Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Being a Superhero

We noticed that heroes have been a huge topic lately. From our own Arizona Daniel Hernandez to these… interesting… local vigilantes who patrol Seattle.  (Yes, they are real life super heroes. AND they donate blood!) Even the Red Cross Southern Arizona Chapter is hunting for local heroes. So we got to thinking: what does it take to be a hero? A cape and some martial art skills? Being ready at a moment's notice? Who’s a good example of a hero?

Look no further than the Red Cross woman who started it all.  Clara Barton.

Clara Barton was a pistol.  She challenged the status quo at home, at school and in the U.S. Patent Office where she earned her living after walking off the job during a dispute over pay at the school she founded (a man was hired and paid more than she was).

Clara even shook up the routine in Abraham Lincoln’s White House when she petitioned—and pestered, to be frank-- the staid gentlemen who ran the government. They had a country to run and a war to fight—who was this woman whose job was to copy patent documents in an office in Washington? 

Clara finally pulled a rather reluctant “yes” out of Lincoln and his leaders when they granted her permission to enter the battlefields bringing comfort and supplies—supplies that she had collected herself from friends and family—to the wounded and the dying. 

Then, at the age of 60, Clara founded the American Red Cross.

Clara was indeed a pistol.  She blazed a path where others saw nothing but obstacles.  She saw opportunity for service when others saw only the chaos of overwhelming need.  If supplies were exhausted, she stopped to hold a hand and wipe a brow.  Often human contact was all she had to offer, but she offered it without hesitation.
I joined the American Red Cross five short months ago, and I’ve learned a lifetime of lessons already.  Most of them from Clara herself.  

Trudy Thompson Rice, RN
Red Cross Volunteer

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