red Cross month. She was the first one to use a loudspeaker in the Newcastle area, she said. She has used equipment on loan from other people until 1975, when she got her own equipment installed. People’s generosity has increased over the years, Crocker said. “People who used to donate $2 are now donating $5.”

Crocker has had many experiences with the Red Cross and she finds them all enjoyable. She likes talking to senior citizens, because they are always so friendly, she said. “I have found myself that the people in Newcastle have always been very generous, courteous and cooperative for donations,” Crocker said.

As a teenager Crocker was a leader in the Girl Guides and Brownies. She was a sports leader at camps for crippled and under privileged children, she said. In addition to working for the Red Cross, she has canvassed for the Salvation Army, Canadian Mental Health Association, Kidney Foundation, Heart Foundation and Cancer Society. Crocker has also served as president and secretary of the Victorian Order of Nurses. She is still actively involved with the Miramichi Terfoil Guild-made up of ex-guides and brownies, and the St. Andrew’s Anglican Church guild. She is also a volunteer with the Miramichi Food Bank and Meals on Wheels.

Crocker was one of the first 150 members of the women’s division of the Royal Canadian Air Force in the Second World War. She volunteered to join the RCAF. She had served all over Canada with the Women’s division until the end of the war, where she finished with a rank of Flight Lieutenant. One of her highlights of her wartime service was when she was flown from Gander, Newfoundland, to Moncton in 1942, to pin the wings on her twin brother, Rowland. He had become a sergeant-pilot. It marked the first time in Canadian military history that a person had pinned the wings on their twin, Crocker said.

When Crocker started volunteering with the Red Cross, it was called people helping people, not volunteering. That is why she has been doing it all of these years, she said. If someone comes to your door and asks you to be a volunteer, Crocker’s advice is to accept the invitation.

Source: Miramichi Leader Weekend - March 03, 1989

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