Catherine “Cathy” Killinger, right, the 2013 American Red Cross Volunteer of the Year at the Brooke Army Medical Center talks to Thessalonia McClure at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research Burn Center Intensive Care Unit waiting room. Photo by Steven Galvan
By Steven Galvan, Public Affairs Officer
U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research
18 MARCH 2014
“She represents the model traits of what we should all strive for—selflessness, empathy, loyalty and a strong sense of duty to serve others.” That’s how the 2013 Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) American Red Cross Volunteer of the Year Catherine “Cathy” Killinger is described. Since 2006, Killinger has been a volunteer at U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research Burn Center (USAISR) collocated at the San Antonio Military Medical Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Lt. Col. Paul Mittelsteadt, the USAISR Burn Center Chief of Nurses nominated Killinger because, “she has the knack for understanding people and a genuine desire to assist others in their time of need.”
“I was very surprised [about being selected Volunteer of the Year],” said Killinger. “I have missed some time this year since my son was injured in Afghanistan.”
Killinger became a Burn Center volunteer when her son enlisted in the Army knowing that he would eventually deploy. In early 2013 she took some time to care for him when he was injured while deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
“I now know firsthand what our families go through as they wait and visit their loved ones,” she said.
After deciding to volunteer for the American Red Cross, she asked to be a volunteer at the Burn Center since she understands firsthand of what a family goes through when a loved one suffers from a trauma and ends up there. Her brother was electrocuted and spent time in a burn center.
“I remember how my parents were so appreciative of the doctors, nurses and staff were there to help them during their difficult time,” she said.
In the volunteer of the year nomination package, Mittelsteadt wrote that Killinger is a shining example that one person can make a positive difference.
“She is able to communicate the stories of those patients who have come before and persevered,” wrote Mittelsteadt. “This vital information gives hope and comfort to the families and patients. Most importantly, she does this in a non-judgmental and warm manner.”
Killinger was selected from more than 40 American Red Cross volunteers at the Burn Center and will now compete for the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston individual Volunteer of the Year award as well as the San Antonio United Way individual volunteer award. She said she was honored to be recognized for this award.
“There are so many wonderful people who volunteer here at the hospital. Some people give money, some give time,” said Killinger. “It’s such a wonderful experience knowing that you have made a difference, even if it’s small, a hug, smile or simple touch. It’s priceless.”