Our History - The Middle Years Of The Red Cross on Long Island

1940: Featured in LIFE magazine, Nassau County unit is considered “a model suburban chapter” in 1940 for their WWII efforts. Featured of women making gauze and clothing. Caption from LIFE. "Sewing-machine squads at local units stitch together the finished garments. This group is at work in the Locust Valley library."

1941: American Red Cross begins national blood donor services to aid wounded military servicemen.

1941: Other notable Long Islanders who helped lead the Red Cross locally included Ethel Roosevelt Derby, daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt, who volunteered during WWII. Later becoming Chairman of the Nassau chapter.

1941: “Grey Ladies” Red Cross volunteers provided non-medical care but trained in ethics, psychiatry, and occupational therapy. They could be found in game rooms, and beside hospital beds writing letters for soldiers too weak to write.

1941: First Blood Donor session in Nassau County held in Meadowbrook Hospital.

1944: Kate Davison stepped down as president to honorary chairperson.

1948: Suffolk Water safety instructor course start date and description: “The Red Cross this year was able to open an Instructors Course in which more than 20 young men and women were trained in the proper methods of teaching swimming to others.”

1948: Annex built on Old Country Road in Mineola to make room for peacetime programs.

1952: Korean War efforts on LI: Local chapters of the Red Cross helped soldiers keep contact with families back home as well as donate much needed blood.

1950: Water Safety Instruction program started for special needs children in Long Island.

1950 Rockville Centre railroad crash: “Red Cross units from as far as Sayville were dispatched to the scene and set up first aid stations and canteens where rescue workers were fed coffee and sandwiches”.

1950: Red Cross Mutual Aid Plan for Disaster Preparedness unified across all Long Island. The plan will include ambulance services, nursing services, communication and emergency shelter facilities, other emergency transportation.

1950: Nassau County sets up a ham radio to ensure communication between communities in disaster striken areas.

1951: Marcus G. Christ (Chairman 1951-1952) Appointed State Supreme Court Justice in 1953 until 1970.

1952: ‘Red Cross Sponsoring Guard Training Course’ a special course will be conducted under the auspices of the Nassau County Chapter, American Red Cross, and the Long Island State Park Commission, to teach qualified swimmers, 15 years of age or older, to handle the problems of surf swimming and to understand and use proper methods of surf rescue.

1956: Red Cross offers Home Service to care for families of men in Armed Forces.

1957: Betty Campbell joins the Nassau County Red Cross as a volunteer, followed by 23 years as a board member and chairman.

1958: Family Counseling service opens in Nassau County Red Cross chapter - primarily helping families with day-to-day living, teenage difficulties, marriage counseling, and other personal issues.

1959: Nassau county Red Cross water safety instructor held a 15 minute radio program for parents to teach their children to swim.

1960: Red Cross Month on Long Island: On March 9, 1960 Red Cross Month was officiated on Long Island.

1962:Red Cross Makes 'Voice from Home’ Records Free For Serviceman. Families of serviceman who are stationed overseas or hospitalized in the United Sates may send a recorded greeting free of charge through the Red Cross “Voice From Home” program which got under way October 17th in the Huntington Area.

1962: Safety Services in Nassau County Red Cross hold atom bomb training with staged scenarios.

1964: “German Measles” or Rubella sweeps Long Island. The Long Island Red Cross blood program offered gamma glubolin which was used as an emergency measure to check for the disease – an illness especially dangerous for expectant mothers.

1963: “Mother and Baby” care course start date: Expectant mothers could attend educational classes led by the director of nursing at the Nassau County Red Cross chapter.

1966: Junior Red Cross of Long Island begin efforts to fill stockings for Veterans, elderly, and children’s institutions around the country.

1969: Nassau County Red Cross offers training for volunteers interested in home-bound people - or those who because of age or disability are confined to their home.

1975: First Long Island Red Cross Gala.

1975: Many Vietnamese refugees fleeing their war stricken country make a home in American towns like those on Long Island with the help of the Red Cross.

1976: Red Cross International Ball held in East Norwich, NY.

1977: Red Cross heads relief efforts after Johnstown flood. Within three weeks 5,147 families applied for aid and 3 shelters housed 500 people.

1977: CPR certification start date: “Nassau County is beginning its own CPR program, using Red Cross and Heart Association trained instructors to teach county employees this important technique.”

1979: “Life Save”: “the goal of this program to get as many as 30,000 residents trained in CPR.”