On Oct. 9, 1978, President Jimmy Carter, then honorary chairman of the National Red Cross, signed the CNMI Charter establishing a Red Cross office here in the Northern Mariana Islands.
Through the leadership of Gil Ada Sr., the Chapter began its long history of providing lifesaving help to those in need. In its early years the Chapter relied on guidance and assistance from the Guam Red Cross that had been established in 1910.
The Chapter took a major step forward in 1985 through the tireless dedication and guidance of Juan “Pan” Guerrero. Through his leadership and the assistance of the CNMI government, the Chapter obtained a small financial grant that allowed it to renovate one of the old Japanese bunkers along Airport Road as a Chapter office.
The original governing board included Guerrero, Becky K. Tenorio, Roman Palacios, Lynn Tenorio, Dr. Silvia Rouzard, and Lino Fritz. Through their vision and countless volunteer hours they helped lay the groundwork for the future success of the NMI Chapter.
Through major disasters during typhoons Kim, Koryn, Omar, Wilda, Zelda, Keith, Paka, Chata’an, Pongsona, Chaba, and Melor, the Red Cross provided emergency services as well as several million dollars of financial assistance to families in need.
Thirty-five years later, the Chapter continues to provide emergency response services 24/7 through its Disaster Action Team. Whether it’s providing clothing for a single-family fire victim; new bedding and a place to stay for a family affected by a flood; or assisting families affected by a recent aviation accident, the Red Cross is there!
In addition the Red Cross is the leading provider of health and safety training in the Commonwealth. Its cadre of highly trained instructors have taught thousands of individuals and businesses life-saving skill like CPR and first aid.
The Chapter also provides a vital communications link for the U.S. military. The Red Cross relays emergency communications to and from service members and their families during life threatening situations.
The NMI Chapter has a remarkable legacy of helping those in need and providing hope to families throughout the CNMI. None of this could be possible without the generosity of donors and volunteers who are the backbone and lifeblood of the Red Cross. Our humanitarian mission is fulfilled everyday by people in our community willing to help those in need!
Happy 35th birthday, Red Cross! (ARC)