At the request of Wahoo Chapter, Prague Branch was organized by Mrs. Ida Ruzicka December 21, 1917, with a program consisting of interesting and encouraging speeches by prominent speakers and musical numbers. After the program, the following officers were elected:
Mrs. Ida Ruzicka, chairman; Mrs. John Vlasak, vice chairman; Mrs. Frank Zabka, secretary; Mrs. Helen Broz, treasurer.
Soon after Mrs. Ruzicka resigned, and Mrs. John Vlasak was elected chairman and Mrs. T. V. Simanek as vice chairman. Work was begun in the lodge room of the Z. C. B. J. Hall, which was maintained until the close of the sewing. The work was chiefly hospital garments, of which 386 were made, besides other smaller articles too numerous to mention. After that the work was miscellaneous and was sent already cut from the Wahoo chapter. The branch is proud of the fact that no sewing was ever returned by the chapter censor to be remade. Much of the credit for this is due to Mrs. John Vlasak and Mrs. T. V. Simanek, who did most of the cutting and supervising.
Knitting was begun in the fall of 1917, Mrs. Ida Ruzicka acting as knitting chairman, under whose supervision 249 knitted articles were made. In January, 1918. Mrs. Ruzicka resigned, and Mrs. Anna Marik was elected as chairman of the knitting, and under her supervision 205 knitted articles were made.
The Christmas drives for members were made in 1917 and 1918 by bank officers, the faculty of the school, and the local branch.
The war fund drives were conducted the first year by a committee and later by the board of education: M. J. Havel, Anton Kaspar, J. F. Prai, F. A. Ruzek, J. V. Kaspar, Thos. J. Vlasak.
At the election of officers in October, 1918, Mrs John Vlasak was elected chairman; Mrs. Thos. Vlasak, vice chairman; Mrs. T. V. Simanek, secretary; and Mrs. Helen Broz, treasurer.
While the membership was large there were only a small number who did any sewing or knitting at all. Some of these could find time to make only one or two garments. The output of the branch, however, always equalled its quota, and much credit is due to the faithful few. The average attendance in the Red Cross workroom was small, sometimes only three or four being present. The spirit of the faithful few was to get the garments made rather than to earn credit hours. Mrs. John Tomek has the honor of having made the greatest number of pieces, with Mrs. Frank Vlasak ranking second, and Mrs. Thomas Vlasak third. In knitting, Mrs. Rosalie Svoboda, Mrs. Anna Marik, Mrs. Jos. Mach, Mrs. Anton Chmelka, all ranked close.
The branch also had supervision over the Junior Red Cross. All the school children were enrolled.
The accompanying picture was taken one afternoon just as the high school girls completed the quilt. The sum of money that was collected was $645.99. Some of this amount was spent for yarn and other necessities, and the remainder was turned over for Red Cross war work.
After the armistice was signed the time was spent in sending supplies for relief to the needy and suffering.
We hope that the spirit of the Red Cross, which came here during the period of war, may remain thruout the years of peace to be a blessing to the community and the entire world.
The ladies of Center precinct called a meeting at the Colon Town Hall in November, 1918, for the purpose of organizing a branch of. the Saunders County Chapter of the American Red Cross. Mrs. Miller of Wahoo addressed the meeting. She gave a sketch of the needs of the Red Cross, the work, and the good that any community could do. Rev. Geo. Percival gave a short talk in which he advised the ladies to organize. Mrs. Miller appointed Mrs. Jennie Pool to act as chairman. Mrs. Mary Bastar was elected secretary, Mrs. Esther McCaw, treasurer, and Mrs. Kate McDermott, vice chairman.
The next meeting was held at the home of Mrs. Bastar, and supplies for sewing and knitting were given out. Mrs. Kate McDermott was appointed chairman of knitting, Mrs. E. McDermott chairman of cutting, and Mrs. Emma Dubois chairman of shipping.
At the next meeting, at the home of Mrs. Pool, Rev. Stocking offered the use of a building for a Red Cross workroom. His offer was accepted, and from then on the branch met every week at that place until work was discontinued during the summer.
On account of sickness the chairman was unable to attend meetings, and it was thought best to appoint some one else in her place. So Mrs. Lizzie Taylor was appointed chairman in her place until such time as the regular chairman could take charge of the work. At the same meeting Mrs. Lottie Presba was elected vice chairman. The average attendance was 20.
On May 30, 1918, a Red Cross benefit was given by Center Precinct. At 1:30 the town flag and the service flag with 28 stars and the victory flag were raised by the Cedar Bluffs Home Guard. This was followed by a band concert and speaking at the park. The ladies served supper to about 500 people. In the evening a band concert was given, and moving pictures were shown of the war devastated regions of France. Money taken in at this time amounted to $621.70.
On July 4, 1918, Colon Chapter donated both money and articles to the Red Cross sale at Wahoo, and the ladies assisted at the booths.
On September 4, 1918, General Pershing's birthday was observed here by the home guards from four different towns by drills. An address was given by Hon. Geo. Corcoran. Moving pictures were shown, and Gen. Pershing's picture was sold. $669.00 was netted from these sources.
Knitting Report--Mrs. Kate McDermott, chairman, 159 articles; surgical dressings, Mrs. H. R. Henderson, chairman, 10,666 articles; refugee garments, Mrs. Lizzie Taylor, chairman, 60 articles.
Mrs. Sophia Nelson led in the knitting of sox; Mrs. Hattie Ruth Henderson in the knitting of sweaters; Mrs. Tena Syverson in the knitting of wristlets.
The following ladies are entitled to great praise because of their exceedingly good record for hours donated to the work:
For 800 hours--Mrs. Lizzie Taylor, Myra McCaw, H. R. Henderson, Tena Syverson, Kate McDermott, E. McDermott, Mary Bastar, Emma Dubois, Mrs. Johanna Olander.
For 400 hours--Mrs. Minnie Peterson, Percilla Cronk, G. Davis, Miss Joe Daily, Miss Edith Syverson, Mrs. Lottie Presba, Mrs. Agnes Mowers, Mrs. Henry Peterson, Mrs. Janet M. Osborne, Miss Pauline Nelson, Miss Inez Peterson.