Marcey and Dan Whiteside met in 1966 through a mutual friend and were married four short months after their first blind date. Fifty years later they are still a perfect match for each other, and for the Red Cross.
Helping Military Families
The Whitesides currently volunteer together for the Red Cross in Central Pennsylvania at the Military Entry Processing Station (MEPS). They provide a warm welcome and discussion with military family members who may have fears about their loved one leaving. Families are assured that the Red Cross is there to help them stay connected.
Dan loves to meet with young soldiers, who in turn appreciate speaking with someone who’s gone through the military experience; someone who can give helpful tips, ease their minds and provide perspective.
This compassion and volunteer spirit were built on many years of Red Cross service.
Red Cross Volunteer Extraordinaire: Impact Across the Country
Dan and Marcey spent three years at West Point at the beginning of their marriage, after Dan returned to the United States following a year-long deployment to Vietnam. Both of their children were born at West Point, and it is where Marcey’s passion for volunteering with the Red Cross began.
At every post Dan was stationed – from coast to coast, and even Germany – Marcey would assess needs with the Red Cross. If she found one, she would step in and address it.
Marcey managed Red Cross volunteer programs in different capacities – the largest of which was at Fort Riley, Kansas, where she led 80-90 hospital volunteers each week. There were a lot of young families with babies at Fort Riley, so Marcey wrote a pediatric program to help her volunteers screen new moms. Volunteers could then alert the nurse practitioners of any issues the mothers had that needed to be addressed.
At other posts across the country, Marcey taught or organized babysitting programs, first aid programs for elementary students and CPR courses sponsored by the Red Cross.
As a commander, Dan often worked with the Red Cross to provide emergency communications between soldiers and their families back home. He retired from the military in 1989 as a Colonel.
Now, when Dan and Marcey aren’t volunteering with the Red Cross, they enjoy reading, spending time with friends, traveling and visiting their two children and three grandchildren in Texas and Florida.
When asked what their secret is to a long, happy marriage, Marcey laughed and said, “Find the right person first of all, and of course having mutual respect and open communications.”