When six-year-old Claire Stewart was given the task of learning and writing about a hero, she chose Clara Barton. Little did the Corpus Christi kindergartener know that she, in turn, would become a Red Cross hero, herself.

              Claire, the oldest of the three daughters of Elizabeth and David Stewart, attends St. James Episcopal School. Her teacher challenged her with an assignment to research and write four facts about someone they consider a hero. Perhaps it was because their first names are similar, but Claire chose Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross.

Claire at the Corpus Chritsti office

              “She didn’t know that (Barton) worked for the American Red Cross,” her mother Elizabeth said. “But I think she found a similarity in her name and went for it.”

              “And went for it” she did! Working with her parents, Claire prepared her report. Part of her research involved going to the offices of the Coastal Bend Chapter. When Claire toured the facility with her father, she was most impressed by the “white buckets.”

              “They have a bucket with all the supplies,” Claire said. “You need to clean your house after a disaster.”

              When Claire suggested to her father that they should donate money to the Red Cross, he said he wasn’t carrying any cash, but would donate online when they got home. Not wanting to wait, Claire pulled out $20 of birthday money from her purse and promptly made her donation.  She did it because she wants to help the Red Cross help others.

              “That was the sweetest thing,” Elizabeth Stewart said. “She just took it out of her little purse and gave it to them.”

              And what were the four facts Claire learned about Clara Barton? She first mentioned that Barton helped find more than 22,000 soldiers at the end of the Civil War. Claire also noted that Barton became known as “The Angel of the Battlefield,” that she founded the Red Cross in 1881, and that she led the organization for more than 20 years.

              “I think it was really cool that she happened to pick who she picked, because we could take her here to the American Red Cross,” Elizabeth said. “We are in an area where natural disasters happen. We have hurricanes here a lot.”

              The Stewart family, which in recent years moved to Corpus Christi from the Houston area, has seen the work of the Red Cross firsthand – especially in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in August 2017. “A bunch of tornadoes hit Houston and the American Red Cross was there,” she said. “It’s really easy to talk about with our children because we’re, you know, between hurricanes and tornadoes, I feel like we have we have seen them several times.”

              It may have been happenstance that Claire chose Clara Barton as her hero, but her mother is glad she did. “As soon as she said Clara Barton, I said, ‘Oh, well, we have some places we need to go because it’s so close to home,’” Elizabeth said. “So that’s been, I think, one of the coolest parts about her hero.” Perhaps. But there are many who feel that the “coolest part” of this experience is that six-year-old Claire Stewart is now a Red Cross hero, herself.

Just like Claire you too can Join Red Cross Giving Day by visiting redcross.org/texas to make a financial donation, give blood, become a volunteer, or take a class in lifesaving skills, such as first aid and CPR. You can also make a donation by visiting our website redcross.org/givingday to help provide shelter, food, relief items, emotional support and other assistance for people affected by disasters big and small.

              The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information about volunteering or contributing to the Red Cross’s mission, please call 1-800-RED-CROSS, visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or follow us on Twitter at @RedCross.

Story By: David Guth