Clarissa Harlowe Barton is one of the few, yet great women contributors to our society of all time. More popularly known as Clara Barton, she was able to provide meaningful contributions to the field of public health. Let us get to know Clara Barton a little more by narrating some interesting parts of her personal life and how she became an icon of hope and a heroine for all those who knew her humanitarian contributions. Barton was born in the town of North Oxford in Massachusetts on the 25th of December in 1821.
Her passion for humanity and concern for other people was palpable even at a young age when she was strained to absent herself from school in order to care for her younger brother who was injured after falling from the roof of the barn. (Cliffe, 2002) In 1852, Barton grew up to be a schoolteacher in Highstown, New Jersey. She enjoyed teaching children, causing her to establish her own educational institution based in Bordenstown. After two years of teaching and managing the school, Barton was replaced as superintendent of the school.
After two more years, she obtained a desk job in an office. She performed well in her occupation as a clerk. However, after three years of maintaining a well-paying and stable job, her life suddenly changed with the onset of the American Civil War. (Cliffe, 2002)She got involved with helping military servicemen who were wounded and hungry. Barton braved the war and went into the battlefield to provide the army with food, clothes, and their other needs.
Everyone knew her as the “Angel of the Battlefield. ” (American Red Cross, 1998) After the American Civil War, Barton visited Europe where she came upon an organization called the International Red Cross. She was interested with the organization and took it upon herself to understand the mission and objectives of International Red Cross. Barton saw the meaning in helping victims of war as the organizations led efforts to assist during the Franco-Prussian War.
She immediately appealed to the U. S. Senate and the White House in agreeing to become member of the organization. When the government approved of her recommendation, she became the known founder and the head of the Red Cross in the U. S. (Cliffe, 2002) The American National Red Cross started out without any funds and during the next years, Barton struggled to stabilize the growth of the organization. She also made sure that the organization would remain true to its mission and objectives.
Barton was there during the forest fire in Michigan, the flood in Johnstown, the tsunami in Galveston, the war in Cuba, and wherever the upheaval was. She was always ready to lend a hand to those who are in dire need of help and assistance. (Cliffe, 2002) The organization concentrated on assisting the government during disasters. Moreover, funds to accomplish this aim was obtained through the efforts of Barton who was urging people from all places for monetary donations and other relief goods such as clothing and food. (American Red Cross, 1998)
Barton’s good heart earned the world several other Red Cross organizations as more and more foreign countries established their own cause-oriented group. Basically, through Barton’s humanitarian advocacies, the consciousness and awareness of people were reawakened in order to realize the importance of helping people, especially those who are experiencing the upshots of disasters and calamities. In addition, the organization leads the frontier of humanitarianism by the mission and objectives that it is trying to accomplish through time.
From then on, the American Red Cross have been actively involved in disaster relief all over the world, however, focusing more on national incidences, service administration and communication needs to members of the army, made contributions to public health, donations for blood and tissues, and other programs that promote health and safety, such as first aid. (American Red Cross) Barton kept the structure of the organization decentralized, which allowed leaders from subordinate organizations, independent in handling and administering the mission and objectives of the organization (Morrow, 1996).