The Cedar Bluffs Branch of the Saunders County Chapter of the A. R. C. was organized September 1, 1917, and the following officers were elected:
Mrs. Mary Louden, chairman; Mrs. W. A. Brokaw, treasurer; Mrs. M. S. Bias, secretary.
The work was carried on by Mrs. Louden for approximately four months. She found, however, that she could not give it the time and attention it needed, and so Mrs. Paul Keller was appointed to succeed her to look after the work. Mrs. Keller was an untiring worker, and to her is due the success of the chapter.
The ladies met twice a week, and had an average attendance of twelve. They made and shipped fifteen hundred pieces of sewing and nine hundred knitted articles, for which $175.00 worth of yarn was donated by a patriotic citizen. The branch received about $1,000.00 in donations. Out of this, $415.00 was given to the Saunders County Red Cross War Fund. $25.00 was also given to the base hospital in France. Blankets, shoes, and clothing were bought for refugees and supplies for the workroom, and in December, 1918, 58 Christmas boxes were filled and sent to the boys.
Considerable clothing was also collected, both old and new, for refugees, and this amounted to about 600 pounds in all.
The introduction of the American Red Cross to Mead was made at the suggestion of the chapter officers at Wahoo, and September 26, 1917, a meeting was held and the following officers were elected:
Mrs. R. R. Miller, chairman; Miss Esther Sandblad, vice chairman; Miss Lillian Johnson, secretary; Miss Ella Swanson, treasurer.
The meetings were held every other Tuesday afternoon until January 1, 1918, when the meetings were held every Tuesday. From October, 1917, until about May, 1918, the meetings were held in the homes of the members and from that time on the meetings were held in the Baptist church. The attendance was generally from 15 to 32 and an average attendance of 20.
The work of surgical dressing was taken up in Feb., 1918, and the workers met in the basement of the Lutheran church with Miss Ella Swanson as chairman.
Work turned in amounted to: 584 hospital and refugee garments, 104 knitted articles, 5,393 surgical dressings.
The cutting of garments was done by the chairman and vice chairman, with the assistance of volunteers from among those present at the meetings. Cutting was also done on Monday afternoons by the chairman and the vice chairman. All the knitting and a large per cent of the sewing was done in the houses, nearly every lady attending the meetings taking garments home and handing them in completed at the following meeting.
A class for making surgical dressings was also organized with Mrs. McGuire as chairman. These meetings were held in the basement of the Baptist church every Tuesday afternoon and Thursday evenings during February and March, and after that as often as there was work to be done.
Almost as soon as the organization of the Junior Red Cross was started, Mead was organized under the supervision of Miss Rough. The pupils were interested, and there was a ready response. So they were able to accomplish much, and their work was good. One of the first things started was the making of small quilts from the scraps of outing flannel given by the Senior Red Cross. The little people stuffed pillows with ravelings made from the smaller scraps.
It was soon realized that if money was available, much more could be accomplished. Material could be bought from which many things could be made. So all began work on something for the sale. The sale was a big success, and over two hundred dollars was realized. Good material was purchased, and some fine, large quilts were made. Several bolts each of sheeting, pillow-tubing, face-towels, bath towels, and dish towels were purchased. All these were hemmed, and wash cloths were knitted. Material was purchased for wound pads, and thousands of different sizes were satisfactorily cut and folded.
It is sometimes thought that boys cannot do such work, but the Mead boys turned a willing hand. When clothes were gathered for the needy in Europe, the Junior Red Cross assisted Mrs. Miller with the collecting and packing of these.
At the meeting held at the city hall of Weston August 1, 1917, it was decided that Weston should organize a branch of the county chapter of the A. R. C. and do what they could in the town and community to raise funds and make articles for the cause. At this meeting the following officers were elected:
Mrs. Amanda Westman, chairman; Miss R. Frohner, vice chairman; Miss Minnie Novak, treasurer; Mrs. Zoe Kriz, secretary; Mrs. Helen Koudele, chairman surgical dressings; Mrs. Sarah Hogstadt, chairman knitting.
It was decided at the meeting that hospital garments should be the chief work of the branch. Later on surgical dressings were taken up as well as knitting. The branch had 87 enthusiastic, active members, and they met once every week, sometimes oftener if it was necessary to fill a quota, which was always filled by the appointed time.
The day the branch organized the Ladies' Auxiliary of the Farmers Institute voted to disband and voted the balance of their money, amounting to $31.29, to the Red Cross.
Enough money was raised by the local branch during December, 1917, to fill 25 Christmas boxes. On May 4, 1918, the flag raising day, the ladies cleared $652.21 for the Red Cross by selling refreshments and giving a dance. In the same month a home talent play was given by the ladies of the bandage circle, by which $107.05 was cleared for the Red Cross.
For the 4th of July celebration in Wahoo the ladies of the local branch pieced, quilted, and donated a Red Cross quilt, which, when put up at auction, brought the sum of $48. The ladies also by individual donations ranging from $.50 to $6.00 contributed $96.50 to the Red Cross rooster button on July 4th, at Wahoo.
After the rush of making hospital garments was over the Red Cross ladies pieced and completed two comforts by using the outing flannel scraps. These comforts were both sold; one by selling numbers and raffling it off on April 4, 1919, the proceeds being $25.20; the other at H. N. Nelson's public sale February 6, 1918, netting $38.75, making $63.95 for the two quilts. The expense for yarn, lining, etc., was $3.08, making $60.87 clear.
The work turned out by this branch was unexcelled in quality and was as follows: 692 hospital garments, 8,189 surgical dressings.