Vermont Women Who Served Red Cross During WWII Honored

maxine loomis

Pictured above is Maxine Loomis

Maxine’s commitment and passion for her work was cut short when, in late June 1941, aboard a ship bound for England, her life was lost as a result of a German submarine attack.

OVERSEAS WORK OF WORLD WAR II ERA RED CROSSERS RECOGNIZED

Veterans Day Weekend Poignant Time to Acknowledge Service to Red Cross and Country

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE… (Castleton and Putney, Vermont – November 8, 2013) This Sunday, November 10th, the Red Cross will honor two local World War II era Red Cross workers who gave so much for their country; one giving their life. Veterans Day seems the appropriate time to pay tribute to their war-time service. Events in Castleton, VT and Putney, VT will provide the backdrop for Red Cross leadership to re-affirm its commitment to the Armed Forces and those that support the organization’s efforts to serve the men and women in uniform.

Maxine Loomis, who was born and raised in Putney, Vermont, received training as a nurse at a Springfield, MA hospital. At age 26, she volunteered to be an American Red Cross nurse and to serve overseas at a hospital in London, England. The year was 1941 and war raged in Europe. While the United States had not yet entered the war, the American Red Cross headed to Europe in support of the organization’s humanitarian mission. Maxine’s commitment and passion for her work was cut short when, in late June 1941, aboard a ship bound for England, her life was lost as a result of a German submarine attack.

Maxine Loomis was one of six with the Red Cross, one house mother and five nurses, who lost their lives when the SS Maasdam was torpedoed. To honor her service, the American Red Cross gave the family a plaque that read:

TO MAXINE C. LOOMIS

IN HONOR OF

HER COURAGE AND RESOLUTION

IN CROSSING THE SEA TO SERVE

WITH THE AMERICAN RED CROSS

HARVARD FIELD HOSPITAL UNIT

ENGLAND

1915 – 1941

This plaque was affixed to a grave stone in the family plot in Westminster, Vermont. In 2011, that plaque was inexplicably stolen. Maxine’s surviving sister-in-law, Marilyn Loomis recently reached out to the Vermont & the New Hampshire Upper Valley American Red Cross. To ensure that the memory of Maxine and the bravery and compassion she exemplified are not forgotten, the Red Cross has had made a new plaque, inscribed with the same message as the original. On Sunday, as part of a 2:00 p.m. Veterans Day ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park at the Town Hall in Putney, VT, this new plaque will be presented to the Loomis family and soon will be affixed to Maxine’s grave stone.

If there are questions about other facets to the program scheduled for 2pm Sunday at Veterans Memorial Park at the Town Hall of Putney, contact Laurel Ellis of the Putney Veterans Memorial Committee at 802-387-4489.

The commitment and dedication of Marjorie Burditt Anderson of Castleton, Vermont will also be honored this Sunday as part of special service at the Federated Church of Castleton (504 Main Street), which is slated to begin at 11:00 a.m.. Mrs. Anderson is still an active member of that church and will be on hand to receive a pin and certificate honoring her World War II service with the American Red Cross.

Marjorie’s tenure with the Red Cross involved service both at home and abroad, including that as a Red Cross Service Club Director assigned to Camp Herbert Tareton near LeHavre, France. Upon her return to the states, she worked for the Red Cross at the VA hospital in White River Jct., buoying the spirits of wounded soldiers. Both abroad and at home, she helped provide relief and a piece of “home” for America’s soldiers. At times this was simply setting time aside to play a game of cards, while at other times it meant sitting down with a wounded soldier and helping to write a difficult letter home.

The American Red Cross honors those who served overseas through the “Our Legacy Continues” project and will present Mrs. Anderson with a pin and certificate this Sunday. In addition, Mrs. Anderson is set to receive a copy of Senate Resolution 471, provided by Senator Patrick Leahy. The U.S. Senate Resolution is an acknowledgment of the work of Red Cross Clubmobile women. It was the Clubmobiles that delivered hot coffee and, as the Resolution says, “a vital connection to home to thousands of servicemen . . . .” While Mrs. Anderson was not a Clubmobiler, those women were her close friends and S. Res. 471 reflects on all of the women who “went to war” in support of our military during World War II.

For further information Sunday’s event (11 a.m.) and the plans of the Federated Church of Castleton to recognize Mrs. Anderson, veterans and others who give to their community and country, contact Rob Noble at 802-558-2293. Noble is the Church’s minister.