The first membership drive for the Saunders County Chapter of the American Red Cross was made in June, 1917, immediately after the organization of the chapter.
Miss M. Manners was elected chairman at the time of the organization for memberships. The various vice chairmen of the county appointed committees in their respective communities to solicit members, and in a very short time had secured over 3,500 members. The committees worked very hard, and their efforts were well rewarded.
The second membership drive was made in December, 1917, and Mr. C. N. Walton was chairman of this drive. This drive was put over by school districts thruout the county. Each teacher acted as a member of the committee and solicited for members in her district. This drive following so closely the first one, that the committee was somewhat handicapped but nevertheless this method proved highly satisfactory and very successful.
The third membership followed closely the first two. It was called the "Christmas Roll Call," and was held in December, 1918, with Mr. J. M. Galloway as chairman and Miss Mary St. Martin as treasurer. This drive was also made thru the school districts. The epidemic of influenza handicapped the work to a large extent, several schools being closed because of it. In some districts it was necessary to appoint new committees. Results were gratifying in both instances.
Chapter American Red Cross
Chas. H. Slama, Wahoo, Nebraska; E. E. Placek, Wahoo, Nebraska; Frank Dolezal, R. 1, Wahoo, Neb.; Mrs. M. A. Miller, Bozeman, Mont.; M. A. Miller, Bozeman, Mont.; F. J. Kirchman, Wahoo, Neb.; Jul Petermichel, Valparaiso, Neb.; W. C. Elmelund, Valparaiso, Nebraska; P. Townsend, Valparaiso, Nebraska; F. W. Winter, Lincoln, Nebraska; Fred Jelinek, Valparaiso, Nebraska; Emil Benson, Wahoo, Nebraska; John J. Johnson, Mead, Nebraska; R. A. Lower, Valparaiso, Nebraska; John F. Ommen, Valparaiso, Nebraska; Miss Lottie O. Klotz, Wahoo, Nebraska; Jay Willey, Mead, Nebraska; W. C. Kirchman, Wahoo, Nebraska; John Dolezal, Wahoo, Nebraska; Fred Forgette, Mead, Nebraska; John Hannan, Mead, Nebraska; Ben Golliglee, Fremont, R. 2, Nebraska; Nick Golliglee, Fremont, R. 2, Nebraska; Will Pospisil, Prague, Nebraska; Mrs. Myrtle Mowers, Colon Nebraska; Mrs. W. H. McCord, Colon, Nebraska.
The first War Fund Drive was made in June, 1917, at the same time as the first membership drive.
Saunders County quota for the drive was $50,000. The drive was put thru under the direction of Mr. F. J. Kirchman of Wahoo, chairman, and his associates, Mr. Chas. Perky, Dr. E. O. Weber, J. M. Ohslund, Hon. E. E. Good. Between $240,000 and $250,000 was raised.
The second Red Cross War Fund Drive was slated to he held in June, 1918, thruout the nation. It was not necessary, however; for Saunders County to put thru this drive, because they had not ceased their efforts to secure funds at the end of the first drive and had long before passed the quota set. In fact the books of the War Fund Drive were never closed until after the signing of the armistice.
County War Chest
The Red Cross celebration held in Wahoo, July 4, 1918, was one of the big events in the history of Saunders County. The crowd attending was very large and was a most patriotic and orderly gathering. The rain in the morning no doubt kept many people from coming who would otherwise have been there. However, in spite of that there was a great crowd, and the day was full of excitement and interest. The people came both to have a good time and to make the day a great day for Red Cross, and they succeeded in both.
Ample preparations had been made for the visitors, and the streets had been elaborately decorated with flags, bunting, and banners--and Red Cross emblems. Nothing was left undone to make the city attractive for the visitors.
The automobiles that were raffled were on display and excited considerable interest, many cherishing the hope that they might become the owners of one of them.
Because of the muddy condition of the roads the parade was slightly curtailed. It was about two blocks long, led by the Wahoo band, which was followed by the visiting home guards, then a big Red Cross banner, 16 by 16 feet. After this the Pohocco band and then the Red Cross workers in uniform.
One of the best drawing cards of the day was the awarding of five automobiles. Chairman L. D. Dvorak and the members of the automobile committee handled the affair in fine shape. The cars were on display at the corner of 5th and Linden, and salesmen were busy all day selling tickets. The highest number sold to any one person was $50 worth. At 9:30 the committee filled the big churn with numbers and a little girl drew out the slips in the following order:
No. 1, Overland, Phillip Mostrom, Ceresco; No. 2, Buick, Mrs. M. Morton, Yutan; No.3, Dodge, R. L. Roberts, Wahoo; No.4, Studebaker, Edwin Barry, Weston; No.5, Ford, C. F. Frederich, Lincoln.
Mr. Albin Johnson donated a "Delco Light" plant which brought $837.50. A fancy sweater donated by Mrs. Greely of Ashland brought $196.75. Dr. T. F. Jeffrey was the speaker of the day (of Kansas City, Mo.). There was also a dance. The music was furnished by the Wahoo band, led by Mr. Prokup, and the receipts were over $525.00.