In Loving Memory of...

Tom Donelan

Tom has been a fixture at our chapter for the past 18 years.  He was a staunch supporter of the Red Cross and was active in every facet of our operations.  He participated as a disaster volunteer and went on 11 national assignments including Guam in 2002.  He was in our first CERT class in 2003 and helped with traffic control and other emergencies countless times. 

Tom donated 217 pints of blood during his lifetime.  He also donated apheresis (platelets and plasma) which entailed driving to Farmington and spending hours at the blood center.  Tom was a member of the board for six years, including three as vice-chair.  He was also an AFES (Armed Forces Emergency Services) volunteer.  As a proud veteran he thoroughly enjoyed being able to serve as a conduit between the military personnel and the Red Cross. 

Tom was a volunteer driver in our transportation program.  He could always be counted on to take the more difficult drives and was passionate about helping those in need. It wasn’t unusual for him to drive up to four times a week, including two in one day.  Tom answered the phones frequently at our chapter and his pleasant disposition made him a natural for this task.  We always knew we could find Tom and his good friend and fellow Red Cross volunteer John Shufeldt every morning at Dunkin’ Donuts.  We affectionately referred to them as “the boys”. John is quoted as saying, “In my opinion there is no one in New Canaan over the age of 75 who has literally given more blood, sweat and tears to this town and its citizens than Tom Donelan.”  In 2003 Tom received the Senior Volunteer of the Year from the Volunteer Center and Volunteer of the Year in 1998 from our chapter.   

Tom’s volunteer activities for other organizations are too numerous to mention but there is one worth noting. He was the primary driver in this area for the Disabled American Vets and drove their van several times a week to New Haven taking veterans to their medical appointments.   

Tom has been a resident of New Canaan for almost fifty years.  He and his wife Joan raised nine children here.  He was retired from the U. S. Navy as a Lt. Commander after 34 years, 8 as active and 26 as a reserve.  He saw duty in both WWII and Korea.  

He will be sorely missed for years to come by everyone who knew him; especially those of us at the New Canaan Chapter of the American Red Cross.