Celebrating a Century in Colorado

In 1914, just as WWI began, local visionaries saw the need to locate a Red Cross chapter in Colorado.

Join us in 2014 as we celebrate a century of Red Cross service, remember the many lives touched by Red Cross volunteers over the years and build the foundation for the Red Cross to continue serving Colorado for another 100 years and beyond.

CBS4 Denver is proud to be the official Media Partner of the American Red Cross of Colorado during its Century Celebration.

For the celebration of March being “Red Cross Month,” CBS4 aired a special program called “American Red Cross: A Colorado Century”.

Red Cross Century Celebration Events

We will be commemorating the many past and present contributions of the Red Cross and its volunteers in Colorado through a series of events and campaigns. Find out more about each event by visiting the Red Cross Events page.

Jan. 29Century Kick-off: We will officially launch a year-long celebration of the Red Cross on Jan. 29 in Denver.

Feb. 13Pueblo Hometown Heroes Dinner

MarchRed Cross Month: Since 1943, every U.S. president, including President Obama, has declared March “Red Cross Month” in honor of the contributions of the Red Cross to the safety and resilience of our communities. Join us and other leaders in Colorado as we show our support for the Red Cross.

March 22The Century of Champions Red Cross Ball (Denver) SOLD OUT!

April 1Pikes Peak Chapter Hometown Heroes Event (Colorado Springs)

April 23Celebrating a Century of Community Heroes Event (Fort Collins)

May 8Turn the State Red: Throughout May, CBS4 and many other businesses and institutions will be showing our support for the Red Cross by “Turning the State Red” and displaying Red Cross banners. We encourage you to join us on May 8, “International Red Cross Day” by wearing a Red Cross logo, pin, hat
– or just wearing red!

June 1-7CPR Week: CPR saves lives. Businesses and groups can get a corporate discount on group trainings by going to www.redcross.org/classes and using the discount code CBSCOLORADO1114

SeptemberSave a Life September: The Red Cross has been saving lives for 100 years in Colorado. You can save a life, too, by preparing yourself, your loved ones and your workplace for disasters and emergencies. You can learn to save a life! Take 2 minutes to watch this Red Cross hands-only CPR video and then sign up for the full training!

November 12Behind The Red Century Celebration: (Denver) More details to come on this exciting event!

November 14Official Red Cross 100-year Anniversary in Colorado

blizzard old response vehicle

historic transportation


In the spring of 1914, as tensions mounted towards what would become WWI, local visionaries saw the need to bring the services of the American Red Cross to the central mountains of the United States. Volunteer S. Putterer Morris led a loosely organized “Mountain Division of the Red Cross” consisting of Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Utah.

Morris and a small group of influential businessmen applied to the national American Red Cross for chapter charters, and on Nov. 21, 1914, the first Red Cross chapter charters were granted to serve Colorado. Additional chapters would be added in subsequent years, which later consolidated to the five chapters we have today.

The Red Cross was entirely volunteer-run for many years. Lawrence C. Phipps served as the first chairman of the Red Cross chapter in Denver. Over the course of the next century, Red Cross volunteers provided support for members of the military and veterans during and after every U.S. war; launched programs to teach water safety, CPR, first aid, disaster preparedness and other lifesaving skills; and provided aid during disasters large and small – here in Colorado, across the country and around the world.

wildfire colorado springs in front of destruction

2013 floods

Interesting Facts About the Red Cross in Colorado

The Red Cross has been serving the people of Colorado for 100 years. Did you know …

– The Red Cross responds to an average of more than 400 disasters each year in Colorado.

– Home fires are the No. 1 disaster to which the Red Cross responds. Although they are more frequent during cold months, the Red Cross responds to an average of about one home fire a day in Colorado.

– The Red Cross is a volunteer-led organization; locally, it started in with a handful of dedicated volunteers in 1914 and today about 96% of its workforce is made up of volunteers.

– The Red Cross is NOT a governmental agency. It’s a non-profit founded by volunteers. It does, however, have a Congressional Charter mandating that the Red Cross:

  • Provide aid to the sick and wounded of the armed forces in times of war
  • Uphold the Geneva Conventions
  • Serve as the official means of communication between the American public and members of the military during emergencies
  • And carry out a national and international system of disaster relief.

– The Red Cross has been teaching lifesaving skills in Colorado since 1915, starting with First Aid classes and expanding to include CPR, babysitting, AED training and more!

– Last year, more than 58,000 Coloradans took Red Cross training in lifesaving skills.

– The first services of the Red Cross in Colorado focused on assisting sick and wounded servicemen as the United States fought in WWI. In 1916, Red Cross volunteers launched a service to produce hospital supplies and comfort bags for wounded servicemen, and visited wounded soldiers and their families in Colorado.

– In 1960, the Red Cross in Colorado ran a ski program for war amputees as a way to help them rehabilitate. The program was organized by local Red Cross volunteers operating out of Fitzsimmons Hospital.

– The Red Cross continues its 100-year tradition of serving members of the Armed Forces. Today, local volunteers deliver emergency communications between local families and their deployed military members; support veterans hospitals and Wounded Warrior programs; and help military families in a variety of ways.

– In addition to serving members of the military locally, Colorado Red Cross volunteers have deployed overseas during times of war. Colorado residents served as “Donut Dollies” during WWII, ran clubmobiles to improve morale during the Vietnam War, and more.

– A Japanese earthquake in 1923 was the first disaster that Colorado Red Cross volunteers mobilized for; the Boulder chapter did a fundraising drive to help the people of Japan after President Coolidge made an appeal to the Red Cross nationwide.

– The first local disaster to which Colorado Red Cross volunteers responded was the Castlewood Dam break in 1933. The Red Cross came to the aid of farmers who were devastated by the resulting flooding.

– In addition to sudden disasters, the Red Cross has mobilized to help in times of famine. In 1934, the Colorado Red Cross distributed 90,000 barrels of flour to assist needy families in Colorado as a result of the Great Depression.

– The Red Cross has been there for Coloradans during all major disasters of the past century. Notable incidents include the Big Thompson flood in 1976, a tornado in Thornton in 1981, the crash of Continental Flight 1713 at Stapleton Airport in 1987, and numerous wildfires including Table Mountain, Black Tiger, Fourmile Canyon, Waldo Canyon, High Park and more.

– When manmade disasters strike, Red Cross volunteers are behind the scenes providing comfort and support to affected families. The Red Cross provided family assistance, mental health centers and/or canteening to families after the Columbine shooting, Aurora theater shooting and transportation disasters.

– As tensions escalated towards WWII, the Red Cross counted 20,000 volunteers in Denver alone! Today, we have about 2,000 dedicated volunteers in Colorado.

– The Red Cross doesn’t just respond to disasters, we also help people prepare for and prevent them. The first disaster preparedness workshops in Colorado were hosted in Adams County more than 40 years ago
– in 1970.

– The Mile High Chapter has a Transportation program that provides free rides for elderly and disabled residents to medical appointments and other vital weekly needs. The program evolved out of a Red Cross Motor Corps program that started way back in 1918 to help wounded WWI veterans!

– The Colorado Red Cross has contributed tens of thousands of dollars to support the Red Cross Measles Initiative, a program that has vaccinated more than one billion children against measles and rubella! For just one dollar, a vaccination can be administered to a child to protect him against these preventable, debilitating diseases.