EDGERTON - Betty Huisken has been giving back to the Edgerton community for 45 years and counting.

It all started because her husband, Fred, was working as an EMT. Huisken noticed a need medical services had for blood.

“You can’t manufacture blood,” she said. “It has to come from people.”

So, Huisken signed up to help coordinate the Red Cross Bloodmobile. Each time the community has a blood drive, it’s Huisken’s job to find roughly five volunteers to draw blood and at least 75 donors.

Huisken recruits donors from a Red Cross list of past donors, by placing ads in newspapers and church bulletins, through social media and by word of mouth. She said the Edgerton community has “many faithful donors” who participate in every blood drive.

In addition to her 45 years of service to the Red Cross, Huisken has devoted the last 20 years to the Edgerton Area Chamber of Commerce, where she currently serves as the secretary/treasurer. She shoulders a hefty responsibility with the Chamber, as she recruits volunteers to help with the community’s annual Dutch Festival, the spring rummage sale and other local events.

Huisken first got involved in the Chamber when she and her husband owned and operated Huisken Market. When they retired, Huisken continued at the Chamber to stay busy and involved in the community.

Besides her participation in community organizations, Huisken also volunteers her time and efforts with her local church congregation. She belongs to the First Christian Reformed Church, which keeps her active in serving others.

What keeps Huisken going is the personal connection she feels to the people she helps.

She shared a service opportunity that has been particularly meaningful in her life. Thirty-nine years ago Feb. 5, Huisken and her husband went to the airport to pick up a family of nine Laotian refugees. Huisken’s church was financially sponsoring the family’s immigration, and she and her husband had volunteered to work with the family personally to get them settled in their new home.

Since that time, Huisken says the family “has become family” to her. She has watched the children be accepted by their peers, grow up in the community and earn college degrees.

For her devotion to her community, Huisken was been recognized with the community service award from the Chamber of Commerce in December 2018.