Patricia “Pat” Scharr, one of the most passionate Red Crossers, is retiring after more than 40 years with the American Red Cross

Story by: Ciara DiVita, American Red Cross

Photos by: Susan Plotner, American Red Cross

Pat Scharr retirement party
Guest of honor, Pat Scharr, at her retirement reception on June 19, 2018 in Middlebury, Connecticut

On June 19, 2018, the American Red Cross Connecticut and Rhode Island Region held a retirement reception honoring Patricia “Pat” Scharr at Highfield Country Club in Middlebury, Connecticut. Pat has been a valued member of the Red Cross team for more than 40 years. She’s an enthusiastic and passionate individual who has dedicated her life to the Red Cross mission. Pat’s early years in the Red Cross were spent as a lifeguard and water safety instructor. She was also an instructor for CPR and first aid for about 20 years.

Pat Scharr retirement party
Mario Bruno presenting Pat Scharr with a certificate for her generous contributions to the humanitarian work of the American Red Cross.

Pat has been an integral part of the success of not only the Red Cross in Connecticut and Rhode Island, but also across the country. “Pat raised millions of dollars over the years to support the mission,” said Mario Bruno, CEO, American Red Cross, Connecticut and Rhode Island Region.  “Not only did she raise all that money, but she also taught those around her how to support the Red Cross. Her efforts always multiplied by those people around her.” He also joked that Pat is the queen of in-kind donations. “Whatever you need in a relief operation, she can find it. She could find a toaster in the desert – if we had to use one in a relief operation.”

Pat is a top-performer, life-long learner, and one of the most passionate Red Crossers. She has done an amazing job in the field of fundraising and philanthropy. “Pat has stayed on top of the game every single year. She maintained her Certified Fund Raising Executive credential, engaged with the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and served as chapter president for two years,” said Krista Coletti, Chief Development Officer. Pat has enjoyed her time at the Red Cross because it has allowed her to meet new people, listen to their ideas, and share the Red Cross story.

Pat Scharr retirement party
Pictured: Dianne Auger and Pat Scharr at Pat’s retirement reception.

Along with outstanding fundraising efforts over the course of her career, Pat has a passion for teaching other people about the Red Cross, how to fundraise, and how to be sure that people understand the mission. “Pat has helped countless people with fundraising and donating and has truly impacted thousands of lives,” said Dianne Auger, former Red Cross CEO and current board member.

Pat Scharr retirement party
Patrick O’Donnell sharing kind words about Pat Scharr.

The Red Cross depends on financial donations to be able to continue doing great work. Without people like Pat, people wouldn’t have an avenue where they can take their money and donate it with an organization they can trust. “We have a really long history of doing that – year in and year out – and it’s because of people like Pat,” said Patrick O’Donnell, Board Chair. Pat is someone who exudes warmth, hope, and genuineness. Her ability to share the Red Cross story and mission with others has greatly impacted her fundraising efforts and the overall success of the Red Cross.

Volunteering, working for, or getting involved at any level with the Red Cross is a rewarding experience. “It’s life-altering if you open yourselves up to it. Your work is indirectly changing lives. But your life will also be changed if you really pay attention to what’s going on,” said Pat.

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The development team at Pat Scharr’s retirement reception.

Pat is confident that the person who replaces her will be great and filled with new ideas to share with the Red Cross. “They’ll have new ideas, open the windows, and they’ll move the team forward,” she said. Pat will continue to volunteer her time at the Red Cross, but she is also looking forward to reading more books and being able to swim laps at the pool every day.

Pat Scharr retirement party
Red Cross Volunteers, Bert Goff and John Lennon celebrating with Pat Scharr on June 19, 2018, in Middlebury, Connecticut.

Best of luck, Pat! You will be greatly missed. All of your colleagues wish you the very best in your next journey, and want you to remember – once a Red Crosser, always a Red Crosser.

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