Leadership of the American Red Cross chapters in Medina, Summit and Portage counties will merge after the July 11 retirement of Beth Kilchenman, the Medina County chapter’s executive and a Red Cross employee for 27 years.
Operations and staffing will continue at the Medina County chapter, as well as at the Summit and Portage chapter, which combined in 2008.
However, both groups will be served by a single executive and a new board of directors, according to a news release from the American Red Cross on Wednesday.
“The union of the chapters will ensure consistent services and maximize donated dollars in support of the Red Cross mission to alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies,” the Red Cross said. “The union will allow equipment, and staff and volunteers’ skill sets to be shared seamlessly.”
Representatives from both chapter boards who will form the new board “are committed to providing the same high quality service delivery to all three counties as in the past,” the release said.
“Volunteers will continue to be embedded in the fabric of every activity at the local level, and contributors can be assured that the Red Cross will continue to honor donor intent for specific programs, events and communities,” the agency said.
The Summit County Chapter of the American Red Cross was organized by nurse Mary Gladwin in 1916. The following year, Portage County residents petitioned the American Red Cross to form a chapter. The two became the American Red Cross of Summit and Portage Counties in 2008.
The American Red Cross of Medina County was formed in 1917 by Judge Nathan McClure, Lee Elliott, and C.D. Wightman. In 2008, the Medina County Chapter and the Wadsworth Service Delivery Unit merged to serve the entire county.
The Northeast Ohio Region of the American Red Cross serves 22 counties and their 4.5 million residents by preventing, preparing for and responding to emergencies 24 hours per day, seven days a week.