The American Red Cross serving Oklahoma has announced that the former Gov. Frank Keating and his wife Cathy have accepted the role of statewide Centennial Chairpeople for the American Red Cross throughout 2017.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first Oklahoma chapter of the Red Cross during World War I, and the organization has continued to meet the needs of Oklahomans through disaster relief, blood and platelet donations, personal health and safety training, services to the armed forces and international assistance ever since.
Frank Keating has a long family history of working with the Red Cross. Both his mother and grandmother were Red Cross volunteers in Tulsa and Illinois respectively during World War II, and his father served as the Red Cross and United Way Campaign Chairman for two terms. Keating himself along with his wife Cathy volunteered with the organization as members of a Red Cross team to Haiti following the 2010 earthquake. As governor from 1995 – 2003, Keating led the state’s recovery efforts following the Oklahoma City federal building bombing. “The Red Cross was present and accounted for,” Keating said as he recalled the early days of the tragedy. “Anytime you see a need, the Red Cross is there. In times of bad weather, fires or disaster, the Red Cross is always present. What a wonderful, spirited and giving legacy.”
Cathy Keating’s first memory of the Red Cross was collecting money in little Red Cross boxes at school. Three and a half months after becoming Oklahoma’s First Lady, the bombing incident brought her much closer involvement with the relief efforts of the Red Cross. “We were thrown into a different kind of service,” she said. “We were very involved with the Red Cross at that time, sheltering families, serving meals. We experienced the Red Cross in a fabulous way.” Keating, who has been a lifelong volunteer for many organizations, added that it isn’t just man-made tragedies that brings the Red Cross. The Red Cross responds to home fires and weather disasters as well. “The Red Cross is an essential part of the fabric of any state, but Oklahoma is the heart of tornadoes. They are always there to pick up the pieces, and no one does it better!”
“We are honored that Gov. Keating and Mrs Keating have accepted the role of Centennial chairpeople for Oklahoma,” said Brad Barghols, regional CEO and executive director for the American Red Cross serving central and southwest Oklahoma. “They are true humanitarians, and their service to our state particularly in times of disaster has been invaluable. It just made sense to ask them to support the Red Cross in this capacity as we reflect back on the past century and look forward to the next.”
For more information, visit redcross.org/Oklahoma.