The organization of all the branches and auxiliaries was practically the same. The executive officers combined with the war fund committee, held meetings in the various towns, villages, and school districts thruout the county.
Co-operating with the vice chairman of each locality, meetings were arranged, speakers provided, and time, place, and date well advertised.
In the beginning people were skeptical, and no one wanted to take the initiative and start the work; but once a meeting was held, every one was willing to lend a hand, and soon in that vicinity an organization would be made.
On July 9, 1917, a meeting was held in the auditorium for the purpose of organizing a Wahoo branch of the Saunders County Chapter of the American Red Cross, Mrs. Emma McDonald acting as temporary chairman and Lottie Klotz as temporary secretary.
Upon proper authority granted by the Saunders County Chapter, the permanent organization of the Wahoo branch was perfected and the following officers elected:
Mrs. Emma McDonald, chairman; Miss Caroline Cook, vice chairman; Miss Mary St. Martin, secretary; Mrs. F. J. Kirchman, treasurer.
Arrangements were made at this meeting to secure an instructor for teaching the preparation of surgical dressings. Plans for a first aid class were also made.
On November 3, Mrs. McDonald resigned as chairman of the Wahoo branch, and Mrs. Geo. Frush was elected to succeed her. Mrs. C. N. Walton was selected to take the place of Miss Carrie Cook, who was elected county chairman of the surgical dressing department.
The surgical dressings class began taking instruction at the high school building in July, 1917, under the direction of the Misses Clark and Maxfield, who had received their instruction in Omaha. The class was composed of 14 members as follows: Mrs. Emma McDonald, Mrs. John Thorson, Mrs. M. Tharp, Mrs. Ferd Tornblom, Mrs. Phil Bross, Mrs. V. Rand, Mrs. J. F. Berggren, Misses Caroline Cook, Lottie Klotz, Isabel Rand, Bess McDonald, Minnie Manners, Ora Gilchrist, and Mary St. Martin.
The first aid class consisting of 27 members was organized in August, 1917, under the direction of Dr. F. E. Way, who gave two evenings a week instructing the class. 24 members of the class took the examination under Dr. J. F. Lauvetz, and received their first aid certificates. Thru the courtesy of the county commissioners, workrooms for the branch were established in the basement of the court house in connection with the Saunders County Chapter Rooms.
The work room in Hospital Garment Department was open every day with the following ladies in charge:
Monday: Mrs. I. R. Edwards, Mrs. A. Z. Donato; Tuesday: Mrs. O. P. Heald; Wednesday: Mrs. John O. Thorson; Thursday: Mrs. Ferd Tornblom, Mrs. Wm. Carlisle; Friday: Mrs. J. M. Galloway, Mrs. Geo. Frush; Saturday: Mrs. A. L. Anderson, Mrs. C. N. Walton.
These ladies did garment cutting to supply the Wahoo branch and the other branches as well whenever possible. Until the cutting department was established each lady had a certain kind of garment to cut. Mrs. Thorson cut all the comfort kits that were made by the chapter.
The Surgical Dressing Department was open night and day if quotas demanded it. Miss Cook was chairman of surgical dressing, and the following instructors had charge of the classes: the Misses Klotz, Cook, Manners, St. Martins, and Mrs. McDonald, Mrs. Tornblom, Mrs. Thorson and Mrs. Berggren. The classes were well attended, averaging from twenty to fifty. The instructors met every Monday night to discuss shop and learn new dressings. 92,844 dressings were made by the branch.
On November 25, 1918, one hundred and fifty members of the surgical dressing classes of the Wahoo Branch, with officers of Saunders County Chapter as guests, celebrated the armistice with a "great supper," an occasion long to be remembered by those present. The supper was prepared and furnished by the members of the classes, each one in attendance bringing knife, fork and plate, and after supper, toasts, and speeches, all went to the Rex Theater as guests of the Rex management.
Mrs. T. J. Pickett was chairman of the knitting department and was assisted in the work by Mrs. F. E. Way, Mrs. Hannah White, Mrs. Almquist, and Miss Cook. 2,481 knitted garments were made by the members of the Wahoo Branch. The women of Wahoo were ever ready to lend a hand, and it did not matter in which department they were asked to help, they always responded readily and willingly.
The Red Cross branch of the Saunders County Chapter of the A. R. C. was organized October 5, 1917, Mrs. Phillip Walla acting as chairman, pro tem. At this meeting the following officers were elected:
Mrs. John McCluhan, chairman; Mrs. Phillip Walla, Jr., vice chairman; Mrs. F. B. Bartosh, secretary; Mrs. F. F. Pabian, treasurer.
The chairman then appointed the following committee chairmen:
Mrs. Anna Bauer, knitting; Mrs. Banta Kadles, cutting; Mrs. Frank Urban, sewing.
They all proved to be very enthusiastic and efficient directors in their respective work. Mrs. Bauer moved away, and Mrs. Mary McCluhan was then appointed chairman of the knitting to succeed her.
Meetings were held almost every week until August, 1918, with an average attendance of 25. At these meetings many kinds of work was done, the following being some of the articles made:
Twenty-eight convalescents' capes, 40 bed shirts, 84 pr. men's drawers, 12 hot water bottle bags, 42 men's undershirts, 14 helmets, 22 wristlets, 8 pr. sox, 60 pr. hospital sox, 22 pr. bed sox, 34 pr. boys' underdrawers, 98 pr. pajamas, 30 baby quilts, 13 scarfs, 41 sweaters.
Every soldier was outfitted with a comfort kit that was from the precinct, and 30 baskets for the Christmas of 1917 were sent out.
December 6th at the regular meeting, it was decided to give a home talent play for the purpose of raising a fund for the home chapter. This play netted a total of $150.75 and was entitled Brown Eyed Betty. The cast included most of the young people in the town, and they all carried their parts exceptionally well. This was given on February 2, 1918. After the play Wesely Bros. donated their services, and the crowd spent several hours dancing. The ladies of the Red Cross served sandwiches and coffee.
April 26, 1918, Morse Bluff had an auction sale. Mrs. F. B. Bartosh was elected chairman of the soliciting committee, and she and the members of the committee with her requested contributions from Morse Bluff and Bohemia precinct. The people responded exceptionally well, and almost everything was donated from calves, hogs, and loads of oats down to chickens and rabbits. It was certainly a gala day for Morse Bluff. In the morning the home guards officiated at the flag raising when the flag and pole which were bought by the business men of the town were given to the town. The flag was raised by Pvt. Max Blue, who then stood at salute, while the Star Spangled Banner was played. The flag raising was followed by a program which included an address by Mr. A. Z. Donato (Judge), E. R. Gurney, and Col. Jacob Wernsmann of Fremont and Mr. Robert Cheney of North Bend kindly donated their services as auctioneers. The first article sold was a calf six weeks old to John Vopalensky for $750. Col. Wernsmann's rooster was auctioned here and brought $2,505, which was more than it sold for any other place in the county.
Mrs. R. Bernosek supervised the serving of 617 meals that day, and the fact that no one left the table with their hunger unsatisfied testifies as to her fitness for this task.
Mrs. John Bernosek donated feathers which the ladies of the Red Cross striped and made a feather quilt and pair of pillows. Misses Irma Ondracek and Barbara Walla sold tickets for this, which netted $165.50. O. O. Ladenberger sold tickets on a center piece which brought $73.30.
Mliss Mae Pabian and Mary Vasina brought in $15.60 for tickets sold on cushion, and Mary Vasina netted $33.30 for cap tickets. Dr. J. C. Hubenbecker sponsored the sale of a Ford Sedan which brought $1,000. All of these articles were raffled off at the Dodge Bros. Hall, the use of which was kindly donated. After all bills were paid Morse Bluff paid $9,451.71 to the Saunders County War Fund. It is doubtful whether any other town in the U. S. of the same size has turned in as much.
September 20th the Junior Red Cross Girls turned in $63.21, which they secured by selling tickets on a quilt made by themselves, one made by Mrs. Bignell, and two by Mrs. Fleming. All of the quilts were made from scraps left from Red Cross sewing materials.
O. O. Ladenberger turned into the treasury $21.52, the proceeds of a ball game given for the Red Cross.