Volunteer With Life-Threatening Illnesses Gives Back | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Volunteer With Life-Threatening Illnesses Gives Back

Denton County woman gets state award for volunteer efforts

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    The state of Texas is recognizing a Denton County woman who volunteers every week.

    Brenda Gormley has been awarded the first Jack Colley Award for Volunteerism.

    Gormley leads the Denton County Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT. She's on call 24/7 and volunteers up to 60 hours a week.

    "It's not just an eight-to-five job," Denton County Emergency Response Services Chief Jody Gonzales said. "She's there at night. She's there at three in the morning. She's making phone calls. She's assisting. She's out in the field."

    Gormley said her grandmother taught her to give back to the community, "that you didn't live anywhere or belong anywhere unless you were part of" it.

    "I was raised to get out there and keep going, and I will," she said.  "And the day I don't want to come here will be the day I just crawl up in bed, and I hope that day never comes."

    The government estimates only about 25 percent of Americans volunteer in their communities. Volunteers typically give up 52 hours per year to give back -- the amount of time that Gormley volunteers every week.

    "Most volunteers are never recognized," she said.

    And Gormley, who has face multiple life-threatening illnesses, beats a lot of odds to give back.

    "I had both hips replaced," she said. "I have a generic bone disease where my bones fuse together; it happens every day. I had open heart surgery -- five bypasses. And two years ago, I had thyroid cancer."