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The Oshkosh and East Central Wisconsin Chapter of the American Red Cross have donated historical records to the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Area Research Center at the Polk Library.

“After learning more about the UWO Oshkosh Area Research Center, it became obvious to us that they were the best equipped organization to preserve our Red Cross story,” said Steve Hansen, Regional Chapter Executive of the Northeast Wisconsin Red Cross. “As the world changes, so must the American Red Cross as we continue to touch more lives in new ways under the same trusted symbol.

“Today is an appropriate time to look back, cherish the past, say thank you and prepare for future challenges,” Hansen said.

The records begin in 1916, when the Red Cross served the people of the greater Oshkosh area and community. The records are rich in World War I and World War II activities, documenting how nurses and volunteers at home supported the efforts abroad — from hosting blood drives to collecting scrap metal and rolling bandages.

“The Red Cross records are of historical importance to the history of our community,” said Joshua Ranger, UW Oshkosh archivist, who administers the Area Research Center in Polk Library.

“The Red Cross should be acknowledged for taking the initiative to preserve their records. It demonstrates that their organization is as interested in preserving their records as assisting those in need,” Ranger said.

The timing of the donation could not have occurred at a better time, Hansen noted.

“As we celebrate March as Red Cross Month, we are reminded of the compassionate and caring individuals who have served our community through the years,” he said.