SPRINGFIELD – Mattilou Catchpole, professor emerita of Women's Studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield, will be among those honored at the annual Heroes Breakfast sponsored by the Illinois Capital Area Chapter of the American Red Cross. The ceremony will be held April 20 at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield.
The Red Cross heroes program recognizes outstanding community members in eight categories: Youth, Senior, Public Safety, Work Place, Military, Education, Community, and Healthcare. Catchpole is being recognized in the Education category.
Originally educated as a nurse anesthetist, Catchpole has made more than 20 trips to developing countries – including Uganda, Guyana, Costa Rica, Belize, Eritrea, and Tanzania – since 1990. During her first trip as a volunteer, to Haiti, she discovered that "what I wanted to do was to teach anesthesia to nurses there – wherever 'there' was – instead of just administer it." Since then, Catchpole has volunteered one month each year, working through Health Volunteers Overseas, a group whose purpose is to teach professionals in countries where there is a vital need for health care training and educational support services. On her most recent trip, last summer, she taught advances in cardiac and respiratory care to nurses in Tanzania.
In 2006 she was one of 18 recipients of HVO's President's Call to Service Award, which recognizes individuals who have contributed at least 4,000 volunteer hours – the equivalent of two years' full-time service.
For more on the Red Cross Heroes program, including information on making reservations for the April 20 breakfast, go to www.il-redcross.org/.