Red Cross opened here in 1917

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Service center in Elizabethtown now is part of Louisville chapter

By Kelly Richardson



HARDIN COUNTY — Let’s hope they didn’t try to put all those candles on a cake.

The Hardin/LaRue Red Cross service center celebrated its 91st anniversary this month, along with several other Red Cross offices in Kentucky.

The service center was chartered in 1917 along with the majority of the 26 offices in the state, said Amber Youngblood, director of marketing and public relations for the Louisville Area Chapter.

Sharon Thompson, manager of the office in Elizabethtown, said she has seen many changes in the office during her time there.

She’s seen changes in the need for the Armed Forces Emergency Services, growth in the blood donation services, including the establishment of a fixed donor site in 1991 and development of an apheresis, or platelet extraction, program.

The Elizabethtown office began as its own chapter before becoming a service center for the Louisville chapter in 1983, Youngblood said.

Elizabethtown volunteers work on the state and national levels with Red Cross as well, Thompson said.

“As programs have grown and changed, we’ve been able to do the same thing,” she said.

Regina Lancaster of Elizabethtown serves on the board of the Elizabethtown office and the Blood Services Committee in Louisville. She has volunteered for Red Cross since 1961 and started volunteering “probably because I just like to help people,” she said.

She’s impressed with the staying power of the office in Elizabethtown.

“So many things are so gung-ho at first and then slack off and die down,” Lancaster said. But the Elizabethtown office hasn’t been one of them.

Mary E. Crosby of Elizabethtown has volunteered for Red Cross for 58 years. She has served in many capacities and now works with the Bloodmobile, doing “just anything they need me to do,” she said.

Her husband, Col. Leonard A. Crosby, was executive director of the Elizabethtown office for a time. She thinks the anniversary is “wonderful.”

Thompson said the anniversary shows how important the office is to the city.

“I think it’s wonderful because it shows the commitment of the community to keep the office here,” she said.

Kelly Richardson can be reached at (270) 505-1747.