Red Cross service runs in the family

Jennifer Pennington Title: Executive director of the American Red Cross of Augusta Family: Husband Bart and 18-month-old daughter Jane

Jennifer Pennington's family has been involved with the American Red Cross for three generations.


A grandparent was in the American Red Cross national aquatic school in 1947.

Her mother worked with the Red Cross in Atlanta until she retired.

And she is the new executive director of the American Red Cross of Augusta. She began Feb. 1.

"It's definitely in my blood," she said.

Pennington isn't new to Augusta, either. She and her family moved to the area when she was 2 and lived here until she was in fifth grade, she said.

"It's the place we called home for several years," she said.

Pennington began her work with the Red Cross in Atlanta at 15, when she went through its lifeguard training course. She taught swimming in the summer during high school.

"In college, I became a first responder for the Olympics. That was a lot of fun," she said. "I volunteered at all of the soccer games, which were held in Athens, Ga."

After graduating from the University of Georgia with a degree in sociology, she continued her work with the East Georgia Chapter of the American Red Cross and became its director of health and safety services and later its executive director.

"I think that if you talk to most volunteers with the Red Cross, once you start volunteering, it becomes like a family," she said. "It's very hard to leave because there are so many wonderful people involved with the Red Cross."

As the new executive director of the Augusta chapter, she has a few goals in mind.

"We are always looking to increase the number of trained volunteers that we have," she said. "We are always striving to be more prepared for any type of disaster that might occur.

"Right now, our volunteers are there on the scene within two hours, but we always want to make sure that we can get there as quickly as possible.

"Of course, we'll continue to fund-raise. The need is always there. We also want to increase the number of people that take our safety training courses and continue to provide quality service to our military."

She is also looking forward to getting involved in the community, she said.

In Athens she was a member of several organizations, including the Women in Business Council, Athens Rotary Club and the Junior League of Athens.

"I like to stay involved in the community and give back in every way I can," she said.