letters to the editor - 3/24/02

March 25, 2002

Portraying Red Cross as villain is outrageous

By Robert T. Lawn

I viewed the "60 Minutes" program of March 11, particularly the segment on the American Red Cross with considerable dismay.

Why do many of those in the national media find it necessary to portray The American Red Cross as a villain for a very few alleged improprieties with funds donated by the American Public. They never mention the thousands of disasters responded to with professionalism, compassion character and civic duty?

The American Red Cross was founded in 1881 by Clara Barton and chartered by Act of Congress to respond in times of need. We provide compassionate assistance to people afflicted by personal, local, national, and international disasters. I can't speak for the entire American Red Cross, but I can speak with some authority for our local chapter in Hagerstown Maryland. In the past year we have had 1,569 volunteers involved in 12 different areas of humanitarian service to our community. These dedicated volunteers are there to respond to local tragedies, house fires, floods, and weather related emergencies.


We conducted health and safety courses for 7,530 individuals. We provided transportation for 834 veterans to our local VA hospital. We assisted with 98 Armed Forces Emergency Cases and provided information and/or financial assistance to over 3,000 other individuals. In the six months since Sept. 11 the Washington County chapter has responded to nine local fires with food, clothing and shelter to families left homeless by their own personal disaster.

The "60 Minutes" portrayal of the Red Cross as an organization not to be believed and not to be trusted with donated funds will serve to cripple our ability to provide humanitarian assistance to our community. It is difficult enough in these times to raise the money needed to respond to local disasters without having to deal with their portrayal on the national news.

The Red Cross has long had a policy of a general fund of money for disaster relief. We are dependent on the generosity of Americans but cannot wait until after a tragedy to respond based on this generosity for that particular event.

We must be prepared in advance, and the only way this can be accomplished is to plan ahead. How would others suggest we respond at 2 a.m. on a cold February morning here in Hagerstown when there is an apartment fire that leaves three families homeless? Do we ask for appeals the next day, and in three or four days when donations come in, then go to these families and offer them some help?

If we had waited until after the contributions were received for Sept. 11, or for the San Diego fires, or the floods in Texas, or earthquake in California, there would be considerably more suffering on the part of the victims before a humanitarian response could be mounted.

The Red Cross has a history of being the first to respond to a disaster, local or national and the last to leave. We can do this because we are prepared, because generous Americans give of their time and money to allow us to be prepared to respond to any situation. Their shortsighted, biased reported does much to undermine years of hard work by thousands of volunteers and paid staff.

Robert T. Lawn is Washington County Chapter Chairman of the American Red Cross.

Don't change Warrior name

To the editor:

I am a Warrior at Boonsboro High School and I enjoy being a Warrior. I feel we should not have to change our name. If we would have to change our name, wouldn't any big league team? An example would be the Washington Redskins.

There are many people who support our name. I am unaware of any formal complaints being raised by the Native Americans because we take pride in our name. Our name was chosen out of pride.

A agree with Tim Rowland in saying that names honor. We would have never chosen Warriors to be a racist society. We chose it out of pride, courage, dignity, and strength, as Dwight Scott said.

I feel this is all wrong. It seems that Richard Regan may just be trying to get his name in the paper.

I feel that the Boonsboro community has added to the strength, support and character of the Warrior name. Everyone who lives in the community, who has gone to Boonsboro, who will be going, and people who are associated with the Boonsboro Warriors in any way, support us in saying we have pride in our name.

We have a totem pole in front of our school, showing our pride and love toward our school. Boonsboro Educational Complex and the community are synonymous with the Warrior name.

So, we should not have to change our name. If you have any questions, please contact me. I think this man should just give up.

Kathleen Barger


Punish hard the first time

To the editor:

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