On June 5, 1889, Clara Barton and workers with the American Red Cross came to the region to assist with relief efforts following the Johnstown Flood.
Some 125 years later, the American Red Cross Keystone Chapter continues to provide emergency services to those who are faced with hardships.
To mark the milestone, the nonprofit organization is planning to hold community events throughout the year.
The 20th annual Red Tie Gala will be held March 8 at the Pasquerilla Conference Center, 301 Napoleon St. in downtown Johnstown. The event serves as the chapter’s major fundraiser of the year.
A cocktail hour will be held at 6 p.m., with dinner to follow at 6:45.
“It’s a well-attended and popular event,” said Colleen Sherman, executive director of the Keystone Chapter. “It’s a chance for people to learn about the Red Cross and what we do. You’ll be able to spend some time reveling in the history of our community and see how far we’ve come since 1889.”
This year, when guests enter the ballroom they’ll be transported back in time to the heyday of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club and be treated as members of the former club.
There will a presentation from a female re-enactor who will portray the role of a volunteer who worked alongside Barton during her time in Johnstown.
Entertainment will be provided by the Reading-area Uptown Band, whose music includes originals and cover songs with elements of rhythm and blues, jazz, soul, funk, pop and rock.
“This is a fabulous band and we have people who attend the gala just for the band,” Sherman said.
In addition, a silent auction will be held. Attendees can bid on items donated from area merchants.
Tickets are $75 per person and can be purchased until March 7. Corporate sponsorships are available.
Proceeds from the gala will be used in Cambria and Somerset counties to support disaster services, preparedness and response training, and emergency services for local military personnel and their families.
“Our goal this year is to raise over $30,000,” Sherman said. “We receive no government assistance, so all money raised in this community stays in this community.”
Other celebratory events planned include Disaster’s Mud Run on May 17 at Camp Harmony in Hooversville. The youth run will feature obstacle courses and challenges.
A golf tournament is scheduled for June 2 at Sunnehanna Country Club.
Plans also are in the works to hold an event June 5 to commemorate Barton’s arrival in Johnstown.
“The Red Cross has remained in this community for 125 years because of the caring and giving people who want to see the services we provide stay, so we’re hoping to remain for another 125 years,” Sherman said.
For more information or to order tickets for the gala, call 262-3170.
Kelly Urban is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/KellyUrban25.