If Ever There Was a Time, It Is Now

By Sue Wilson, American Red Cross Board Member and Community Volunteer Leader

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A Kenya Red Cross volunteer leads the way through flood waters after torrential rains this year.
More than 210,000 people have so far been forced to flee their homes. Red Cross teams are
providing emergency relief, including health services and shelter, even as rising flood waters
continue to wreak havoc. Photo: Kenyan Red Cross

May 8 is World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is the world’s largest humanitarian network. It is neutral and impartial and provides protection and assistance to people affected by disasters and conflicts…and it sure seems that one day isn’t enough to reflect on these organizations and the services most of us take for granted.

Most Americans know that in times of crisis, the Red Cross is there. We know, inherently, that we will see them and their dedicated volunteers right alongside brave first responders in the midst of it all – from an international humanitarian crisis to a natural disaster, or closer to home, if we or our neighbors are affected by an emergency, such as a home fire.

“The International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement has a presence in 190 countries, including the United States,” said Jessica Tischler, Director of International Services for the Red Cross Northeast Ohio Region.  “That allows Red Cross Chapters to reconnect people with their families when they are separated by armed conflict, natural disasters, and other crises through our Restoring Family Links service.”

IRCRC

Many people feel we are living in troubled times. They may feel that we, as a nation and a world, are more divided than ever. Interestingly, however, it seems that In the midst of a crisis, people tend to pull together for the greater good. As I read the mission of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and their seven fundamental principles, I can’t help but think, ‘‘Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could all set aside our differences and live within these guidelines in our everyday lives?’’

The principles are:

  1. Humanity
  2.  Impartiality
  3.  Neutrality
  4.  Independence
  5.  Voluntary Service
  6.  Unity
  7.  Universality

These principles are the result of a century of experience. Proclaimed in Vienna in 1965, they bond together the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. If ever there was a time to put these ‘golden rules’  into action in our world, our nation, and our communities – it is now.

Happy World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day! I’m proud to play even a small role in this wonderful organization.  Here are some incredible photos to honor the day.  For more information, please visit redcross.org.

 

 

The Meaning of the Season

By Sue Wilson Cordle, Volunteer Leader and Board Member

Holiday music is everywhere. Some radio stations go “all-Christmas” music 24-7 even before Thanksgiving, and we hear it in every store, business and TV commercial. While most of us love the fun songs–Jingle Bells, Santa Claus is Coming To Town or Winter Wonderland...there are a few songs that make me feel especially sentimental, almost sad-because I think of the expectation of “joy” so many have for the season. As I reflect on “Chestnuts Roasting” or the hope that “I’ll be home for Christmas “(if only in my dreams), I think of the men and women in the military far from home, the infirm, or those displaced by one of the many natural disasters that occurred this year, from the wildfires to the  hurricanes; and sadly, the many human-made tragedies, too. So many are suffering from something.

This Christmas Eve, while many are celebrating with family and friends, I’m thinking of the amazing organization I’ve had the good fortune to be involved with: The Red Cross. As a board member, I’m more of an observer to the work done, and am thinking that those words of hope in those Christmas songs are fundamental principles of the global Red Cross Network. The 7 Tenants of this incredible organization completely mirror those wishes. They are:main-fundamental-principles

  1. Humanity: The Red Cross, born of a desire to bring assistance without discrimination to the wounded on the battlefield, endeavors—in its international and national capacity—to prevent and alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found. Its purpose is to protect life and health and to ensure respect for the human being. It promotes mutual understanding, friendship, cooperation and lasting peace among all peoples.
  2. Impartiality: It makes no discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. It endeavors to relieve the suffering of individuals, being guided solely by their needs, and to give priority to the most urgent cases of distress.
  3. Neutrality: In order to continue to enjoy the confidence of all, the Red Cross may not take sides in hostilities or engage at any time in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.
  4. Independence: The Red Cross is independent. The national societies, while auxiliaries in the humanitarian services of their governments and subject to the laws of their respective countries, must always maintain their autonomy so that they may be able at all times to act in accordance with Red Cross principles.
  5. Voluntary Service:The Red Cross is a voluntary relief movement not prompted in any manner by desire for gain.
  6. Unity: There can be only one Red Cross society in any one country. It must be open to all. It must carry on its humanitarian work throughout its territory.
  7. Universality: The Red Cross is a worldwide institution in which all societies have equal status and share equal responsibilities and duties in helping each other.

Wow…what great principles to live by. What if before we posted on social media, we considered these 7 tenants. What wonderful principles to reflect not only THIS season…but ANY season!

You can support this worthy organization’s mission by making a  year-end, tax-deductible gift to the Red Cross today.