Red Cross Heroes: Alfred L. Castle - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Red Cross Heroes: Alfred L. Castle

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The Red Cross has helped so many in our islands  Whether helping whole communities in times of Tsunamis and Hurricanes or when fires take whole houses and families are left homeless.   But who gave the Red Cross it's start?

The founding father of the Red Cross in Hawaii is Alfred L. Castle.  He was the general field director for the Red Cross when Hawaii was a Territory in 1918.  His grandson, Al Castle, recalled what happened to help lead up to the founding of the Red Cross.

"There really were two significant events with the Red Cross that he was involved with.  He and a group of community leaders led an expedition in 1918 to Viladivostok, Russia; and this was part of my grandfather's vision that the Red Cross was more than for Hawaii; it was for the Pacific'" <09:55:51:02> 

The other was something that Naval Historians picked up on a number of years ago.  Alfred Castle had led a secret effort prior to the start of World War II.  The Roosevelt Administration and Secretary of War, Henry Stimpson, asked him to quietly and secretly bring nurses, blood for transfusions, bandages & medical equipment to Hawaii over a 6 month period prior to Pearl Harbor.

"On Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 1941, the doors of Castle & Cooke warehouses in Iwilei opened up and the trucks came forward, many lives were saved in the civilian population and also at Pearl Harbor when these medical supplies sort of magically appeared.  And it was a great moment for the Red Cross."

"Those medical supplies and the nurses that came with them, saves scores of life in Hawaii.  To me it's a great example of the Red Cross doing it's job, often quietly, often unseen.  It's always there."

Alfred Castle served on many community, foundation and charitable boards in his lifetime. But he would also served as a member of the Central Committee of the American National Red Cross. He became the first man to receive a 60 year recognition award from the American Red Cross for his service In the 1970's the Red Cross Building on Diamond Head road was named the Alfred L. Castle Memorial Building It continues to serve as the headquarters for the American Red Cross in Hawaii.

"So he was committed to the Red Cross, maybe was most important to him because he saw that as a community service organization that served everybody regardless of their class their race, their gender, their religion their language; that it was sort of the glue organizations for Hawaii at the time."

And it continues to be that glue today.

Alfred L. Castle, Red Cross Special Recognition Hero

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