Thursday, January 12, 2017

Letter from Northeast Tennessee Executive Director, Glenda Bobalik - January 2017

Here we are in 2017!  This is an exciting year as we celebrate 100 Years of Service by the American Red Cross to the communities of Northeast Tennessee.  If you missed our All Volunteer Meeting on January 5th, please stop in when convenient and check out our historical timeline.  Jane Harris did an exceptional job developing a snapshot of our history from 1917 to today.

Across the years, our focus has remained the same:  Assisting people by preparing for, responding to or recovering from emergencies.  For example, volunteers have been in the community teaching first aid for 100 years and when the skills for CPR were added in the 1970s, courses were adapted and we continued to teach the skills that make our community safe for us all.  Today, many of our courses include an option to train online.  Our methods take advantage of the many advances that occur in our society but our focus remains the same.

History shows us disasters in the 1930s that involve volunteers from counties across Northeast Tennessee coming to the aid of their friends in Kingsport when a tornado hit.  In 2016, we saw volunteers from those same counties travelling to the aid of our neighbors in Sevier County when the wildfires struck.  Some early stories tell of volunteers riding horses to deliver assistance while today we drive on interstates in cars to deliver aid.  Methods have changed but the giving hearts and dedication of Red Cross volunteers stay the same.

During World War II, thousands of servicemen travelled by train through Northeast Tennessee stopping in Morristown, Johnson City or Bristol where they were met by smiling Red Cross volunteers operating canteens to provide food and drink.  These dedicated volunteers were at the train stations all day and through the night.  Today, we are still supporting our military population with services to active duty military, their families, and the many veterans in our communities.  Needs have changed but our commitment to those who serve remains the same.

Stop by the office and learn about our history, sign the timeline, and share your memories as well.  We have a Century of Service to celebrate along with the excitement of beginning a Second Century of Service to Northeast Tennessee.  Together, let’s tip our hats to the past and join hands as we face the promise of the future.


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