The Red Cross celebrates 100 years on Long Island


In 1917, the International Committee of the Red Cross received its first of three Nobel Peace Prizes for its life-saving work on the nightmarish battlefields of World War I. The Long Island chapter of the Red Cross was founded that same year.

The International Red Cross, which was born in 1863 in Switzerland as the International Committee for Relief to the Wounded, went on to earn the Nobel Prize in 1944, during World War II, and again in 1963. The nonprofit organization is the only three-time recipient of the Peace Prize, according to www.Nobelprize.org.

It is important to remember and recognize the organization’s critical work in March, which has been designated by every U.S. president since World War II as National Red Cross Month.

For a century, the Long Island chapter, which is based in Mineola and serves Nassau and Suffolk counties, has been doing God’s work, as they say. In celebration of its 100th anniversary, the organization is planning a gala at the Nassau County Country Club in Glen Cove on June 15.

At the Herald Community Newspapers, we have a special place in our hearts for the Red Cross. Our co-publisher, Stuart Richner, is vice chairman of the Long Island chapter’s board. At the same time, as journalists, we have a front-row view of the good work the Red Cross does.

We certainly cannot forget its immediate response after Hurricane Sandy pummeled the South Shore in 2012, leaving so many of our neighbors homeless and shell-shocked. The Red Cross set up an emergency shelter in the Nassau Community College gym, where many displaced people lived for days.

Moreover, the Red Cross is part of our daily lives, whether we realize it or not. It serves some 2.8 million people in Nassau and Suffolk, responding to home fires and building collapses — and, yes, floods — whenever they occur. The Red Cross provides immediate assistance in the wake of disasters to help people get back on their feet. At the same time, it sponsors life-saving blood drives and informational seminars.

That is why we should all support the Red Cross. It is a vital community organization.

How to help

To purchase tickets for the Long Island Red Cross’s 100th-anniversary celebration at the Nassau County Country Club, go to www.rdcrss.org/2nisbeg. For more information, call (516) 747-3500.