The American Red Cross, Southern Nevada Chapter's origins were humble in terms of numbers, but very heartfelt in the area of community service. In June 1917, we came to the life through the volunteer efforts of a small group of women who knitted sweaters, socks and caps, rolled bandages and worked in a local hospital to help those in need.
After World War I, the local Red Cross chapter and the Las Vegas Valley community provided assistance to victims of disasters in the United States and around the globe, especially the great earthquake in Japan in the early 1920s.
The depression era, from 1929 to 1934, was a time of challenge and triumph for the local Red Cross. The small chapter worked to assist the hundreds of people who came to Las Vegas with the hope of working on the Boulder Dam. However, some of these job-seekers were left without work, shelter and food since there was more than enough labor for the project. To help these individuals get back on their feet and find employment, the Red Cross provided temporary housing, meals and gasoline.
The depression era also brought change for the chapter. That is, the organization was chartered under a new name "American Red Cross, Clark County Chapter" in 1932.
With the advent of World War II, the Clark County Chapter took on another traditional Red Cross activity – assistance to military service personnel and their families. The local Red Cross provided housing and entertainment and helped service members' wives, children, relatives and friends who came to Las Vegas to see and support their loved ones in the armed forces. Many of these travelers arrived penniless, having spent all of their money on transportation. Others had means to survive, but could not locate their loved ones. The Clark County Chapter arranged for temporary shelter, food and clothing and assisted in the search for service members. Local volunteers aided in these efforts in response to the chapter's call for help.
In 1943, the chapter found its first "home" to be exclusively utilized for Red Cross services at 212 Mesquite Avenue. This property was leased from the City of Las Vegas for $1.00 a year. In 1977, the chapter relocated to 1819 E. Charleston Blvd. From October 1995 until September 1997, the organization operated from two sites: the East Charleston location was the "base" for emergency services and the 1155 E. Sahara Ave. office was the location for health and safety training and administration. During September 1997, the chapter closed the Charleston office and all operations were maintained from the East Sahara location. In July 1998, the chapter moved once more, this time to 1330 E. Karen Ave.
In 1994, the chapter was re charted under new policies established by the national American Red Cross Board of Governors. The guiding principle behind the policies was a renewed commitment to compassionately and effectively carry out Red Cross work to serve communities, at the local level, in the nation and around the world. With that principle in mind, the chapter was quick to assist those in danger from the 1982 MGM fire, the 1989 Pepcon explosion and the 1999 Clark County flood. On the national level, local Red Cross workers and volunteers helped Californians at Disaster Welfare Inquiry (DWI) centers after the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. Also, the chapter assisted people on the East Coast after Hurricanes Opal and Marilyn struck in 1995.
On January 1, 2001 the Clark County Chapter was renamed the "American Red Cross, Southern Nevada Chapter" to reflect the fact that the organization served areas throughout Southern Nevada.
To facilitate the growth of the Southern Nevada Chapter, it relocated to a larger building at 3672 N. Rancho Drive on May 11, 2001. The chapter remained at the North Rancho location until January 31, 2005, when the organization's headquarters was relocated to 1771 E. Flamingo Road, Suite 206 B.
Chapter officials embraced the move as a positive one for a number of reasons including the fact that chapter staff and the staff of the American Red Cross, Western Service Center could more readily share information and get to know each other as their offices are now alongside each other. Also, the location is in central Las Vegas making for quicker access to clients and partners.
The Southern Nevada Chapter is responsible for the following areas: Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, Laughlin, Sandy Valley, Indian Springs, Good Springs, Overton, Logandale, Moapa, Mesquite, Lincoln, Nye, and Esmeralda Counties.