All Posts Tagged: important

Why is the Red Cross So Important?

Some of you may be wondering at the importance of the American Red Cross to society, and still others may not even give it a second thought. You know what it is, you see the red cross symbol here and there, but as far as actually knowing the importance of it, many of us don’t have a clue. Unless you have been involved in a disaster, whether it be a tornado, hurricane, flood, or even a fire, you won’t know what this great organization is actually capable of accomplishing! In fact, there are a lot of people who think that the Red Cross only collects donated blood. Far from it!

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Red Cross is Always There

Who do you think steps in when a hurricane destroys an entire town, or sets up shelters for the people who have lost their homes? Who makes sure they have medical care, food, and clothing after all is lost? It’s the dedicated volunteers of the Red Cross, giving their all in an effort to help the unfortunate people who have been affected. Volunteers descend on disaster areas by the hundreds to lend a helping hand, and they belong to one of the greatest organizations in America! In fact, you may have wanted to volunteer at rescue sites but have no idea where to go to sign up.

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Red Cross Chapters

A Red Cross chapter is more than likely located right in your home town, and you can go there to join, or at least find out how you can help in other ways. Did you know that? Well, you know it now. I have been so impressed at what the Red Cross of America has been able to do anytime they are called in to assist. Seeing these people in action is like something out of a movie! They are quick, organized, and extremely helpful no matter what they are doing. Doctors, nurses, and civilians all have a role to play, but it’s not unheard of for a surgeon to be emptying bedpans, a nurse to be offering emotional support, clergy doing everything from holding a hand to running for supplies, and civilian volunteers doing any and everything they can to help.

I remember watching “Mash” when I was younger, and admiring the camaraderie among the people of the unit. This is what the volunteers of the Red Cross remind me of. All pulling together for one cause. I think that anyone who gives freely of their time and energy like this will be met at the door to heaven and welcomed with open arms! They deserve it, don’t you think? No matter what capacity you choose to serve in, or how much or how little time you can offer, every minute is so appreciated, especially by the folks you are helping. Don’t think for a minute that no one notices what you do! You are a hero to these people who have been struck down by catastrophe, even if you don’t like to think you are.

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Consider Volunteering

Think about volunteering for the Red Cross chapter in your town. You are not going to believe the feeling of deep, inner satisfaction you are going to have once you do. Help those in need if you can, in any way you can! One day you might be the one relying on these wonderful people who give up their time for such a good cause. I certainly hope you aren’t, but it’s a good feeling to know that they are there when they are called upon to help out.

I’m sure every man, woman, and undoubtedly some children have heard of the Red Cross in America, but I wonder if everyone actually knows what that Red Cross symbolizes, or what the organization does?

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Clara Barton and the American Red Cross

Many, many years ago, a clerk in the US Patent Office by the name of Clara Barton spent her time caring for the wounded soldiers during the American Civil War. She was also a key player in locating thousands of soldiers who were classified as “missing,” and became known to all as the “Angel of the Battlefield” for her selfless and never-ending work. Once the war ended Ms. Barton had the opportunity to visit Europe and learned about a movement called the Red Cross and the Geneva Convention, a program that treated many of the wounded soldiers. It was expanded later on to include civilian war veterans and also prisoners of war.

Upon her return to America, Barton began to lobby the US government in hopes of ratifying the Geneva convention. She accomplished this goal in 1882. Before that, in 1881, Barton had founded the American Red Cross and was the leader until she retired at the age 83. Under her leadership the American Red Cross was significantly involved in disaster relief, responding to many areas that needed assistance, particularly flood, tornado, forest fire, and hurricane stricken areas. An epidemic of yellow fever was another of the causes that the Red Cross responded to. When she retired, the American Red Cross had only a few thousand widespread members, but grew exponentially over the next few years.

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U.S. Government Alliance

By forming a relationship and alliance with the US government, and by informing potential volunteers that it was considered their “patriotic duty,” membership continued to grow rapidly.  Once World War I ended the membership had swelled to well over 32 million, 11 million of those members being comprised of children and young adults. Joining the Red Cross was considered so important to the war effort that a public official in Wisconsin was tried and convicted under the Espionage Act because he considered the members to be “nothing but a bunch of grafters,” among other things. Apparently, not everyone was enamored of the newly formed American Red Cross.

In present times, offering assistance to wartime service and disaster relief remain the prime focus of the organization. The mission of the Red Cross is to educate every man, woman, and child about health and safety procedures, and to offer support for families who have military members. Blood donation is also a top priority for the Red Cross, and they hold Blood Drives in most communities a few times each year. Volunteers are urged to donate their blood and to recruit as many donors as possible so supplies never run out. Blood is one of the most important components in any disaster relief effort, and the Red Cross is determined to have the supplies remain as high as possible at any given time.

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Volunteering for the Red Cross

Working or volunteering for the Red Cross is not without its drawbacks, and at times the Red Cross has been the target of criminal acts. Several masked men shot and killed six Red Cross aides in 1996 when they were assisting in a Chechen hospital compound. Attacks of a similar nature occurred again in the 90’s and early in 2000 in Bosnia, Somalia, Burundi, and Somalia even though international law makes it illegal to target humanitarian workers. Unfortunately, the condition of this world make it an almost impossibility to guarantee the safety of the Red Cross workers in hostile countries. You can be assured, however, that people will still line up to become members and volunteers in the American Red Cross. It is an organization that continues to reach out to disaster-stricken areas, offering support and resources whenever needed.

I’m sure every man, woman, and undoubtedly some children have heard of the Red Cross in America, but I wonder if everyone actually knows what that Red Cross symbolizes, or what the organization does?

Read More