Walk On

The Champions Who Walked Among Us

The Champions Who Walked Among Us – Article 12 – The Volunteer

Born with the seed of passionate determination, this infant forced her way on the stage of life at an early age by reaching out, and practicing that which she had not learned from any school. It was the sheer will of knowing this was her life purpose, that gave her the courage to attack life problems with the belief, that one person stepping out and doing what needed to be done could change things. Being the youngest of five children did not deter her focus.  She did not let her rang in the family hierarchy block her way forward.

  • Had not King David been the youngest of his brothers? 
  • Had he not defeated Goliath alone, with five stones and sling?

So, it was for this infant whose history had just begun.  Born on December 25, 1821, even the day of her birth was significant. It was Christmas Day, in North Oxford, Massachusetts, and this tiny infant came into a family that looked forward to pampering her with tender loving care.  Everyone in her family was responsible for her development, and she grew under their care.  Her father instructed her in warfare and geography, her mother in the home economics of cooking, sewing and patching things together, her sisters taught her how to read so that, at the age of four, the young girl was an avid reader, her older brother taught her the secrets behind mathematics, and her oldest brother introduced her to farm life and animal husbandry, which would fertilize the seed germinating within her.

  • What do you do when you have the mentality and intellect, at the age of four,  to be considered mature enough to walk alongside those who are much older than you?
  • How do you deal with a society, which considers you to be no more than a precocious child? 

The nurturing she received from her family catapulted her high above the other children around her, and allowed her to attend school at the age of four. Here, she would meet envy, jealousy, and ignorance disguised under the blanket called generation gap from children who were older than she.  This was not the nurturing environment from which she had come from, and the child hurt. She became shy.

Her shyness kept her from opening up to her peers, and at the age of eight, she had no friends with whom she could confide in––only her family––that she loved. This same family would later become the backbone of support, the child, who was gradually becoming a young woman,needed to achieve her goals, as she walked into the purpose for her life.

Because her communication skills were still lacking, her parents wanted to compensate for the loss by sending her to boarding school––another parental mistake.  Not understanding that their carefree and happy child, who displayed her exuberance at home, was terrified of being outside of her positive affirming environment, their intent was to help her through the maturation process.

The boarding school visit ended with the child being returned home as unsuitable. She cried and ached for the family that was no longer around her, and her parents had to let her return.

The stage was now set.  The child was where she was supposed to be, and her purpose could now come up and show itself.

It was her favourite brother who became the necessary stone in the mosaic puzzle of her life that brought the picture together.  A bad fall, doctors said he would not recover from, gave her the chance to march forward and come to the forefront, and the Volunteer was born.

If I can help somebody, as I pass along,

If I can cheer somebody, with a word or song,

If I can show somebody, how they’re travelling wrong,

Then my living shall not be in vain.[1]

What others said could not be done, she did.  She nursed her brother three long years, and his health returned ––the medically doomed son, diagnosed to die by the doctors, was healed.

  • Had no one told her, she had not studied medicine?
  • What gave her the impertinence, at the age of eleven, to doubt the diagnosis of a medical doctor?
  • Since when did a child have anything to say in the decision making process of a mother or father, who was hanging on to any strand of hope they could find, hoping not to lose their oldest son?

All of her life, the Volunteer would be pitted against challenges.  It was her family that gave her the necessary support, and strengthen her courage to keep going along her stony path.  She would dedicate her life to helping others, because that was what made her happy––reaching out to help others.

If I can do my duty, as a good person ought,

If I can bring back beauty, to a world up wrought,

If I can spread love’s message, as the Master taught,

Then my living shall not be in vain.

Although the Volunteer became a schoolteacher in 1837, it was not until 1850 that the significance of this chapter in her life would come forward.  Children, without school education, came to her attention, and she founded the first free school of education in the state of New Jersey. The task was immense; the work was hard, but the Volunteer made it happen. She practically founded this first free education school in New Jersey single-handedly, only to be removed, after the state became involved and hired a man to take over as the administrator.   After all, she was a woman.

Discouraged at the ill treatment she received, the Volunteer sought to find another task she could complete.  She was unsure of her future for the first time, unsure of what she as a woman could do in a society that was dominated and dictated by the male population, and it brought about a small, nervous disorder.  Not until 1853 would she find something that suited her, and again she would arise out of the ashes, like the Phoenix, heading towards the sky.

Becoming a copyist in 1853, in the U.S. Patent Office, she was the first woman to hold such a job and get paid for it.  Though her performance was outstanding, some raged against a woman working as a copyist. With the election of the next President, her place in society was properly pointed out to her. She lost her job.  After all, she was a woman.

  • What do you do when oppositional ignorance makes your life unbearable?
  • How do you handle disappointment and loss without becoming destructive to yourself and to others?
  • Where do you get the courage, and energy to trust and keep loving people as you move forward toward your goals?

If I can help somebody, as I pass along,

If I can cheer somebody, with a word or song,

If I can show somebody, how they’re travelling wrong,

Then my living shall not be in vain.[2]

It was the middle of the nineteenth century and wherever one turned discussions were being conducted about slavery.

Little did the Volunteer know she had not reached her zenith.  Her rise, like the Phoenix out of the ashes, would lead her to peak of her accomplishment.   April 12, 1861, one month and eight days after the election of Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War began with the shots fired at Fort Sumter, and the Volunteer shone!

Here, she,

  1. Went to the battlefield to dress wounds and comfort the soldiers,
  1. Crossed party lines, not caring whether they were union or confederate soldiers, but taking care of the soldier and his wounds,
  1. Began to track and keep records of the men whom she aided and their families.

After the Civil War, she visited Europe and observed the development of the International Red Cross. A development the President of the United States had turned down, she took on the fight to have the organization established in her own country.  Of course, there were many who were against it, but what difference did that make? 

  • Had she not marched against the winds of her time all of her life?

Although the President had answered her with No, her tenacity led her to holding on and in the year of 1881, the dream became reality.  In fact, the dream fulfilled surpassed her desires.   The Volunteer, Ms. Clara Barton, was elected the first president of the organization!

April 12, 1912, and it was spring in the State where she lived. The Volunteer had turned ninety years of age.  She probably sat in a rocking chair and thought about her life as she rocked along.

Can’t you see the smile on her face as she sat there thinking about the walk, which lay behind her?

Can’t you see her nodding in approval at the hardship she had endured?

Can’t you see her as she stood up and began to check off the checklist of her life?

  • The first assassination of a president – Yes, I lived through it, in fact, I was in Washington D. C. when it happened.
  • Discrimination – Yes, she thought, with a smile on her face. Mr. James Buchanan, eliminated my job, but he didn’t succeed, because I returned.
  • Active duty as a nurse on a real battlefield – Yes!  Had not a bullet went through the sleeve of my dress and killed a man I was nursing?
  • Had not the men called me the Angel on the Battlefield?  Yes!
  • Travelling abroad – Yes – she thought. I have traveled on foreign battlefields and helped out wherever I could help, and she turned and looked at the Golden Cross given to her by Baden, Baden, Germany and the Iron Cross of Germany, which was presented to her by the Prussian Government.
  • Schoolteacher and the founder of the first free education school in New Jersey – Yes, if it had not been for my bravery free education would not exist!

Can’t you see her as she pondered over her crowning moment? As she looked at her child, born out of perseverance and tenacity?

  • Successfully pushed through and founded the American Red Cross – Yes! By golly, I did it! Yes!

The Volunteer smiled as she looked back, knowing, it was finished. Her time had come.  So, like the Phoenix she was, she spread her wings; raised her head to look towards the heavens and got ready to walk on.

Can’t you see her people?

This lady of Valor,

Who had given her entire life to serving others;

Whom a European government had honored, for her outstanding work on the battlefields;

Who had been called the Battlefield angel;

Stood up with a smile on her face and looked towards the heaven, and her spirit began to soar, wings stretched wide, she Walked On!

Ms. Clara Barton, the founder and mother of the American Red Cross, of the United States of America, walked on!  She walked on, people, I say, she Walked On!

Walk On, I say, Walk On.

The essence of life is not based on what you were born as, it is based on your willingness to stand up and rise out of the ashes and become the Phoenix you were meant to be.[3]

Walk On, I say, Walk On!

If I can help somebody, as I pass along,

Then my living shall not be in vain.[4]

01 Walk On  


Pat Garcia

Research Materials:







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[3] Quote- Pat Garcia, from her journal, Quiet Times.

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  1. A continuation of a great series. I look forward to these. Thanks.


    • Thank you. You cannot imagine how your comments encourage me. There are times, when researching, that I ask myself is this really necessary. Each time I think that way, I think about people like you who come back with a comment of encouragement, and the comment swipe away my question of why. So, thank you. Your faithfulness and loyalty in reading this blog drives me to doing my very best, and it is highly appreciated.
      Have a great start in the new school year.


      • Im glad the comments help you. I really do think you could put these together and sell a history book.
        Thanks for the school wish.


  2. rtd14

    Very well written! Volunteerism is more than just stepping up to the plate. Many do not realize it requires a passion. When I was not working last year, I volunteered to cook meals to new mothers in our groups who had just given birth. Many other women did this. They took the time to fix meals for a new mother. It is a small thing, but it made a big difference. Great post!


    • I am so glad to hear that, and you are so correct, volunteerism is more than just stepping up to the plate. Many people do not realize how important it is, when we reach out to help others and really be of assistance to them. Today, many think giving two or five dollars is enough, and they have done their part. But that is not enough. What you and a few other women did for those new mothers was more than any money could buy. This one small jesture took a load of weight off of new mothers’ shoulders. It helped them to relax and breathe easier. It was not only cooking the meals, it was also the time that you took, time that you may have wanted to use for something else, but you took the time and you prepared their meals with love. That was a Clara Barton act, because that was what Barton was all about. She helped others, even at her own expense. Thank you so much for sharing this. It warms my heart to know there are women out there reaching out to other women in love.


  3. Raani York

    You know, Patricia, I’m getting more and more “speechless” about those articles. I many ways they not only make me humble and pensive, they also impress and inspire me in many many ways.
    Compared to your blog posts I’m feeling like a “peanut writer”… it seems like you’re bringing on the serious subjects and I’m all giggles and laughters…
    I’m so emotionally touched by your kind of writing and the people you write about!!
    Sooooo well done!!!


    • My Dear Ranni,
      I am so thankful for your humorous and witty articles. They are never peanuts for me. I need humour in my life and your articles provide that humour. I cannot tell you how many times I have been stuck in what I am going through right now, and Jake the Cat Prince has come across my screen in a notification statement. I usually stop what I am doing, and take a ten minute coffee break, and get me a fresh coffee, and read about Jake!!! And that is the truth. Somewhere between the pictures and his storytelling, I start to laughing and say to my iPad, Jake you are a sweetie. So don’t you ever feel like you are a peanut writer, because you are not. The world needs writers who have the gift of being able to make other people laugh. You do it wonderfully!
      As to my own posts, this series, The Champions Who Walked Among Us, comes at a very opportune time for me. I am facing some heavy obstacles, one of them being making people aware of me as a writer, getting them to read my blogs etc because I am not living in the United States, or the United Kingdom. There are times when I feel like the Lone Ranger over here in Germany, all by myself. There are other obstacles as well, but what I am trying to say is that Jake makes my day lighter. Reading your gossip column makes my day lighter also. Many of the people you write about, I have never heard of because I don’t get the American news over here in Germany. They concentrate on their on actors and actresses. So, reading your gossip column keeps me informed and I am very thankful for it.
      So, it is a pleasure for me every time I see an article from you. Believe me when I say, you are a treasure in my life.
      Love you, Raani.


  4. Patricia,
    This is another great piece, and I learned many things about Clara Barton that I did not know.


    • Ellen,
      Thank you so much. I treasure your opinion greatly. Clara Barton was indeed a wonderful woman, and I have learned much about her during my research that has helped me today. The woman had perserverance, faith to step out and do things that others would not have dared to do,regardless of whether they were women or men. When I think of the hard work she had establishing the first free school of education in New Jersey, that she used some of her own money to do it, that she worked for no pay, only to have the state of New Jersey to get involved, after it had become a successs and put a man before her as administrator, who also received a salary, I can only say, she was a magnificent Lady! She opened up highways that many women are travelling down today. If it had not been for her tenacity, some of us would not be enjoying the freedom to work as administrators or whatever. Barton was definitely a trailblazer.


  5. Love it, Patricia! It is so hard to imagine our world without the Red Cross. A trusted organization and the first on the scene of tragedy. What an incredible legacy to an amazing woman. Thanks for today’s inspiration. 🙂


    • She was truly amazing! As I began to research her life, I was astounded at her childhood, at the struggles she went through and how she mastered them. This woman was told no when she wanted to start the American Red Cross in the United States. The President of the United States told her No, but did she give up? She kept going, kept asking until she got the answer she wanted to hear, and I, like so many other Americans, are glad she did. She had perseverance, tenacity, and the willingness to do whatever was necessary to get the job done. She was truly a great woman and not many of us know that. That is a pity.
      Thank you so much for following my blog. I love this series. It gives me strength to face my own battles.
      Love you, Peggi.


  6. This was another of your usual extraordinary Champion stories that I have grown to look forward to each month. This one took me by suprise because I had never read that Clara Barton was a gifted child. Beyond that she was truly one of the remarkable women of the world–how I wish I could have accomplished what she did in times harder than the present day. Thanks for an enlightening story written in your unique and captivating style.

    Love, Micki


    • Good morning MIcki,
      Thank you. Your words are praise always go deep within my heart. Yes, Clara Barton was an unusual child. As I researched her life, I was astounded at all this woman accomplished. She lived until she was ninety years old, which, in my opinion, is a tribute not only to her faithfulness but also in her willingness to be used to do those things that many women, either could not or refused to do. She remained unmarried and had no children, but she had a fulfilled life.
      How wonderful! I learned much from her.
      I wish you a beautiful day, my dear.


  7. laurie27wsmith

    Thank you Patricia, what a woman she was. i don’t think many would have stood up to her in later years. A woman with grit and brve to boot, thanks for the experience.


  8. What a special mission and calling you have, dear Patricia. There is something so encouraging , that stirs us and keeps our feet to the path, in each of your Champion stories. It is how you present it to us. You are a gift and a light of His for us, to help us through whatever hardship we each face!
    God bless you and keep you as you continue to write and walk with Him!


  9. Raani York

    I have nominated you for the Super Sweet Blogging Award. Check out my latest post and follow the rules.


    I think you really deserve it!!! Your blog is so special in so many ways!!


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