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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Preserving a Piece of Red Cross History for our 100th year Celebration

By Andrea Stone/American Red Cross

 Forgotten for more than 30 years, it was a piece of Red Cross histoy wrapped in the pages of history.

Painting by Glen Ault completed in 1943-44 to support
Red Cross blood drives during WWII. Photo by
Andrea Stone/American Red Cross
When 84-year-old Rosemary Ault was doing her spring cleaning, she found a painting with the slogan “Blood Saves Lives” above a Red Cross tent. The painting, done by her husband in the 1940s, had been wrapped in an issue of the Gazette Telegraph dated June 9, 1946.

“It was hung for a while, I think, and then wrapped in this ever since … I talked to his sister about it, and she thought it was probably in his junior year, which would’ve been 1943-44,” she said.

During the years of World War II, the Red Cross, at the military’s request, initiated a national blood program that collected 13.3 million pints of blood for use by the armed forces.

In addition to the blood drives, the Red Cross enrolled more than 104,000 nurses for military service, prepared 27 million packages for American and Allied prisoners of war and shipped more than 300,000 tons of supplies overseas.

Glen Ault’s inspiration for the painting may have been the extensive work of the Red Cross during those years, but whatever his inspiration, the painting sat, forgotten.

“I found it just a short time ago behind a dresser. It’s been there all these years,” she said. Rosemary Ault has lived in the house for 36 years.

The couple, who moved to Colorado Springs in 1947, met on a blind date and were married for 43 years until Glen Ault’s death in 1991. Rosemary Ault said she doesn’t know what might have motivated her husband to paint the picture, but when she found it, she couldn’t bear to get rid of it.

“I just thought, ‘I can’t throw it away after it’s been saved all those years, even though I didn’t know it was there,” she said. “I just felt somebody ought to have it.”

Rather than getting rid of it, Ault donated the painting to the Pikes Peak Chapter of the American Red Cross in Colorado Springs.  The painting will be framed and hung in the Chapter office as a reminder of the contribution the Red Cross made during that important part of American history.

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