As families across the country prepare to celebrate the matriarchs in their families, the American Red Cross Serving Central Texas is honoring a mother and daughter volunteer team who have made it their family mission to serve their community.
Izadora Martinez began volunteering with the Red Cross in 2015 during the floods in Wimberly, TX. Since then, she has become an integral volunteer to the local chapter and organization.
“I saw a need in our community during the disastrous Wimberly Flood of 2015,” Martinez said. “I had never felt so closely impacted to such devastation so close to home.”
Since then, Izadora has served in several disaster relief operations and has become an expert in the many volunteer roles she fills. Her dedication was recognized at this year’s Red Cross Gala as she was awarded the Greg Coleman Tribute Award.
Izadora’s passion to serve the Red Cross mission soon became a family affair. After seeing the local chapter’s need for more volunteers, she enlisted the help of her mother Kathy Callahan.
“When my father passed away I asked my mother to come live with me in Austin,” Martinez said. “It was a difficult decision, but we knew it would be best for her.”
After attending numerous Red Cross events with her daughter, the familial and welcoming atmosphere of the chapter peaked Kathy’s interest in volunteering.
“After attending a Service to the Armed Forces meeting, I mentioned to her that would be a way to give back to the military my dad served,” Martinez said. “I told her ‘make him proud,’ and that she has! She has found a new lease on life and is full of joy and has too found that the Red Cross is family.”
Soon, Kathy became a fixture at the Austin Red Cross Chapter, often bringing treats and goodies for the staff and fellow volunteers.
“Not only is Kathy eager to help in any way that she can, she is always thinking of ways to be kind to everyone she meets and works with,” said Reihaneh Hajibeigi, Regional Volunteer Services Officer. “We used to introduce her as Izadora’s mom, but she now has her own reputation as a dedicated volunteer and needs no introduction from us.”
Kathy’s kind-heartedness was emphatically recognized at the annual volunteer appreciation award ceremony as she received the chapter’s “Kindness Award.”
When asked what it is like to volunteer with her mom, Martinez said “Volunteering with my mom is something I wish everyone had the opportunity to do. She’s my side kick, we’re a team and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”