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Champion Angel

On December 25, 1821, American teacher, nurse, and humanitarian Clara Barton was born. At 12 years of age, Barton began to care for her brother who had been injured in a fall from a barn roof and become bedridden. At 18 she had passed examinations and began teaching school. Combining her organizational skills, Barton spent 18 years teaching, advancing her education, and establishing schools in Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey.

When the American Civil War began [1861], Barton was ripe for a new service. In Washington, she organized temporary quarters and supplies for injured troops. She was soon permitted to transport supplies to battlefields where she served in the field, tending the wounded of the Union and the Confederacy. As the war continued, the “Angel of the Battlefield” organized wagons of materials and medical supplies for doctors and surgeons. She helped establish field hospitals.

At war’s end, President Abraham Lincoln approved Barton to help locate missing soldiers. She directed a four-year search for missing men, managing to locate and mark thousands of graves and answer tens of thousands of letters of inquiry.

Travelling in Europe to regain her strength, she read bout the International Red Cross that had formed a few years before in Europe during the first Geneva Convention that dealt with the treatment of men wounded in battle. Within a few months, Barton was sponsored by the International Red Cross to organize relief efforts in the Franco-Prussian War.

On her return to the U.S.A. she worked to educate the public, lobby government officials, and gather support for the formation of the American Association of the Red Cross. She attracted and kept field agents and staff as the Red Cross went into national action. Forest fire response. Flood response. Epidemic response. Earthquake. Drought. Tornado. Wherever help was needed, the Red Cross delivered.

After 25 years of service to the American Red Cross, Barton retired… Barton style… that meant paid speaking engagements and the writing of books. Named in her memory, are schools, roads, university halls and residences, and a National Historic Site.

B Bondar / Real World Content Advantage