After nearly 70 years of service, Bernice Galyean is hanging up her volunteer suit.
Galyean was 19 when she joined the American Red Cross to help survivors of a flood in Greenville, on the Mississippi River."I started in then," Galyean, 87, said. "We were feeding the people as they brought them in out of the water. They brought them in in landing boats."
During World War II, she made bandages and hospital gowns for wounded soldiers and shipped Christmas packages to those still fighting. Her work continued through Korea and Vietnam.
"She's been a volunteer all her life. We're real proud of Mrs. Galyean. She's a real trooper," said Dorothy Reeves, local Red Cross executive director.
Now it's time "to take life easy," Galyean said.
"I'm not able to do anything, to tell you the truth," she said. "That's why I'm retiring, because I can't get around. Arthritis and rheumatism have got me."
Galyean grew up on a dairy farm outside Meridian with five brothers and two sisters. Although she and her late husband, R.J., had no children, they raised four relatives.
Galyean said she has received as much as she has given in a lifetime of volunteer work.
"It's nothing more than I should have done," she said. "They did for me when I did for them."