First Goal Attained; But the Work Never Ends

(Looking back 100 years at the Stark and Muskingum Lakes Chapter)

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross Volunteer

As the nation prepared to celebrate Independence Day, Tuscarawas County was celebrating the formation of their new Red Cross Chapter.  Organized at the beginning of July 1917, the chapter’s initial goal was to raise $30,000 locally.

By this time, the national goal of reaching $100-million had already been attained, but as Red Cross State Secretary D.C. Daugherty explained, “The needs of the Red Cross in doing its great work of mercy are so enormous that every dollar given, no matter how much over the stipulated amount asked, can be used advantageously in its humanitarian mission of relief and succor to suffering humanity, whether its distress be from war, pestilence, famine, flood or fire or any other form of disaster.”

During war time, Daugherty explained that the Red Cross was responsible for maintaining hospitals at the front, base hospitals, convalescent hospitals, as well as hospital ships and hospital trains. In addition, the Red Cross assists Y.M.C.A. recreation camps, extends relief to soldiers’ dependents, and aids the thousands of homeless and helpless victims of war.

Understanding that not only would people abroad be helped, but also the Red Cross would be there for the hometown boys from New Philadelphia, the newly formed chapter was eager to begin doing what it could.  Typical for the time, men formed committees to raise cash donations, and the women began sewing projects to provide hospital supplies.

A workroom was opened in Eagle Hall, above the New Philadelphia City Council offices, for the volunteer women workers. Open four days a week from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., the workroom was equipped with sewing machines, tables and chairs. Women were told to bring their own scissors, and they began making hospital supplies and articles of comfort for the soldiers.

Not unlike today, con artists must have been a problem for these early volunteer organizations as well.

On July 3, 1917 a statement was issued in the Daily Times of New Philadelphia, from the national headquarters of the American Red Cross, denouncing the use of chain letters and similar methods of raising money. Members and friends of the Red Cross were urged to neither donate nor assist those fostering such schemes.

Today, you can rest assured that donations made to the Red Cross are well spent. In addition, did you know that the Red Cross now also accepts used automobiles as donations? Learn more at https://neoredcross.org/donate/.

Red Cross Workers

Typical Red Cross workroom during WWI – photo courtesy of CTDA

 

 

Angel of the Battlefield: Celebrating Ordinary People that do Extraordinary Things

Everyday heroes are ordinary people that do extraordinary things. Clara Barton was an ordinary person whose ideas and passions for others made her the “Angel of the Battlefield”, a hero in the American Civil War.

Clara Barton - US Patent Office

US Patent Office

Born in Massachusetts on Christmas Day, Clara grew up enjoying the wonders of the world. As a child she tended to her brother, David after a farm accident where he fell from the rafters. At 15, she became a teacher and opened a free public school in New Jersey. Throughout the 1850’s she worked for the United States Patent Office in Washington, D.C.

Following the first battle of Bull Run in 1861, Clara provided immediate assistance to federal troops, despite the social mores of the time, which said that the battlefield was no place for a woman. She provided clothing, food, and supplies to the ill and wounded she also read to the troops wrote letters fro them, and listened to their problems.

Matthew Brady Portrait of Clara Barton

Portrait of Clara Barton

In August of 1862, she appeared at a field hospital in Cedar Mountain, in northern Virginia at midnight with a wagon-load of supplies drawn by a four-mule team. Her assistance left the surgeon on duty in awe. The surgeon later wrote, “I thought that night if heaven ever sent out a[n]… angel, she must be one – her assistance was so timely.”

From that time on, Clara became known as the Angel of the Battlefield as she assisted troops in the Battlefield of Fairfax, Chantilly, Harpers Ferry, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Charleston, Petersburg and Cold Harbor.

The Red Cross shares stories of everyday heroism to inspire other people to act with generosity. The Red Cross of Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties Chapter will present its 2015 Acts of Courage event recognizing ordinary people that perform extraordinary acts to save a life, on March 5 at the Akron/Fairlawn Hilton.

Red Cross is currently calling for heroes to be recognized at the Stark and Muskingum Lakes Chapter event in April and the Lake to River Chapter event in June.

To be considered for the Stark and Muskingum Lakes Chapter Hometown Heroes award, nominees must reside or be employed in Carroll, Harrison and Tuscarawas County. The Heroic event must have occurred in 2014, but may have taken place outside of Carroll, Harrison and Tuscarawas Counties. Click here to access the online nomination form.

Nominees residing or working in Ashtabula, Trumbull, Mahoning, Columbiana or Jefferson Counties may submit a nomination for the Lake to River Chapter Acts of Courage Event. The heroic must have occurred between January 1, 2014 and April 30, 2015. To download the nomination form, visit the Lake to River Chapter event page.