I am a Red Cross volunteer. The Red Cross had a fund-raiser entitled "Heroes" and was in need to raise $25,000. I approached the VFW here in Chaffee and told that they were not for the Red Cross, as they had to pay for anything they got in some countries. I explained they could not even be in their country to assist military personnel unless the Red Cross agreed to charge (what their cost was) for this service, giving them the permission to be in said country. The VFW refused to make a donation whatsoever. I contacted Ron at the Cape Girardeau Red Cross office and he sent me the following information explaining why they were required to charge. The veterans I talked to did not know that was the reason for the charge. After I explained this to the VFW members at a meeting, they agreed to donate $200 to the Red Cross.
I hope you will be so kind to put this information in your paper to explain the situation. They have had this grudge against the Red Cross for over 60 years and I think they should be advised of this situation.
John Halter, volunteer
American Red Cross
Editor's note: The following is a letter from the Secretary of War to the Red Cross regarding charges in Red Cross clubs:
"Over 60 years ago, in 1942, the United States military authorities in Great Britain requested the Red Cross to establish clubs in certain cities in that area with a view to providing, as circumstances dictate, sleeping accommodations and meals in addition to the usual recreational facilities. The provision of food and lodging for enlisted personnel while on furlough, and at prices within their means, is a most important recreational facility, as many soldiers cannot otherwise avail themselves of leave privileges. The Red Cross officials appear to be reluctant to provide these accommodations, except on a basis of no charge to servicemen. ...
"The War Department appreciates the motive of the Red Cross with respect to this matter and its established policy of free service, but under the circumstances it is believed impractical, unnecessary and undesirable that food and lodging be furnished free. ... It is believed advisable that American soldiers be required to pay at least the actual cost of meals and lodging furnished for their convenience and benefits while on furlough. Such procedure is considered a sound business arrangement and conforms to local practice. It is therefore believed that such procedure should be adopted because of its merit rather than because the local military commander requests that charges be made for the proposed services.
"The War Department recommends that the Red Cross authorities in the British Isles be authorized to provide these services at such cost as they deem appropriate."