American Red Cross marking centennial in 2016

Iowa led the way in organizing Red Cross chapters

DES MOINES —The American Red Cross will celebrate a century of service in Iowa in 2016. To recognize this achievement, the Red Cross in Iowa will host a year-long series of events and campaigns commemorating the organization’s 100-year anniversary.

In the spring of 1916, as tensions mounted in the United States about World War I, local visionaries saw the need to bring the services of the American Red Cross to Iowa. Starting in spring 2016, Red Cross chapters were established in Cedar Falls, Clinton, Council Bluffs, Des Moines, Dubuque, Henry County, Muscatine and Webster County. Iowa led all the States of the Union in the number of Red Cross chapters formed by June 1917.

Over the course of the next century, Red Cross volunteers provided support for members of the military and veterans during and after every U.S. war; launched programs to teach water safety, CPR, first aid, disaster preparedness and other lifesaving skills; and provided aid during disasters large and small – here in Iowa, across the country and around the world.

The American Red Cross in Iowa will be celebrating its Century of Service all year in 2016 through a variety of events and campaigns that aim to honor the contributions of the Red Cross and its volunteers and build the foundation for another 100 years of service in Iowa.

This 100-year legacy of service will be highlighted at several events over the course of the year, including Heroes of the Heartland events [Dubuque, Thursday, March 17, 2016; Des Moines, Friday, April 8, 2016; Sioux City, Thursday, April 14, 2016; Ottumwa, Friday, April 22, 2016] and the Red Boa Ball in Cedar Rapids [Saturday, April 30, 2016.] These annual fundraising events honor local heroes and celebrate the work of the Red Cross. For more information about Heroes of the Heartland, visit and Red Boa Ball, visit

Several other statewide events will commemorate the Iowa Red Cross Century:

  • March – Red Cross Month
  • April – National Volunteer Month
  • June – Official 100-year anniversary & Chapter birthday parties
  • August – Iowa State Fair First Aid Stations
  • September – National Preparedness Month
  • November – Turn the State Red (Make sure to display the Red Cross logo!)

To find out more about each event, visit

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