STORY BY DANIEL SAENZ
On both March 5th and 6th, American Red Cross hosted a blood drive here at Fort Hays State University. The Red Cross, founded by Clara Barton on May 21, 1881, received its first congressional charter in 1900. It started its first blood program in the early 1900s. In 1941, the Red Cross started National Blood Donor Service to collect blood for the military. However, the program was ended in 1945 with the end of the war.
The launching of American Red Cross was inspired by the already existing swiss-created International Red Cross when Clara Barton was visiting Europe after the civil war had ended. Upon her return to the United States, Barton lobbied for the establishment of an American Red Cross at the Geneva Convention protecting those injured in war. Shortly after, the United States ratified it in 1882.
By 1948, The Red Cross started its first nationwide blood program for ordinary citizens with the opening of a collection center in Rochester, New York. In 1970, Red Cross moved to an all-volunteer blood donor system. Because of the outbreak of HIV in the 1980s, Red Cross established a set procedure for testing blood for infections in 1985. Since then, Red Cross has become increasingly proactive across the nation and has blood banks just about everywhere. The process is typically straightforward.
Donators sign up, have their health histories checked, and then donate. What happens to their blood afterwards? The blood is then sent to a blood bank which is later sent to hospitals. Red Cross has greatly expanded since the days of World War II and their subsequent rebirth. The organization has greatly expanded not just around the country, but also across the world as there are several chapters across every continent, especially in war-torn countries such as Sudan, Syria, and the Congo. In addition to this, Red Cross now works with federal agencies such as FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). Whenever a natural disaster strikes or an armed conflict going on, Red Cross is always there, providing both physical and emotional relief.
How did American Red Cross blood drives end here on campus? Alpha Kappa Psi and the Co-Ed Fraternity helped to organize it with The American Red Cross Club here on campus. This was done because all of these organizations believe in one certain core value: service. Because there are so many people in both the country and the world that need this blood, those of us who are able to in the Hays community should consider engaging in this act of civil service.