American Red Cross Overseas Association

American Red Cross Overseas Association 

Humanitarian Service Award

(previously International Humanity Service Award)

Since 1954, the American Red Cross Overseas Association (ARCOA) has given an award to an individual or group judged as having provided significant service in the spirit of the Red Cross principle of humanitarianism.  In 2015, ARCOA’s Board of Directors adopted a recommendation to encourage members to nominate candidates (a) whose service is provided at the local, national or international level and (b) who are located in or near the city of that year’s annual convention. 

Criteria for selection: 

Ø     The Humanitarian Service Award is given to honor human kindness, benevolence and self-sacrifice in service to humanity. 

Ø     The service for which the award is recommended must be over and above the call of duty. 

Ø     If the nominee’s job or profession is relevant to the service for which he or she is being nominated, the recommendation for the award must include evidence that the service given is over and above what is required for the work for which the nominee is paid.  

Ø     Nominees from the political, scientific and educational fields will be considered, but the service for which they are nominated must meet all of the above criteria. 


Guidelines for nominating

Ø     Nominees may be any person or group in the world. 

Ø     Particular consideration will be given to service associated with the Red Cross and to candidates not already singled out for honors. 

Ø     Nominees may be an employee or volunteer of the Red Cross. 

Ø     Any member of ARCOA in good standing or any chartered and active ARCOA group may submit nominations, and they may submit more than one nomination in a given year. 

Ø     Nominations may be resubmitted in subsequent years for nominees not previously honored. 

Download the award application:  Humanitarian Service Award - 02.15.20.docx

Humanitarian Service Award History

1956 FATHER JAIME NERI, For work with poor in Philippine Islands.

1958          REVEREND RICCARDO SANTI, For establishing Casa Materna orphanage for children of Naples, Italy.

1959          BOB HOPE, For entertainment of American servicemen overseas during the Christmas-New Year holidays

1960          J. CLIFFORD MAC DONALD, For service to vision and mentally impaired children in the U.S

1961          ROBERT ROSENBAUM, For developing new industries and improving living conditions in many undeveloped countries.

1962          MOSE and GARRISON SISKIN, For aid to handicapped at Siskin Rehabilitation Center in Chattanooga, TN.

1963          MUSA BEY AL-ALAMI, Founder of Boys' Town in Jericho, Jordan, and for aid to refugees through Arab Development Society.

1964          HENRY VISCARDI, JR., Founder of Abilities Incorporated, providing training for the handicapped.

1965          GEORGE M. MARDIKIAN, For service to homeless in Armenia and to U.S. armed forces.

1966          E. ROLAND HARRIMAN, For years of service to American National Red Cross and as President and later as Chairman of the Board of Governors.

1967 IRENE AUBERLIN, Founder of World Medical Relief, Inc., providing medicine & supplies to the needy of the U.S. and other countries throughout the world.

1969 PEARL S. BUCK, Founder of Welcome House placing handicapped orphans and children of mixed parentage for adoption in American homes.

1971          MARY DE GARMO, Author of Introduction to Braille Music Transcription, enabling the blind to be a part of the world of music.

1972          RUTH LYONS, Television personality who established the Ruth Lyons Christmas Fund supplying toys, parties and playroom equipment for some 100 hospitals in Cincinnati viewing area.

1973          FATHER LUDGER MARTIN, C.P., For 27 years of devoted and creative work among the poor of Birmingham, AL.

1974          ALF R. THOMPSON, For leadership in organizing American Red Cross Overseas Association, inspiration in setting its goals, and dedication and generosity with which he served it for 25 years.

1975          DR. WILLIAM B. WALSH, Founder and president of Project Hope, for the vision and leadership that has carried its work of healing around the world.

1976          SIDNEY R. MITCHELL, For organizing programs of international student exchange, surgery for Mexican citizens, and training of youth for community service.Center. Her leadership, skill, and patience motivated others to care and share.

1977          JANICE GALLAGHER, Founder and international coordinator of Inca Equador, Inc., supporting the Inca Indians of Equador

1978          SISTER HENRIETTA GORRIS, C.S.A., Director of Our Lady of Fatima Mission.

1979          MORRIS S. FRANK, retired Vice President, Seeing Eye, Inc., For helping untold millions of persons, world-wide, gain independent mobility, self-esteem, and dignity through the creation of the Seeing Eye Dog.

1981          HENRIK BEER (Sweden), Secy. Gen., League of Red Cross Societies, For his leadership of Red Cross Societies throughout the world since WWI, working with adults and youth in 125 countries, and serving as Liaison Officer with UNRRA.

1982          MARIANNA KISTLER BEACH, For her volunteer work with the InterAmerican Children’s Institute, founded in 1927 in Montevideo, Uruguay, to provide opportunities for optimum development to the children of the Americas.

1983 GEORGE McKEE ELSEY, a humanitarian of international scope, distinguished public service, and American Red Cross President from 1970 to 1982.

1984          BILLY BARTY, Founder of Little People of America, Inc., and international champion of people of short stature.

1985          JAN C. SCRUGGS, a Vietnam Veteran, for leadership in establishment of the Vietnam Memorial, a symbol of national reconciliation in Washington, D.C.

1986 SASHIKO HASHIMOTO, For contribution to world peace through youth education, not only in Japan but throughout the world, and for her work in behalf of the disabled.

1987          CLARA "MOTHER" HALE, Founder of Hale House Center, for leadership in establishing a center dedicated to the healing of drug-addicted children through love and positive reinforcement.

1988          DRS. KUNIO and YOSHIE HOSHINO, Volunteer medical missionaries in Cebu, Philippines, and for doing research on leprosy.

1989          MILLARD FULLER, Founder of Habitat for Humanity, an international network of community projects, which brings together volunteers and financial resources to refurbish or build affordable homes for needy families.

1990          JOYCE GARRETT, for her ability over 18 years to motivate and inspire hundreds of Eastern High School students from one of the poorest and crime-ridden neighborhoods of Washington, DC, to overcome personal problems, gain self esteem, continue their education, and delight local and worldwide audiences with their wonderful music

1992          GLEN and MILDRED LEET - Founders of theTrickle Up Program, for creating opportunities and economic and social well-being among low-income populations of the world.

1993          DR. JAMES W. TURPIN, Project Concern International, a health organization dedicated to helping those in need, both overseas and in the U.S., to receive medical services which they might not otherwise be able to obtain. 1994 - A. R. BROWN, Prison Crusade Ministries, whose programs are aimed at prevention of crime, rehabilitation, and help for those hurting from lack of life's basic necessities.

1995          FORMER PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER and FORMER FIRST LADY ROSALYNN CARTER For initiating The Atlanta Project (TAP) with goals for the enhancement of life in urban areas; empowerment of residents to take the lead in bringing about change in their communities; to unite Atlanta by bridging schisms of race, class, and gender; collaboration between service providers and other groups; and service as a model for other cities.

1996          ALVIRITA LITTLE honored for her role in establishing The Girls Club of Puget Sound for "at risk" African American girls.

1997          BETTY BEAMAN JOHN, who with her husband, Dr. Henry John, founded Camp Ho Mita Koda for children with diabetes in 1929, which is today the oldest continuing camp for diabetic children in the world providing a model for other camps serving youngsters with chronic diseases and health problems.

1999          OPERATION SMILE, so designated because volunteer teams of plastic surgeons travel overseas to perform operations on low-income children with cleft lip and palate problems, burn scars, and other skin abnormalities.

2000          BROTHER JOHN MARTIN, S.J., Director of the Cincinnati, OH, Mary Magdalen House, an "oasis" for the poor and homeless individuals in Cincinnati's Over-The-Rhine neighborhood.

2001          BROTHER RICHARD J. CURRY, S.J., Founder and Artistic Director of The National Theatre Workshop of the Handicapped since its establishment in 1977.

2003     DAVID HOLMES MORTON, M.D., founder of the Clinic for Special Children. Also recognized is the contribution to this non-profit medical diagnostic service by Dr. Morton's wife, ARCOA'n Caroline Smith Morton. The clinic was established in Lancaster County, PA, to deal with inherited disorders that occur in Pennsylvania Old Order Amish and Mennonite communities.

2005        FISHER HOUSE FOUNDATION, for constructing and donating comfort homes at U. S. veterans' medical facilities throughout the country

2008          TURNING POINTE DOMESTIC SERVICES OF SHELTON, WA, which has established a professional reputationin the surrounding area, serving 1500 persons in 2007.

2009          HEIFER INTERNATIONAL, an organization dedicated to helping one family at a time achieve financial security with the gift of a farm animal and the expertise to care for it and then share its reproduction with a worthy friend or neighbor.

2010          KIM PHUC FOUNDATION, named for the little girl pictured running down the road burned by napalm, and established in 1997 by VN veterans to fund the work of international organizations providing free medical assistance to victims of war and terrorism.

2011          STAND DOWN, a national organization based in San Diego, CA, for establishment throughout the U.S. of weekend encampments for homeless veterans offering free medical care, camaraderie, and basic needs, as well as compassionate caregivers.

2012        St. Louis Honor Flight, a non-profit organization started in 2005 when 6 small planes flew out of Springfield, Ohio, to take veterans to Washington DC. This organization is credited solely to honor American Veterans for all their sacrifices. Honor Flight transports the HEROES to Washington DC to visit and reflect at their memorials.

2013        The D.O.V.E. (Development of Vietnam Endeavors) Fund is a non-profit corporation founded by several Vietnam veterans, Rotarians, and other concerned citizens in January 2000 in Toledo, Ohio. The goal is to provide humanitarian and development assistance to areas in Vietnam; to promote communication, education and cultural exchanges that reflect the best qualities of both cultures, and to create an environment brightened by hope and sustained by peace. 

2014        The Elizabeth Dole Foundation – Established in 2012 to elevate the critical issue of the challenges and needs of millions of family members serving as caregivers to wounded veterans.  Developing partnerships, providing resources, and creating public awareness of these “hidden heroes.”

2015     The Valor Club of San Antonio provides a place for the healing power of sport to help veterans.

2016      krma USPARTNERS -  A partnership that supported 20 women in a Ugandan village who survived the violence of a resistance army.  They shared resources and cooperated in feeding and caring for their children.  Now they are working to move from subsistence living to developing a life of commercial farming.  

2019     Friends of Fisher House Charleston SC - Maintains comfort homes where military and veteran families can stay free of charge while a loved one is in the hospital.  Fisher House Charleston is the only one in South Carolina.

2022     Service to the Armed Forces, ARC, in honor of all the staff and volunteers of the Europe Division for their efforts in assisting
Afghan refugees and American evacuees during Operation Allies Refuge, Aug-Oct 2021.

2023   Nellie and Tom Coakley have been involved in serving the needs of veterans and the amputee population at large. As a nurse who served in Vietnam, Nellie has been counseling veterans and their families in war trauma for 30 years. Tom, who lost his leg in Vietnam, has been active in various organizations addressing the medical response to limb amputation. 

American Red Cross Overseas Association (ARCOA) is a 501(c)4 non-profit organization.
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