American Red Cross Recognizes a Lifelong Volunteer: Mary Holland

Mary Holland, a former Red Cross volunteer nurse, from Gastonia, North Carolina
Mary Holland, a former Red Cross volunteer nurse, from Gastonia, North Carolina

As a young girl, Holland’s parents passed away, and from then on, she was guided and influenced by her friends throughout her life. Holland graduated in 1955 as a registered nurse and has worked in this profession for 49.5 years. Her passion of being a nurse stemmed from the memory of a great friend who went to the Army and wanted Holland to go with her. At the advice of her other friends, she ended up going to Red Cross school to become a nurse instead. For Holland, being a part of the Red Cross family means wanting to help people and having the opportunity to travel all over the world helping others, which is a part of what she loves about her position.

Holland was a visiting nurse with the Red Cross for 4 years and she takes her job very seriously, never missing a day of work. “You can’t be playing around; it is a serious thing and you have to learn your lessons. Being a Red Cross Nurse, you must be prepared to load up and go at a moment’s notice to wherever there is a disaster,” Holland said. “As a visiting nurse, when you travel you must be properly dressed and ready for anything to happen because anything can happen.” Holland has had patients she had to treat every day after they were burned by a fire. “It is important to help those people and keep them warm. The nurses have to learn to work fast. If you see someone in trouble, run and work fast,” Holland explained. The main mission during a disaster is to keep people alive.

If anything happens, nurses must be willing to go and do their best. “You have to be serious about your work. If you aren’t going to be serious, you won’t learn anything. Follow the nursing oath and read the Red Cross nursing book multiple times to make sure you understand. It is important to learn their lessons so it becomes natural and they know what to do. You have to realize that you have that person’s life in your hands,” Holland said in regards to the students.

It is also important to motivate the students and let them know the significance of being able to work fast, taking the job seriously at all times, and remaining kind to all those they help because lives are in their hands. Holland’s advice for the students is “Be truthful, be honest. If you don’t know the work, get help from the Charge Nurse. The Red Cross is all over and they will help you.”

“It is awesome to be a nurse,” Holland said. “To be the best, put all you’ve got in to it. People are depending on you. You are the one to take care of them.” The work of a nurse is challenging but rewarding as lives are constantly saved every day.

The Nurse Assistant Training Class is a four-week 136-hour curriculum that provides students comprehensive classroom and hands-on clinical/lab experience to prepare them for certification by the North Carolina Board of Nursing.

To register for the next scheduled class, which starts on August 5th, contact Ann Holt at 704.864.2623, ext.11 or


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