Windley recognized for 60 years of volunteer service

Published 6:22 am Saturday, January 28, 2023

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When asked why it is important to volunteer, to give back to the community in an effort to make it a better place to live, 98-year-old Ann Windley, of Aurora, answered with a question, “why not” – as if civic involvement should be a priority on everyone’s to-do list.

To say civic involvement was a priority in Windley’s life would be an understatement. She was presented with the President’s Volunteer Service Award by Rep. Dr. Greg Murphy for her volunteer service with the American Red Cross. The award requires a minimum of 4,000 hours. 

Windley was an active volunteer for the American Red Cross chapter of Northeastern North Carolina for 60 years, she said. She said volunteers were needed and she saw where she could fill a need. “It was needed,” Windley said, “I could fill a need and it just escalated from there.” 

She joked that she “accumulated quite a few hours” of volunteer service over a period of six decades.

Her years of service began in 1941 as a nurse in her hometown of Decatur, Georgia. Three-and-a-half years later, at the age of 21, Windley joined the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps as a Naval officer. She served for 11 months in the U.S. Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia. She was responsible for the care of service members who were wounded in action during World War II and needed additional care before they could be released from active duty. Most of her patients served in the Pacific while others served in Europe.

She described her time in Portsmouth as “fun.” Servicemembers were “glad” to be back in the United States. “For some of them, I was the first white woman they had seen in two years,” Windley joked. “It was a good crew there. They appreciated what we were doing.” 

At the hospital, she met her husband of 60 years, Daniel Morgan Windley of Aurora – a marine who fought in the battle of Okinawa who came to the naval hospital as a recuperating patient. 

They were married in March of 1946 just three months after they met. They built a home in Aurora and had five children, three of whom served in the military. Windley worked as a county nurse and as a school nurse for the Beaufort County school system.