No time to celebrate, Red Cross busy helping folks

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The American Red Cross turns 125-years-old this month, but local chapter treasurer Ginger Scott said but no birthday celebration has been planned for the Putnam County chapter because it has been so busy in recent months.

"This last fall hit the Red Cross pretty hard," Scott said in regard to damage on the Gulf Coast as a result of Hurricane Katrina, among other disasters the Red Cross responded too.

Despite little fanfare for the organization's 125th birthday, local Director Jamie Nees said it is important to recognize the Red Cross and how helpful the organization is at all levels.

"It's very important," Nees said. "The Red Cross helps so many families, not just (in or during) national disasters, but locally as well."

May 21 marks the 125th anniversary of the American Red Cross. The Putnam County chapter was chartered on July 12, 1917, 36 years after Clara Barton established the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C. Barton headed the Red Cross for 23 years. It received its first congressional charter in 1900 and a second in 1905, the year after Barton resigned.

At the national level, the Red Cross has scheduled an anniversary gala today, in Washington D.C., to recognize all national volunteers.

Scott said the Putnam County Chapter has several upcoming plans, including the continuation of classes among other various items.

"We don't have anything set in stone," she said, "but we plan on working more with Pet First Aid, Babysitting Training, CPR First Aid (with Automated External Defibrillator, AED, training)."

Nees said lifeguarding is also offered through the local chapter.

"We try to do those classes every other month," Nees said, adding the classes are generally based on local interest.

Scott said the local chapter will sponsor its annual blood drive sometime in the fall and has made plans to host a Bingo tent at the fairgrounds during the Putnam County 4-H Fair in July.

She said the chapter also has recently acquired stuffed Mickey Mouse dolls for purchase to the public. The dolls cost $10.

Scott said Walt Disney donated the dolls to the Red Cross to use as fundraisers for chapters.

In addition, with the help of Hickory Creek at Sunset and Ivy Trace Catered Living, the local red cross chapter will receive all proceeds from a Longaberger Basket Bingo, beginning at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 11, at the Tzouanakis Intermediate School cafeteria.

Scott also said all chapters nationwide are in charge of getting in touch with are military personnel overseas if there is a local emergency. All military personnel have to be verified through their local Red Cross chapter to come home for family emergencies.

Nees and Scott also said seven local Red Cross volunteers made the trip to the Gulf Coast after hurricanes ravaged the areas in the fall of 2005.

"We do have several local people trained if they need us to go again," Scott said.

There are 13 people on the local chapter's board. Ken Heeke serves as Chairman while Charles Miles is the Vice Chairman.

The Red Cross is an independent, volunteer-led organization, financially supported by voluntary public contributions and cost-reimbursement charges.

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