90 YEARS OF SERVICE
MANATEE COUNTY CHAPTER
1917 – Women’s Club makes bandages and pillows for Red Cross use in WWI, providing the impetus for forming a branch of the American Red Cross in Manatee County. Manatee River American Red Cross was chartered Nov 3, 1917 and consisted of 7 branches throughout the county (due to scattered population and transportation limitations)
1918 – Manatee River Chapter led the nation in percentage increase of membership, from 826 to 2622 members.
1919 – first employee hired as Home Secretary to assist returning soldiers, sailors and their families.
1921 – Major hurricane struck Cortez on Oct 25, 1921
1922 – First visiting nurse, Lena Reynolds, hired by the Chapter. The Treasurer’s report indicated income of $1,857 and expenses of $1, 511, including $312 toward the Cortez hurricane and $640 for the nurse’s salary. (At that time a gallon of gas cost a quarter)
1928 – Hurricane relief fund collections began due to a devastating hurricane that caused Lake Okeechobee to overflow, killing 2,000.
1934 – Manatee Red Cross Lifesaving Corps reported saving 41 lives at the beach this year. However, the chapter’s efforts to obtain property on the beach for a lifesaving station were dropped due to “the asking price of land being too high”.
1936 – National Red Cross responds to the alarming highway fatalities and injuries by beginning Highway Emergency First Aid Stations. Manatee Chapter operated two of these stations.
1940 – Manatee County Chapter collected funds for the Finnish, Belgium and Luxombourg WWII refugees.
1942 – With the entry of the U.S. into WWII, the Red Cross increased its war relief drives, clothing projects, bandage packing and service to military families.
1944 – During an October hurricane, Manatee Red Cross sheltered 850 people.
1947 – A major hurricane in September required the opening of 15 shelters to accommodate 2,000 people in Manatee County.
1951 – Manatee Red Cross surpassed their fund-raising goal of $14,500.
1953 – The chapter’s Grey Ladies gave 1,778 hours of service at Bay Pines Veterans hospital.
1956 – The chapter’s Grey Ladies launched a new Service Program for Schools, in which they began health clinics in the county schools. This program was adopted by other chapters throughout the nation.
1959 – The chapter sponsored a Junior Red Cross club in every Manatee County school. Chapter headquarters moved to 2614 Manatee Ave W.
1962 – Hurricane Donna strikes. The chapter opened 6 shelters housing over 5,000 people.
1962 – Floods caused by over 14” of rain did a million dollars of damage in Manatee County. National Red Cross opened a service center in chapter headquarters.
1966 – The chapter opened 6 shelters for Hurricane Alma
1967 – A spectacular fire in downtown Palmetto destroyed a number of businesses and apartment buildings.
1968 – The Chapter opens shelters for Hurricane Gladys in October and assisted victims of a tornado in November
1976 - The chapter builds a new headquarters building on 59th St W.
1983 - The chapter adds an additional 400 square feet onto the headquarters building at 59th St.
1985 – During Hurricane Elena the chapter sheltered over 10,000 people.
1988 - HIV/AIDS prevention education launched.
1993 - Manatee chapter receives a new emergency response vehicle.
2004 - The chapter survives the back-to-back hurricanes: Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jean.
2006 - The chapter's mid-county facility opens at Lakewood Ranch.
2007 - The chapter started using Client Assistance Cards to streamline help for disaster victims.