Red Cross Holds Centennial Celebration

CCB MEDIA PHOTO Hilary Greene, executive director of the Cape's Red Cross chapter, prepares for the organization's 100th birthday.

Hilary Greene, executive director of the Cape’s Red Cross chapter, prepares for the organization’s 100th birthday.

HYANNIS – Hilary Greene is looking for Red Cross stories.

The local Red Cross chapter is celebrating 100 years on Cape Cod this week, beginning with a birthday tomorrow and continuing with open houses during the week and road races on Thursday. Over those 100 years, there have been many stories. But the ones from the early days of the organization are the hardest to track down.

Greene, the executive director of the Cape, Islands, and Southeast Massachusetts Red Cross chapter, has been looking for people who have connections to those early years, as they work to construct the history.

The Cape’s Red Cross chapter was started by Miss Mary Ethel Young of Harwich and other ladies in her living room, who gathered together to serve people as the country was at war, Greene said. The organization was chartered as of July 14, 1915.

Among the founding members was Miss Ida Taylor, who worked at Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank for 50 years. She was the first woman vice president of a bank in all of Massachusetts.

“They did everything from setting up canteens for soldiers who might be going off to war and also supporting the communities and the families of those going off to war,” Greene said.

Many chapters were started during World War I, decades after Clara Barton began the organization in 1881. Barton, who served as a nurse during the Civil War, felt soldiers needed more than medical attention. They also needed care and comfort.

The local chapter focused on families affected by war, helping people in need, Greene said. The current mission of helping during disasters came later.

Since the chapter was chartered in 1915, it has helped thousands of people affected by local and national disasters including floods, home fires, tornadoes, and seasonal emergencies.

The Cape Cod Chapter has sent volunteers to assist during hurricanes Edna, Esther, and Katrina and responded to the events of 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombings.

The chapter offers health and safety classes and blood collection, and supports military members, their families, and veterans.

Throughout 2015 the chapter will be commemorating the past and present contributions of the Red Cross and its volunteers through a series of fundraising events and campaigns.

The Red Cross’s Birthday Bash takes place on July 11 from 9 AM to 2 PM at the chapter house.

There will be family events and children’s activities, as well as a blood Drive and CPR demonstration.

The celebration will include cake, special guest speakers, a time capsule presentation and official Red Cross resolutions and greetings. There will also be a blood drive.

Listen below as Hilary Greene, executive director of the Cape, Islands and Southeast Massachusetts Chapter of the Red Cross, talks about the local chapter’s 100th anniversary celebration.
737 West Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
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