Those who know Barb Billmeier recognize her for her compassion, commitment and dedication.

Serving for more than two decades as a volunteer for the Red Cross is one example of who Billmeier is and what she is willing to do to help others.

“Barb lives and breathes the mission of the Red Cross,” said Vonnie Thomas, who has served with the Red Cross In Minnesota for more than 65 years. “She is a humanitarian in the truest sense of the word.”

Thomas shared those thoughts at an open house event held for Billmeier April 30 at the Wabasha Creek Restaurant at Dacotah Ridge Golf Club. The event honored Billmeier who was recently presented the Ann Magnussen Award by the Red Cross.

The Ann Magnussen Award is presented at the national level on an annual basis to a “volunteer or employed registered nurse who has made an outstanding contribution to strengthening or improving American Red Cross programs and services.” It is the highest honor for nursing achievement in the organization. 

Billmeier, who is from Morgan, was presented the award in Washington, D.C. March 27 as part of the Red Cross national awards and recognition dinner.

Arika Quick, a Red Cross regional volunteer services officer, said the area is very fortunate to have someone like Billmeier.

Whether it is providing on-site services, education or leadership individuals who serve in nursing roles with the Red Cross demonstrate what it means to serve, and that, added Quick, is what defines the work Billmeier has done for the Red Cross.

Billmeier said she is very humbled by the award, adding she asked why they selected her. She was told that the organization is looking to recognize those serving at a more grassroots level who are making a difference.

For Billmeier, getting involved in the Red Cross made a lot of sense, because it allowed her to use her nursing training in a different way.

Helping people is something Billmeier said she learned at a young age from her mom who was always there to serve others when they were in need.

Billmeier serves in a leadership role for the region helping to coordinate response to emergencies in a 19-county area. Billmeier said she enjoys helping coordinate the response from the Red Cross, but added she also appreciates the chance to be on the scene when that is possible helping to make sure people’s needs are being met.

Billmeier said this award is not just about her, but reflects the team approach and the great volunteers she works with on a regular basis to fulfill the mission of the American Red Cross.