NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

March 11, 2011

Heroes in our midst

American Red Cross honors three local women

Three locals will be recognized by the American Red Cross Northeast Chapter as "heroes" for their contributions to their communities, during a breakfast at the end of the month.

Among those set to be honored during the annual awards ceremony are: Kathleen Bailey, of Newburyport as a "community hero"; Heather Douglas, a teacher at Triton Regional Middle School, as an "education hero"; and Elissa Al-Chokhachy, RN, of Amesbury, as a "health care hero."

The heroes are friends, neighbors, colleagues and service members who choose every day to make a difference in the lives of others, according to the Red Cross.

Bailey is being recognized for her enormous involvement in the city she moved to only several years ago.

She was the chairwoman of the Yankee Homecoming celebration in 2009 and ran for the city's Charter Commission last year, earning the most number of votes of all of the commissioners.

"When they called, I was a bit overwhelmed by it," she said. "I just do what I do, and I enjoy doing it. I never thought about getting an award for it."

Bailey said she's always been active in communities where she's lived. She's always lived in cities that are larger than Newburyport, and when she arrived here, she decided to get involved.

"Always, even as a child, I felt, 'Don't just sit there, do something.' I guess that's my motto."

A member of the Exchange Club of Greater Newburyport, Bailey organized a movement to bring the Field of Honor fundraiser to the city's Bartlet Mall last Sept. 11.

Bailey also led efforts at the Newburyport Pentecostal Assembly to fill shoeboxes with gifts for children and seniors. The filled boxes were donated to the Family Connection Health and Education Services and the Council on Aging in Newburyport.

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