Aberdeen city officials declare March “Red Cross Month”

Aberdeen’s city leadership took time out of Wednesday night’s city council meeting to declare this March Red Cross Month. The declaration pays respect to the American Red Cross’ volunteerism and humanitarian efforts.

Since 1943, the U.S. president has declared the month of March, throughout the United States, as Red Cross Month, according to the American Red Cross. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the first to make the declaration.

The annual declaration gives an “opportunity to honor and celebrate the everyday heroes who help” the Red Cross fulfill its mission, according to the nonprofit’s website.

Aberdeen Mayor Pete Schave asked Ruth Clemens, Aberdeen’s city administrator, to read the 306-word proclamation.

What follows, however, are the connections to Aberdeen that Clemens mentioned, as well as a little bit about the services the American Red Cross provides.

“In times of crisis, people in Aberdeen come together to take care for one another,” Clemens read. “The humanitarian spirit is part of the foundation of our community and is exemplified by American Red Cross volunteers and donors.”

Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross on May 21, 1881. Barton “turned her steadfast dedication for helping others into a bold mission” to prevent and alleviate people’s suffering, according to Clemens.

“Today, more than 140 years later, we honor the kindness and generosity of Red Cross volunteers here in Aberdeen, who continue to carry out Clara’s lifesaving legacy,” Clemens read. “They join the millions of people across the United States who volunteer, give blood, donate financially or learn vital life-preserving skills through the Red Cross.”

Given the lengthy proclamation of American Red Cross services — including international humanitarian aid — that Clemens read in the council chambers, it’s clear there isn’t much the American Red Cross doesn’t do.

Those services include emergency shelter, food and comfort for families “devastated” by local disasters, blood donations, help for surgery and transplant patients, help for people sick with cancer and other serious diseases.

The American Red Cross also provides assistance to armed services members and veterans, plus their families, through “the unique challenges of military life,” Clemens read.

“Their work to prevent and alleviate human suffering is vital to strengthening our community’s resilience,” Clemens read. “We dedicate this month of March to all those who continue to advance the noble agency of American Red Cross Founder Clara Barton, who lived by her words, ‘You must never think of anything except the need and how to meet it.’ We ask others to join in this commitment to give back in our community.”

Schave followed Clemens with a formal proclamation. What follows is a brief excerpt of his proclamation.

“Now therefore I, Pete Schave, mayor of Aberdeen by virtue of the authority vested in me by the laws of Aberdeen, Grays Harbor County and the state of Washington, do hereby proclaim March 2023 as Red Cross Month,” Schave read.

“I encourage all citizens of Aberdeen to reach out and continue to support its humanitarian mission.”