March is Women's History Month, an annual recognition of the contributions of women to events in our history and contemporary society.
The Hickman County Historical & Genealogical Society is once again drawing attention to the accomplishments of ladies in our local area.
The Red Cross lady volunteers provided many services in our county across the years. Many served as "Gray Ladies" at our local Clinton/Hickman County Hospital.
The Gray Lady service was a Red Cross volunteer women's organization which was begun in 1918. The ladies acted as hostesses and provided recreational services to patients at the Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C. where the organization was founded. Most of their patients were servicemen who had been injured during World War I.
As their mission developed, the Auxiliary members were seen in hospitals, sanatoria, rest homes, clinics and convalescent centers across the U.S. Qualified volunteers ranged in ages and completed various tasks (in some cases men also helped), especially for people who were incapacitated through illness for long periods of time, polio patients being an important example.
Locally, our Gray Ladies assisted with the recurring Red Cross blood drives here in Clinton. They delivered mail, flowers, magazines and newspapers at our local hospital, moving up and down the halls pushing a small metal cart filled with goodies. The ice cream treats surely helped when you were a six year old laid up after a tonsillectomy.
Many of us can remember our grandmothers, mothers, and aunts in their Red Cross and Gray Ladies uniforms making their mark on our community by helping those who suffered.