Record recorder on display in Cleveland is symbol of her contributions
By Samantha Pudelski, American Red Cross volunteer
In 1945, at the peak of the American Red Cross support during WWII, 7.5 million volunteers along with 39,000 paid staff provided service to the military.
Juel Ward Collins was one of those volunteers. According to her son, Tom, Juel started volunteering for the Red Cross during WWII. She was proud of her assistance to the Red Cross mission and how she helped those who served our country in times of war. This volunteer work during the war began her lifetime of service on behalf of the Red Cross.
After the war, Juel continued to volunteer and went on to become part of the Red Cross staff in its Greater Cleveland chapter in the 1960s. She managed the West Shore office, where she oversaw services offered in the community. She coordinated the volunteers helping with both local and national disaster relief efforts, provided relief services in the field, and assisted at blood drives.
When members of the military were deployed during the Vietnam War, Juel once again provided service to those in the armed forces. Tom recalls his mother helping with paperwork during that time—assisting servicemen and women, with the help of their families, to obtain documents such as proof of citizenship. She also helped families by contacting a solider if there was a death or illness in the family. During the Vietnam War, the Red Cross handled more than 2,168,000 emergency communications between servicemen and their families.
Additionally, Juel worked to keep families connected by sending recorded letters to their loved ones overseas. Known as “Voices from Home,” the program engaged Red Cross volunteers like Juel to use a record recorder to record messages to send to servicemen. Tom graciously donated his mother’s record recorder to the Red Cross, which is now displayed in the Northeast Ohio Regional Office in Cleveland.
Juel’s contributions are a piece of Red Cross history. Her story represents the lifetime dedication of one inspirational woman as well as a testament to the support the Red Cross has provided to those who have served in the military.
Juel is just one of the many individuals who volunteer their time with the Red Cross. Learn how you can volunteer and make an impact like she did by visiting redcross.org/volunteer.
The Northeast Ohio Region of the Red Cross is grateful to Tom Collins for sharing the story of his mother’s dedicated service with the Red Cross throughout her lifetime.