County Red Cross official killed in car crash

By Fawn Porter/Staff Writer

Gina Gathers was more than just an executive with a local nonprofit organization. She was a friend, an advocate, a cheerleader and tirelessly devoted to her family.

Gathers, executive director of the Canadian Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, died last week in a car accident near Binger.

“She was a passionate person who loved her family and her work,” Laurie Mason Fried, assistant director for the local chapter, said. “She was enthusiastic and fun and did everything to help others — above and beyond.”

She was the big boss, Fried said, and had a “true heart” for the Red Cross, working around the clock to lead the organization and extend a helping hand to the communities she served.

“She was a first responder in every sense of the word,” she said. “She was committed to helping others in the community at all times with dignity and respect. To her, it was all about supporting the community.”

Fried said Gathers’ actions were a true reflection of her passion for the Red Cross and “how much she believed in everything we did.”

From training and disaster relief to the day-to-day activities of being an administrator and late nights working with other first responders, Fried said Gathers made the Red Cross a fun place to work.

“I just can’t say enough about her passion,” Fried said. “To us, to her family — her family was so important to her.”

And if the flood of phone calls and e-mail of support, sympathy and memories were a testament to how Gathers lived her life, then it’s obvious how many people she touched.

“She has been so many things to so many people,” Fried said. “The phone calls and e-mails, they’re just a tiny bit of that.”

In the last two years, Fried said Gathers had led the organization to a greater community presence and increased its capacity in the communities.

“Her absence leaves a huge void,” Fried said. “But if we are to talk about her legacy, it is that we continue to be passionate and work with our communities — that we pay it forward.”

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God bless her family.

It's this kind of senseless tragedy that reminds us to hug our families a little closer every day.

"I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality." -- George Washington

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