American Red Cross & World War I History in Numbers

By PaKou Lee, Social Media Intern


A Red Cross nurse outfit is displayed along with a Foreign Service certificate and homeopathic medication kit.

I had an awesome opportunity to visit the Neville Public Museum’s exhibit: A World At War: 100th Commemoration of the Start of WWI. It was pretty cool to see the history of the Red Cross’ participation during WWI.

Check out the history facts of the Red Cross and its involvement in the war:

133rd Anniversary- This year, May 21st will mark the 133rd year of the American Red Cross, established by Clara Barton and a few of her acquaintances. After Barton’s visit to Europe and experience with the Swiss-inspired global Red Cross network, it inspired her to start an American Red Cross.

Increased local chapters & memberships- In 1914, the Red Cross had a total of 107 local chapters. Within 4 years, it increased tremendously to 3,864 local chapters because of the epidemic of the wars. Memberships also had a huge increase from 17,000 to more than 20 million adults and 11 million Junior Red Cross members.

22,800 nurses & ambulance drivers registered for WWI- The Red Cross was able to bring in 18,000 nurses and 4,800 ambulance drivers to help serve the military.

Death toll- 296 nurses and 127 ambulance drivers died while in service.

Millions of dollars donated: The Red Cross received $400 million dollars from the public for support.


Homeopathic medication kit.

To see the changes from 133 years ago to now is incredible. The posters, outfits, services and more. But one thing remains the same – the Red Cross compassionate care, focusing in five categories:

  • People affected by disasters in America
  • Support for members of the military and their families
  • Blood collection, processing and distribution
  • Health and safety education and training
  • International relief and development

Plan a visit to see the exhibit soon – it ends June 1st, 2014. Click here for more information about the Neville Public Museum.

The Importance of Nurses within the Red Cross

The American Red Cross has a long history of nurses working in multiple capacities within the organization.  Drawing blood, teaching classes, disaster relief work are all areas nurses have supported the organization over time. Here is an article on just one more program, were the talents and compassion of nurses are utilized.

Red Cross condolence program volunteers help families in need By Janice Petrella Lynch, RN, MSN

They witness firsthand the pain, suffering and despair of those who have lost everything, including their loved ones.

They are the volunteer American Red Cross nurses throughout the U.S. who visit next of kin after fatal single or mass casualties. As members of the organization’s condolence program, they may travel across country and spend weeks or months helping families in need.

Rita Grady, RN

“The greatest service that we offer is our ability to listen and hear what family members have to say,” said Red Cross Health Service Manager Rita M. Grady, RN, BN, BVE, MSHCA, who traveled from California to the New York/New Jersey region during Superstorm Sandy. “They realize that their story is being heard, and the more they tell, the better they may feel.”

Along with a nurse, a Red Cross case worker, a mental health professional and/or a chaplain are part of the integrated care team in the condolence program.

They help families in the worst of times, often in the midst of death and destruction. Some nurses have accompanied family members to identify the remains of loved ones after 9/11, and others offered family support at a Buffalo, N.Y., airplane crash site in 2009.

“Despite the extremely difficult realities, we let them know that people of the U.S. care, and that they are not alone,” Grady said.

Click HERE to read the rest of the article.

Long Serving Fond du Lac Volunteers Retire

We want to say THANK YOU to two of our longer serving volunteers from Fond du Lac who have recently retired from their volunteer work. Sherrie Wittkopf (left) has served for 15 years and Judy Bender, RN for 10 years. Thank you ladies for your service and commitment to the American Red Cross.

National Nurses Week!

National Nurses Week, May 6-12, is a time to recognize the incredible contributions nurses make to their communities and to the mission of the American Red Cross. Nursing and the Red Cross just seem to go hand-in-hand because service is at the core of what both do.

More than 20,000 nurses and student nurses are involved in paid and volunteer capacities at all levels and in all lines of business throughout the American Red Cross. These activities consist of:

  • Providing direct services: e.g. local Disaster Action Teams (DAT), Health Fairs, volunteer in military clinics and hospitals, promoting blood collection team, first aid stations.
  • Teaching and developing courses: CPR/First Aid, Automatic emergency Defibrillator(AED), Disaster Health Services, Nurse Assistant Training, Babysitting, Family Caregiving.
  • Acting in management and supervisory roles: including Chapter and Blood Services region executives.
  • Functioning in governance roles: local board member to national Board of Governors.

The Creed of the Red Cross Nurse:

I believe in the ideals of democracy and the concept of universal brotherhood. I acknowledge no barriers of country, race, class, or creed.

I believe that service to others is the obligation of mankind, that every right I claim imposes a responsibility and every possession implies duty.

I believe it is my privilege and my duty to teach others some of the knowledge and skill that I possess so that they too may know the satisfaction of competence in dealing with illness and pain.

To bring comfort to those who are in trouble, to alleviate suffering, and to conserve life is my mission.

Wherever disaster calls there, I shall go. I ask not for whom, but only where I am needed.

Under the banner of the Red Cross, symbolic of the finest instincts of man, I find fulfillment in helping to animate the spirit of kindness and mercy that embraces the world.