Chief for a Day: Celebrating Edythe’s 107th Birthday


Edythe Kirchmaier's 107th birthday celebration at Direct Relief headquarters in Santa Barbara. Edythe has been a Direct Relief’s volunteer for 40 years. Born January 22, 1908, Edythe’s been serving others nearly her entire life. Direct Relief's mission is to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergency situations by mobilizing and providing essential medical resources needed for their care. More information on Photo credit: Isaac Hernández for Direct Relief.

A volunteer with Direct Relief for 40 years, Edythe Kirchmaier celebrated her upcoming 107th birthday at headquarters today surrounded by her family, friends, fellow volunteers, and members of the community.

Edythe with Santa Barbara Police Chief, Cam Sanchez, who named her Honorary Police Chief for the Day. Photo by Isaac Hernandez.

Edythe turns 107 on January 22, but wanted to celebrate on a Tuesday – the day she regularly comes to the office to help write thank you letters to supporters with her fellow volunteers.

“I hope to continue coming to Direct Relief for many years to come,” Edythe told the guests.

Santa Barbara Chief of Police Cam Sanchez named Edythe “Honorary Chief of Police” for a day on behalf of the Department for being an “Outstanding Santa Barbaran” for her 40 years of service with Direct Relief as well as her clean driving record.

Additionally, Edythe learned from former Chairman of the Board Tom Cusack that when Direct Relief builds its new headquarters, there will a room dedicated to volunteer activities that will be named after her because she embodies the spirit of volunteerism.

The Santa Barbara resident garnered international attention two years ago with appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and Access Hollywood Live in which she inspired the world to make a difference by raising awareness for Direct Relief’s work improving the health and lives of people in need.

As the oldest registered Facebook user, Kirchmaier’s 105th birthday wish was to get 105,000 people to like Direct Relief’s Facebook page. She surpassed her goal and continues to raise awareness and give back to the organization.

A special thanks to Lazy Acres Market for donating Edythe’s birthday cake, the Montecito Starbucks for providing coffee, and Von’s Fairview for donating birthday balloons.

View her 107th birthday video here.

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