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Riford says he needed Red Cross's help after skiing accident

June 15, 2007

Tom Riford, president of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, acting as master of ceremonies and speaker at the Heroes for the American Red Cross Washington County Chapter luncheon, discussed the Red Cross and local tourism, and also Clara Barton's work in Washington County during the Battle of Antietam.

Barton is known to be the founder of the American Red Cross, and Riford explained that the Clara Barton Monument at Antietam National Battlefield is seen by hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.

Riford also shared his very personal connection to the Red Cross as the recipient of blood transfusions following a devastating skiing accident in 1995.

"Collected by willing volunteers, organized by the Red Cross, this blood saved my life," said Riford. It was a very moving speech and brought tears to all the participant's eyes. Riford related to the luncheon attendees of having been in intensive care for two weeks, with 11 broken bones and significant internal injuries.

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The local Red Cross chapter will celebrate its 90th anniversary this year - since 1917 the chapter has been a hero for thousands of people like Riford, collecting blood, lending aid during times of disaster, seeing to the welfare of military families and providing citizens with lifesaving CPR and first aid skills.

Today, 31 of your neighbors have shown that they can be "Heroes" for the American Red Cross. This energetic and creative group of "Heroes" raised a total of $31,000 to keep the services of the Red Cross going strong in the county.

Please join the chapter as it wraps up the 2007 "Heroes for the American Red Cross" campaign. The chapter honors this year's "Heroes" and thanks them for their hard work on behalf of the citizens of Washington County.

"The success of this year's "Heroes" campaign is a testament to the hard work of our heroes and the generosity of our community. The money raised will go a long way to helping families in Washington County prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies," said Maria I. Johns, director of Financial Development. "All of our gracious donors truly have made a difference in the lives of their neighbors."

"Heroes for the American Red Cross" is a grassroots campaign in which local business people, school groups, church groups, civic clubs and individuals pledge to raise $1,000 each, through any legal means they choose, for the local Red Cross chapter. The funds raised through this year's "Heroes" campaign will be used to support Red Cross services, such as disaster relief, assistance for fire victims, emergency military communications, first aid and CPR training and disaster preparedness information for our community. All money raised will stay in Washington County to support local families and individuals.

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