"To renew and continue friendships created while serving overseas with the American Red Cross, to keep alive the spirit which prompted that service, to contribute to international understanding, to engage in community service, to work for the mutual benefit of the members of the organization." These are the aims of the American Red Cross Overseas Association as expressed by Alf R. Thompson, our founder, and written into our constitution.
The American Red Cross Overseas Association is an independent national organization with a fellowship of men and women who have, across many decades and countless miles, experienced the rewards and hardships of serving abroad to assist U. S. military personnel, help disaster sufferers, lend knowledge, and support developing Red Cross and Red Crescent societies as they seek to broaden their capabilities.
To read about the roots of the Red Cross program that created ARCOA -- the Supplemental Recreation Activities Overseas -- click here for a PDF of Sue Behren's history.
ARCOA has, in the decades since its 1949 founding, also welcomed family members of those who have served overseas and friends who actively support the association's programs as associate members. It is pledged to continue its supportive relationship to the American Red Cross while developing its own
independent programs and activities, which include: International Humanity Service Award - presented to an individual or organization nominated by an ARCOA member or group. Its recipients have included both U.S. and foreign humanitarians.
Fall Memorial Service- a service of remembrance for all who have died is conducted annually in the garden at the American Red Cross National Headquarters at the foot of the statue donated by ARCOA and created by the world famous sculptor of the Iwo Jima Marine Memorial, Felix de Weldon.
Historical Resources - when requested by the Red Cross, historical researchers, authors, and documentarians for response, ARCOA provides contacts with members who can provide first-person information related to the requested subject.
Meetings - Two national meetings are scheduled each year, two open board meetings and one national convention. Locations vary widely in order to provide convenience of access by attendees from various parts of the U.S., with the exception of the Fall Board meeting that is held in Washington, D.C. in conjunction with the Memorial Service.
Service To Our Own and Mary Louise Dowling Leadership Fund - donations from members sustain two funds used to provide small grants to qualifying members. One is designed to help medical or welfare needs. The other is for assistance with educational needs.
Publications - Each dues paying member receives a copy of the biennial Membership Directory and 3 newsletters (per year), The Oversea'r, which covers organizational events and news from and about members.
Tours and Reunions - these events, which have included both localized and international ones, occur at the initiative of interested members. In addition we may keep in touch by group emails and other web stories.