Cindy Anderson was 33 when she first volunteered to help set up Red Cross blood drives. She couldn't have predicted she'd be doing it for almost the next six decades.

Anderson, who lives in Northfield and turned 90 in January, has been experiencing "some minor health problems" and figures it's time to retire from a position she's held for 57 years.

She started assisting with the blood drives in 1967. She had been a pediatric nurse before the birth of her three children, who are now in their 60s.

"I guess there was that feeling of wanting to help people, as a nurse," Anderson said. "As you probably know, in blood drives many conscientious people take a little time out of their day and contribute to the blood supply, which is always needed, because blood doesn't last forever."

Her family had recently moved to Northfield when her husband took a job there. One of his coworkers' wives was involved with Red Cross blood drives and suggested that Anderson volunteer.

Originally her job was taking donors' vital statistics, like blood pressure and temperature, and recruiting nurse volunteers. The Red Cross eventually started having staff members take vitals, but Anderson continued volunteering, helping to recruit other volunteers from among her social circles and assisting in the setup of donation areas.

At first, the drives were held only a few times a year at St. Olaf and Carleton colleges. The efforts expanded, though, and eventually Anderson was helping with monthly drives at Culver's Restaurant, as well as biannual drives at Northfield's City Lights Church and FiftyNorth, an organization for people ages 50 and up. Each drive lasted about six hours.

Anderson also volunteered for 15 to 20 years with a refugee committee in Northfield that helped Vietnamese and Chinese refugees adapt to this country after the Vietnam War. And she volunteered for a Northfield organization called Housewives Alert to Pollution, which involved helping young students learn about plants' places in nature.

"I'm really environmentally aware of all the things we hear about now – climate change and food waste and that sort of thing," she said.

Anderson and her husband recently moved to an assisted living facility in Northfield. She said her health problems have slowed her down a bit — she still goes down the stairs from their third-floor home to attend events on the first floor, but takes the elevator to go back up.

"I hope to do a little more reading, I love books, and I work on crossword puzzles to keep my mind alert," she said.

She's glad she had the opportunity to pitch in all those years.

"I guess we can't change the world; we can just do our little bit, is all," she said.

To volunteer or donate blood, visit the website of the American Red Cross Minnesota and Dakotas region.