American Red Cross celebrates 100 years in Nebraska

Posted by: Abigail Wood

The executive director of the local American Red Cross chapter, Loren Knauss, showed me around in honor of their 100th birthday in Nebraska.

Their archives are extensive, and document all 100 years of the Red Cross in our state. Knauss pulled out some old news reels, a collection of buttons, and actual Red Cross uniforms from the 40s and 50s, before walking to the modern part of the building.

They’re working on a new disaster relief headquarters downstairs.

"This would be where the Red Cross in the Lincoln area would do their operations," Knauss explained, pointing to processing stations and enormous screens mounted on the walls. "It’s kind of the command and control area, if you will."

Then he shows me past blood drive stations, the volunteer headquarters, and into a room with first aid supplies. In addition to disaster relief, the local Red Cross devotes a majority of it’s time providing first aid to around 400 events every year, including Husker football games and concerts at the Pinnacle Bank Arena.

And they say they’re always looking for help, whatever your skill set.

"We make you a volunteer and then we train you," Knauss said. "So we put you through the training and it’s free of charge."

I spoke with one volunteer, Ted Lannan, who has worked with first aid response for awhile now. He told me the work is very rewarding.

"I have the pride of saying there was someone in a life-threatening situation and I was able to help them," he said.

Governor Pete Ricketts signed a proclamation in the capitol today, declaring March "Red Cross Month" in Nebraska.

"So the Red Cross and all their volunteers do a great job of taking care of the people in our community," he said.

The governor and first lady have a Nebraska Impact initiative where they’re asking people to volunteer 150 hours in honor of the sesquicentennial. The Red Cross says they’re happy to help you do that.