Red Cross celebrates 100 years of service

Published 5:45 pm Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Through disaster, tragedy and sorrow, the American Red Cross is ready to help — and it has for 100 years.

The Northeastern North Carolina Chapter of the American Red Cross is celebrating a century of service this year.

“Every day is a different day where we have a chance to do good,” said Cally Edwards, executive director of Northeastern North Carolina Chapter.

Edwards and the eastern North Carolina chapter’s work stretches over 20 counties in the region, including Beaufort County. Beaufort County makes up the Greater Pamlico Chapter.

The Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce helped the Greater Pamlico chapter organize its centennial celebration on Friday, according to Edwards. Red Cross employees, volunteers and community members gathered to celebrate the organization’s service. Edwards said it was a celebration made possible by the dedicated volunteers of the Red Cross.

“The volunteers really planned it. That just goes to say they are proud of what they do. The Red Cross is family to them,” Edwards said.

Edwards said the celebration is so important because it represents all of the work that the Red Cross has been able to do in eastern North Carolina. In the 136-year lifespan of the American Red Cross, the northeastern North Carolina region has now been alive for 100 of them.

Edwards said the long-lived support is obvious, as she’s heard many stories through the years of residents who have given more than 100 pints of blood or have volunteered at the Red Cross for decades.

“It’s a really lasting impact. Not a lot of organizations are able to get to 100 years old and still be relevant and engaging. The Red Cross has really worked hard to do that,” Edwards said.

The Red Cross core mission is to “alleviate human suffering in the face of emergency,” according to Edwards, and to her, that means she has the opportunity to bring positivity to those whose lives have been devastated.

“We’re coming to the aid of folks often in their darkest hour. We are that light that helps them. Whether it’s a hurricane or house fire or serving our military,” Edwards said.


Edwards, a six-year member of the Red Cross, said she made her debut as executive director in North Carolina the day Hurricane Matthew hit eastern North Carolina just last October. She saw experienced volunteers step up to the plate, and saw community members who had never helped before rise to the occasion, and it’s a memory that has resonated with her ever since.

“Our donors, our partners, our churches, our businesses really rallied. That’s left with me with the greatest impressions. I got to meet some of the greatest people in the worst of times,” Edwards said.