A Bethesda woman has accomplished an extraordinary feat. She is the nation’s longest serving American Red Cross Volunteer.
If it’s Thursday, 92-year-old Mary Bochanis will be pushing a cart filled with treats through the halls of Walter Reed.
"I just go home feeling that maybe I made some kid smile and think about going home and being well," said Bochanis.
Friendly and feisty, Bochanis has volunteered for the American Red Cross for 73 of her 92 years. She comforts injured service members and their families.
"I’m especially good with spouses, because I’ve been through it," she said.
In 1943, Bochanis met her late husband Gus at the old Walter Reed. He was a patient, recovering from a leg amputation after serving our country in World War II.
Danya Shah, 22, said Thursdays are the highlight of her week, because she gets to volunteer with Mary. Shah has witnessed her interaction with the patients.
"They are just so happy to see her," said Shah. "They always are giving her hugs, I’ve seen them give her kisses on the cheek. She jokes around saying she has about 10 boyfriends."
No surprise that Bochanis plans to continue bringing joy to service members for as long as she can.
"The best part is seeing them week after week getting better," she said.
Bochanis is also a great-grandmother who was recently honored by the Governor of Maryland for her service. She’s also volunteered at The Children’s Inn at NIH for 25 years.
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