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.
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.
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
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.