This proclamation was presented by Honolulu City Council member Tulsi Gabbard on March 21, 2012, in honor and celebration of the American Red Cross – Hawaii State Chapter – upon its 95 anniversary and Red Cross Month.

From house fires to hurricanes, from caregiving to life saving, the Hawaii State Chapter of the American Red Cross has played an important role in saving lives and giving hope to those in need for 95 years. Working side by side with the police, fire, military and civil defense, the organization unwaveringly focuses on its mission to prevent and alleviate human suffering by providing disaster relief and teaching lifesaving skills to the people of Hawaii, helping people prevent and prepare for emergencies, and providing support to military families has been critical to the health and well-being of our state in times of crisis.

Since the late 1800’s, the Red Cross has had a rich and distinguished history in Hawaii beginning with Princess Kaiulani helping to care for sick and wounded soldiers during the Spanish American War. The Hawaii State Chapter was officially chartered in 1917 during World War I. Queen Liliuokalani sewed a Red Cross flag that flew above Iolani Palace while volunteers rolled bandages in the Throne Room.

To date, the Hawaii State Chapter of the American Red Cross has assisted victims of every major disaster in the islands’ history, including the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hilo tsunami, Kilauea volcanic eruptions, Hurricanes Iwa and Iniki, New Year’s and Manoa floods, Kaloko Dam burst, Big Island earthquake, Sacred Fall landslides, Xerox shooting, helicopter and airplane crashes, hostage situations, and a mercury contamination incident.  When a tsunami generated from the Japan earthquakes last year, the Hawaii Red Cross was ready to assist with supplies and shelters, helping families affected, and even getting meals to dozens of stranded boaters.

While those larger-scale disasters are not an everyday occurrence, the Hawaii Chapter of the American Red Cross responds to disasters every three days, providing food, clothing, shelter, crisis counseling and emotional support to help victims of disasters such as house fires and flooding, helping to prevent families from becoming homeless after a disaster strikes. When winter storms hit the islands this month, the Hawaii Red Cross was quick to help organize shelter for families affected by flash flooding as well provide assistance to those affected.

Proactively, the Hawaii State Chapter of the American Red Cross also helps prepare people to save lives through health and safety education and training. From first aid, CPR and blood borne pathogens training to swimming and lifeguarding, to nurse aide training and babysitter’s training, the Hawaii Red Cross programs help people lead safer and healthier lives.  In 2011, nearly 33,000 people in Hawaii enrolled in American Red Cross health and safety courses.

Therefore, on behalf of the people of the City and County of Honolulu, the Council hereby recognizes the Hawaii State Chapter of the American Red Cross, Chapter Chair Scott Wo and its Board of Directors, CEO Coralie Matayoshi and staff, volunteers and supporters upon the occasion of its 95th Anniversary and Red Cross Month for their outstanding contributions and service to providing aid, helping to relieve the suffering caused by disasters in our islands, and serving as the trusted conduit for the people of Hawaii to help their neighbors in emergencies – across the street, across the country, and across the world. The Council extends its warmest aloha and best wishes for continued success in all your future endeavors.

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