(From left to right) Mr. Dennis Tharrington, Mr. John Wester, Mrs. William B. Dennis, Ms. Suzanne Bathauer, Mrs. L.W. Knott, Mrs. Albert G. Borden, and Mrs. Maria Jenkins Mills
On Thursday, October 25, a celebration honoring the 90th anniversary of the American Red Cross in Vance County was held at The Java House on Garnett Street in downtown Henderson.
By mayoral decree, October has been proclaimed Vance American Red Cross month.
For the occasion, descendants of the original founders were honored. A partial list of those descendants may be viewed here.
Rick Norwood, Director of the Vance County chapter of the American Red Cross
According to Rick Norwood, the Director of the Vance County chapter of the American Red Cross, although the Red Cross was founded by Clara Barton during the American Civil War, the period of greatest expansion of the organization came with the American entrance into World War I.
In 1917, 90% of the existing Red Cross chapters were founded as part of a home front effort to support the war.
258 people came to the first Vance meeting in 1917.
The first Vance Red Cross group met to roll bandages that were provided by Harriet & Henderson. They also provided CARE packages to soldiers overseas.
Richard Johnson Corbitt signed the original petition to form the Vance American Red Cross chapter. His wife was the first chair of the Surgical Dressing Committee.
“I think it’s wonderful,” said Tom Peace III, whose grandfather was one of the original founders. He called the Vance chapter a “great entity”.
Susan Peace Bathauer, whose great aunts were founding members, listed all of the things that the Red Cross provides, such as CPR, first aid training for local girl scouts, and a girl scout day camp.
Toby Barfield, Executive Director of the Central North Carolina chapter of the American Red Cross
Rick Norwood’s remarks, as well as those of Toby Barfield, the Executive Director of the Central North Carolina Chapter of the American Red Cross, can be heard here.