FEBRUARY 5, 1955
NEW YORK—The annual American Red Cross drive for 1955 takes place next month, and all over the country individual chapters have been getting ready by reviewing their work and presenting reports and reporting accomplishments of the past year.
I have before me the report of the Brooklyn Chapter and it does make one feel that this organization comes very close to the lives of individual people.
True, there are many programs within the framework of the Red Cross that do not touch individual lives, but you think of them purely as general programs.
In Brooklyn, the New York Regional Red Cross blood program collected 30,474 pints of blood, of which 21,724 pints were used in Brooklyn to help more than 9,000 patients in over 40 hospitals. This was about one-third of all the blood used in Brooklyn, and this program is becoming more and more important to the hospitals and the doctors who must perform the operations in them. In addition, hundreds of units of Red Cross blood derivatives, such as gamma globulin, serum albumin and fibrinogen were received and used in Brooklyn.
Brooklyn had 8,189 uniformed volunteers who performed a great variety of services; 9,292 assignments were filled by the motor service; 1,466,442 surgical dressings and 7,862 hospital garments and linens were made by these volunteers who also worked in 132 hospitals.
These volunteers visited the Veterans Administration facilities, other military installations, health centers, mental institutions, homes for the aged, and other agencies. One of their duties, which will give an idea of the volume of work, was to feed 90,867 persons in hospitals and veterans' facilities who could not feed themselves.
In many communities the Red Cross is called upon to help individuals, and for these services the Brooklyn report mentions 20,000 volunteers who contributed almost 1,000,000 hours of their time during the past year.
One famous case was the story of Pfc. Curtiss Redd, who was the sole survivor of an air crash near Tacoma, Washington. He was very badly burned, and the Brooklyn chapter made it possible for his father to fly out and be with him. A hospital worker on the West Coast wrote: "It was felt that the father's presence had much to do with Private Redd's survival."
Another instance: a mother who had not seen her Marine Corps son nor heard from him since 1931 was reunited with him by the Brooklyn Red Cross Home Service.
These are the human-interest stories that bring the Red Cross close to human beings in every community and I am sure this report could be almost duplicated everywhere in the country.