Published: Friday, November 2, 2007
Red Cross from China visits Valley
The 'sister chapter'
spearheaded by Florence Wang.
By WILLIAM K. ALCORN
BOARDMAN The Mahoning County Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Qingdao Branch of the Red Cross Society of China will continue a "sister chapter" relationship, which they said has been beneficial to both organizations.
Also under serious consideration is expanding the project to include six other Northeast Ohio Red Cross chapters, said W. Russell Preston, executive director of the Mahoning County Red Cross.
The other Northeast Ohio chapters that may become part of the exchange with Qingdao are Trumbull, Summit, Medina and Portage counties, and Wadsworth and Barberton, with Summit County as the lead chapter, Preston said.
Adding those chapters to Mahoning County, which Preston said he expects within a year, would provide more resources and put the American chapters on more of an equal footing population-wise with Qingdao.
Qingdao is a key economic center and port city of about 7 million, located on China's east coast.
As part of an every-other-year visit, an eight-member delegation from the Qingdao Branch, headed by its vice president, Dr. Ding Gang, met Thursday with staff and board members of the Mahoning County Red Cross.
Also in attendance were representatives of the Medina and Summit County Red Cross chapters.
In October 2006, a delegation from the Mahoning County Red Cross, which included representatives from the Medina Red Cross, visited Qingdao.
The 'sister chapter' relationship between the two organizations was spearheaded by Florence Wang, former chairman of the Mahoning County Red Cross board of directors, and was formalized by signing a memorandum of agreement in October 2002.
"She has been the life blood of this program," Preston said of Wang.
The Chinese Red Cross officials were particularly interested in learning about the American Red Cross water safety and lifeguard program, because their city will host some of the water events of the 2008 Summer Olympics.
A presentation on the Red Cross' newly revised lifeguard and water safety programs was made by Robert Bowman, an instructor at Youngstown State University. The Chinese were also given a copy of the program manual, which was translated into Chinese by YSU professors, Peter Chen and Andy Chang.
The Chinese also wanted to learn how the Mahoning County chapter does fundraising and recruits volunteers.
Although the salaries of the Chinese Red Cross personnel are paid by the government, private money and help from volunteers are needed to provide services and programs, the delegation's interpreter, Sun (Lucy) Hunyang, said.
Founded in 1904, the Red Cross Society of China functions as a humanitarian social relief organization. It is involved in the management of the national blood program and has provided assistance to wounded soldiers and refugees and victims of natural disasters.
"Our mission is peace and love," said Dr. Ding. "The logo of the 2008 Summer Olympics is 'One World, One Dream.' Our [Chinese Red Cross] president thinks we should have the logo of 'One Red Cross, One Dream,'" he said.