The American Red Cross celebrates 132 years

September 5th marks the 132nd anniversary of the American Red Cross and the northwest Michigan chapter is celebrating in a big way.

Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross in 1881. She had served overseas working with the Red Cross as part of the international society, and wanted to start a chapter in the United States when she returned. In 1905 the American Red Cross received its federal charter.

September 5th is the anniversary of the first disaster response for the American Red Cross - which was to wildfires in the thumb of Michigan. Red Cross officials said the fires burned about one million acres in 24 hours, three hundred people lost their lives, and about fourteen thousand people needed assistance.

Over 100 years later, our local chapter is celebrating September as National Preparedness Month, holding a golf outing on Sunday to honor local veterans, and offering disaster training for volunteers to become emergency responders.

"It's great to be a part of an organization that has 130+ years of responding to emergencies," said Kevin Bavers, the Northwest Michigan Red Cross Executive Director. "And the fact that we're still here, 130 years later, we've really made an impact and it's great that we have so many volunteers and supporters to make it all possible."

If you would like more information on volunteering with the Red Cross, or how to become a trained emergency responder for local and national disasters (the next training begins September 16th) click here.