WATERTOWN — Jane M. Gendron, executive director of the North Country chapter of the American Red Cross, has announced she will retire from the Red Cross effective at the end of December.
Mrs. Gendron served as the executive director of the Thousand Islands Girl Scout Council for more than 14 years before joining the Red Cross, where she has spent the last seven and a half years.
“I have loved working for the Red Cross and leading a local chapter to deliver help and hope to people across the North Country,” said Mrs. Gendron in a statement. “It has been an honor to work with so many wonderful colleagues, volunteers, and supporters over the years. It won’t be easy to say goodbye, but I am comforted in knowing that there are hundreds of local Red Crossers who will continue to carry out our lifesaving mission, as they have for well over 100 years.”
Though she enjoyed her time with the Red Cross, she said Tuesday she is of the age where retirement was something to consider, so she decided to move on.
As the executive director, Mrs. Gendron led response and recovery efforts across seven counties along with Red Cross preparedness, serving a population of more than 400,000. Having seen the Red Cross through several disaster responses during her tenure, including multiple floods in the Plattsburgh area, she has successfully advanced many local Red Cross programs from blood collection to health and safety training.
Following a tragic fire last year in Watertown, Mrs. Gendron was instrumental in bringing fire safety resources,including more than 1,000 free smoke alarms, to local families in need.
“I’m going to absolutely miss working for the Red Cross, but I still plan to volunteer,” she said. “It’s bittersweet, but exciting at the same time.”
In addition to local work, Mrs. Gendron has also supported national disaster relief operations. In 2016, she was deployed to manage a disaster support call center based in Canada and also responded to Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and Hurricane Florence in 2018.
Though she has no set plans for her retirement beyond continuing with the volunteer work she does now, she said she looks forward to being able to spend more time with her family.
“The news of Jane’s retirement brings a mix of sorrow and joy,” said Rebecca Simser, board chair for the North Country chapter, in a statement Tuesday. “Although we will be sad to lose such a fine and dedicated executive director, we are gladdened at the prospect that she can now relax and enjoy the fruits of her tireless labor.”
A retirement celebration will be held in Mrs. Gendron’s honor on Nov. 15 from 5 to 10 p.m. in the Sackets Harbor Ballroom, located at 103 W. Main Street, Sackets Harbor. Those who have worked with her through the years are invited to attend and thank her for her many years of service in the north country. Mrs. Gendron said she is excited for the ceremony to see who attends and looks forward to it being a fun time. To RSVP for the event, call the American Red Cross North Country Chapter’s Watertown office at (315) 782-4410.