“I’m putting together packets for disaster victims,” says Betty Grenig. Every Thursday, you can find her carefully placing paper into folders at the Phoenix chapter of the American Red Cross.
This task has evolved over the last eight decades. Grenig has been volunteering through the American Red Cross since she was 17 years old.
“We are just honored to have her a part of our group, part of the Red Cross. 84 years volunteering,” says Kurt Koremer, Chief Executive Officer for the Arizona and New Mexico Region of the American Red Cross.
While that’s a feat, Grenig is celebrating her 101st birthday.
“I was asking the doctor the other day, 'How much longer do you think I was going to stay around?’ He said, ‘Oh, maybe ten years or so’. Oh, good heavens! I need a new doctor," Grenig laughs.
Grenig moved to the Valley in 1961. Before that, she volunteered in Japan, Korea, and the Philippines, all places where her husband served in the army.
She’s dedicated years of service by saving lives. Grenig says, “The most important thing is to get people to donate blood.” Grenig has donated 25 gallons of blood.
“Twice I have received notes from people who have thanked me for their donation and how it has helped them," Grenig says. “It makes you feel good.”
Last year, Grenig received the Lifetime Achievement Award from President Biden. She offers younger generations this piece of advice:
“Be dependable. That counts a lot more than the hours,” Grenig says.
“What Betty represents is better. That’s what we need,” says Koremer. “We need more better. And that’s better. We can all turn to her and emulate her. The world would be a much better place.”
“She’s my hero,” Koremer continues. “We need heroes. She’s a hero.”