The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local News

January 6, 2010

Red Cross to open branch in Palestine

PALESTINE — A Red Cross branch office will be opening in Palestine in the near future, Heart of Texas Red Cross Chapter CEO Sandra Henderson told Palestine Rotary Club members Wednesday during the noon Rotary program.

“We will open a Red Cross branch office in Palestine at the new Meals on Wheels facility,” Henderson said.

The volunteer-led office will provide a part-time presence and will be one of four branch offices in the Heart of Texas Red Cross Chapter area, which serves 22 counties and 19,000 square miles, including Anderson, Leon and Freestone counties.

Interestingly, Henderson has ties to the Palestine area. She is the daughter of Frank and Frances McMullen of Palestine and graduated from Palestine High School.

After getting a degree in nursing from The University of Texas at Austin, Henderson spent nearly 15 years in Germany as she lived on base while her husband served overseas.

That was Henderson’s first experience with the American Red Cross.

“They sent an emergency message that his grandmother passed away,” Henderson said.

Within 48 hours, the Red Cross had located her husband and arranged for the family to fly to Texas for the services.

“Two weeks later we were back in Germany,” Henderson recalled. “There was no way our family could have came up with the money to have flown home.”

Upon their return to Germany, Henderson contacted the Red Cross and asked what she could do to help the organization in return for helping her family. That began Henderson’s volunteer and eventual career with the Red Cross. She first was asked to serve as a Lamaze instructor to prepare young moms-to-be on base for childbirth, especially since their children would be born in a German hospital. Later, she taught CPR for the Red Cross.

When her husband was stationed in Hawaii, Henderson worked again with the Red Cross, learning more skills and taking on more leadership roles. Her family then spent six years in Houston, where she worked for the Red Cross through Tropical Storm Allison and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

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