The president of Australian Red Cross, Ross Pinney, congratulated Cootamundra Red Cross on its 100th year of 'active service' at a lunch at the Country Club on Wednesday.
Mr Pinney said the essence of Red Cross was "people helping people", and Cootamundra could celebrate 100 years of compassion, kindness and dedication of members, volunteers and staff.
Delivering his keynote address at the luncheon, Mr Pinney said the Cootamundra branch had been there across the decades, "through the tears and laughter, triumphs and struggles", helping people no matter who or where they are.
Acknowledging the difference Red Cross was making every day in Cootamundra, he noted the staff and volunteers of the Red Cross shop this year had been awarded the Cootamundra Development Corporation award for community contribution.
"You send clothing to Africa through Romeo Remi, a Nigerian Australian who collects it and takes it to his homeland delivering it to people there in small hamlets," he said.
"You send toiletries to victims of violence and women in refuges in Wagga Wagga and sanitary packs to women in Cambodia through Free to Shine. You send bonnets and booties for newborns to the local hospital and library bags for students at primary schools.
"You partnered with the Country Women's Association to send hampers to drought-stricken farmers.
"It's heartbreaking to see our fellow Australians facing one of the longest and cruelest droughts we've ever seen, and it's also inspiring to watch the human spirit in the face of adversity, our staff and volunteers delivering hampers to farmers, providing cups of tea and coffee and a friendly ear.
"The Cootamundra branch is so active in the community, it's amazing what an impact you have.
"You show us how you are adapting, being spontaneous and resourceful in an ever-changing world while staying true to what we stand for and delivering what the red cross emblem demands of us."
The CEO of Red Cross Australia, Judy Slatyer, also addressed guests at the lunch, presenting certificates of appreciation to seven people who have served locally for more than 15 years.
Ms Slatyer said the first support on record for the Red Cross in Cootamundra was the sale every year of sprigs of wattle.
Although no records exist, it is thought the Cootamundra branch was established at the beginning of WWI in 1914 but was disbanded after eight years, in 1922.
It then reformed in 1927, adding up to 100 years this year.
The centenary lunch was attended by 60 guests, including branch members from Junee/Illabo, Yass, Gundagai and Wallendbeen.
Among mementos on display was a photo of Una Sides, who joined the Red Cross in 1924 at the age of five and was a member for an astounding 70 years, earning a gilt rosette in 2003.
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