Do you know those stories that simply leave you speechless – the right person at the right time ready to respond in an emergency? I love those stories. Not the person in a dire emergency part, but the stranger willing to drop everything and help part. In a world that grows more cynical everyday – I love to be reminded that we can count on our neighbors. There is a warm fuzzy feeling that hearing those stories brings to me.
There is this print that hangs in the Red Cross building of an old poster that features a nurse with her arms outstretched. Looking at her always brings that same feeling to me… like even though I don’t know her – she’s a friend. When I first read about Jane Delano – my over-active imagination put her personality on that nurse on the poster…
Jane Delano almost single-handedly created American Red Cross Nursing. As a Red Cross Volunteer, she traveled extensively throughout the United States, speaking before nurses’ meetings and at nursing schools. As a result, when the United States entered World War I in 1917, there were over 8,000 registered nurses immediately available for duty. Even before the United States joined the Allies, the Red Cross organized medical and nursing units to staff hospitals and help the civilian population in Europe. And while she was organizing Red Cross Nursing for service to the military, Delano also developed Red Cross courses in Elementary Hygiene and Home Care of the Sick. She prepared courses for the training of nurses’ aides and established the Red Cross Town and Country Nursing Service for delivering health care to rural areas of the country. She basically set up the foundations for all of our Health & Safety Department – from CPR classes to Babysitters Training. She passed away while on a tour of field hospitals in Europe in 1919 and her last words were “What about my work, I must get back to my work.”
Each year, at the Hometown Heroes Celebration, the American Red Cross of West Michigan honors community members who have demonstrated heroism through extraordinary acts of courage and kindness. Our Heroes live their lives in the tradition set forth by our founding mothers and fathers.
The Jane Delano Lifesaver Award recognizes an individual or a group of individuals who have acted bravely in an emergency to save a life.
Please help us tell the stories of the heroes in our community by nominating your hero today.