PENNELLVILLE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Amanda Gilmore discovered early on in her life that there’s no greater satisfaction than the satisfaction that comes with volunteering. A huge animal lover who rescues rabbits, Gilmore grew up in the small Oswego County hamlet of Pennellville, volunteering at both her church and Phoenix High School. That spirit of giving flourished at Carrier Corporation in DeWitt, where she found an atmosphere of support and encouragement for what was becoming her number one passion.
“Carrier supports many local events in the community and I think I got much more involved in volunteering after I started working there,” says Gilmore.
Among her favorite causes is Team RWB or Red, White and Blue. The nonprofit’s mission is to enrich the lives of veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity. Gilmore does that every Sunday morning, by organizing a run for veterans and supporters behind Mexico High School. She leads the run and provides water, snacks, American flag stickers and prizes for the team.
Marine Corps veteran Teresa Mech started the Sunday run four years ago. When life circumstances changed and Mech needed to give up the role as organizer, she immediately knew the right woman for the job.
“I needed somebody else to lead this particular event and my first choice to the Chapter Captain was Amanda,” says Mech. “She just has such a personality about her. She is bubbly, she’s always smiling and she loves people.”
Gilmore enjoys sharing her passion for running with veterans, convinced it can impact them in the same positive way it impacts her.
“It really helps my mental clarity and resets me for the day. That is what I’m hoping to give back to veterans. It helped with depression and anxiety. If it can help me. I would love to be able to give it back,” says Gilmore.
Gilmore gives back to the community in many other ways. She also organizes a weekly lunch break run with her co-workers at Carrier, for what they call Wear Eagle Wednesday.
“We all come out, wearing our shirts. We run together and it helps. People ask questions because of what’s on the back of our shirts, and we start a conversation with people that are veterans or active duty,” says Gilmore.
Gilmore is also a top walker for the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk.
“We have over 3,500 walkers and a top walker raises more than $1,000. So she is fundraising two to three months prior to the Heart Walk. She comes up with a whole bunch of different ideas. She loves bunnies and she uses images of her bunnies to promote the Heart Walk,” says Heart Walk director Denise McGraw.
“I know she’s very busy in her work environment, so it’s impressive with all of her volunteerism and all of the work she’s doing with other organizations. She has a passion for life and I think that just shines through. She’s a light,” says McGraw.
There have been dark days for Gilmore too. In October of 2018, Gilmore was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“It definitely opens your eyes and makes you realize that life can be short. You have no idea, what’s going to come your way,” says Gilmore.
The cancer was caught early. After a lumpectomy in November 2018, and radiation, Gilmore is now cancer free. She also now runs to raise money and awareness for the American Cancer Society.
“She’s been through some rough times,” says Mech. “But through everything she’s been through, she’s remained positve and she always has a smile on her face. She just loves life.”
“I don’t do these things to get recognized,” says Gilmore. “I do these things because they’re important to me. They make me feel really good. I’m doing something for somebody else, so I definitely feel like, there are many more remarkable women out there. I’m flattered. But, if I can get the word out about heart disease and prevention, raise awareness about our veterans and breast cancer, then so be it.”