The idea for the Red Cross began in 1859 when Henri Dunant, a Swiss businessman, witnessed the aftermath of a battle and wanted to find a way to help the wounded.
The Red Cross movement spread to other countries. Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross in 1881. Local chapters began forming soon after and Red Cross volunteers began to offer relief to the victims of floods, disease and other disasters.
Historian Carol Murphy says The Denver and Pike’s Peak Red Cross chapters were chartered in 1914.
Volunteers set to work making hospital supplies from bed gowns to surgical dressings, as well as hand-knit sweaters and other winter garments to send to the troops during World War I and other military engagements.
Murphy found records showing that in 1918, Denver volunteers made 23,295 sweaters, 56,736 pairs of socks and 24,705 wristlets. They used 37,000 pounds of wool to accomplish this.
Since then Coloradans have volunteered for the Red Cross around the state and around the world.
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