During its upcoming centennial celebration, the American Red Cross of Central and Northern Missouri will revisit its history — which dates back to the Civil War — while rededicating itself to helping "Anytime, Anywhere, Anyone."
That's the theme for the organization's 2017 centennial year celebration, which it kicked off the day before Thanksgiving.
"It's an exciting time for us, and we welcome the public's input with memorabilia, keepsakes, newspaper articles, anything Red Cross," said Dave Griffith, executive director of the Red Cross chapter.
He urged the public to drop off such items to the Red Cross at 431 E. McCarty St. in Jefferson City. They will be on loan to the Red Cross throughout 2017 and will be returned to their owners at the end of the year.
Carlos Graham, chairman of the local Red Cross chapter's board of directors, said: "Just think about it for a moment. 100 years. 100 years. A lot of things have happened in that 100-year period. But one thing has stayed the same, and that is the purpose of the American Red Cross."
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Planned events include a chapter-wide (29-county) art contest, fashion show in February, annual Heroes Dinner in March, Light up the Capitol Red (unconfirmed) in April and 100th anniversary golf tournament May 19 at Oak Hills Golf Center.
In May, the art contest winners will be announced, and in June, all of the entries will be displayed at various locations, including the Capitol Rotunda, Rozier Gallery, City Hall and local hospitals.
Griffith said the impetus for the Red Cross came during the Civil War when Clara Barton saw wounded soldiers for both sides who were not being treated on the battlefield. Griffith said she and a cadre of nurses worked with commanders on both the Union and Confederate sides of the war to get the injured soldiers off the battlefields and get them treatment.
Twenty years later, in 1881, Barton officially formed the Red Cross. The Red Cross is not a federal agency and doesn't regularly receive federal funding. It is a United Way Agency that also operates on donations and volunteers.
The Red Cross of Central and Northern Missouri, which covers 29 counties including Cole, has 502 registered volunteers.
Mark Schreiber, co-chairman of the centennial committee, said the Red Cross, both on and off battlefields, will "absolutely help anyone and serve anyone in need. And that's the wonderful thing about the organization. And let's hope we can continue for another 100 years and another 100 years after that."