In the past year, 30 Red Cross and Red Crescent staff and volunteers have been killed in conflict zones

World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day is Wednesday, May 8, recognizing Red Cross volunteers for the lifesaving support they provide to people in need around the world – in war zones, remote villages and here at home.

“One in 65 people in the world is helped by Red Cross or Red Crescent staff and volunteers each year,” said Heidi Ruster, Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross Utah/Nevada Region. “These teams in the U.S. and globally respond to emergencies, such as earthquakes, military conflicts, migration crises and health epidemics. They also help communities prepare for future disasters.”

The Red Cross and Red Crescent network is active in nearly every country, often in areas of danger and under strife. “We’re a front-line humanitarian organization helping those most impacted by conflict and disaster,” Ruster said. “And we count on volunteers to carry out much of the work.”

In recent years, humanitarian assistance has been provided in Ukraine to help those devastated by war and in Turkey and Syria, to help people recover from earthquakes. “And also, in countries that have not received international media coverage, such as Ethiopia, Sudan, Yemen and the Sahel Region of Africa – Red Cross and Red Crescent is there, too,” Ruster said. “But greater support is desperately needed to save lives and avert further suffering.”

Trained Red Cross of Utah volunteers and staff have deployed to every major disaster in the U.S., including flooding in California and Texas, tornadoes in Oklahoma and Kansas, wildfires in Hawaii and hurricanes in Florida and Puerto Rico. “And our generous local volunteers last year responded to 250 home fires across the state, helping over 800 people in their time of need,” Ruster said. “The Red Cross needs more help, around the world and right here at home. World Red Cross Day can remind all of us to get involved.”

Celebrate World Red Cross Day by volunteering

Across the nation, over 275,000 Red Cross volunteers serve by responding to disasters, supporting blood collection for transfusions, assisting military families and preparing communities for emergencies, among other vital activities. In Utah, over 1,500 volunteers supported Red Cross efforts in 2023. Visit to learn how you can make a difference, especially when disasters strike here in Utah, across the country and around the world.

According to a 2021 study by the U.S. Census Bureau and AmeriCorps, about 23.2% of Americans, or over 60.7 million people, have formally volunteered through organizations, contributing an estimated 4.1 billion hours valued at $122.9 billion. In Utah, nearly 1 million residents volunteered in 2021, generating an economic value of $2.7 billion.

History of World Red Cross & Red Crescent Day
The first Red Cross Day was celebrated May 8, 1948. The official title became “World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day” in 1984. The date is the anniversary of the birth of Henry Dunant, born May 8, 1828. He was the founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and recipient of the first Nobel Peace Prize.

About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members, and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit or, or follow us on social media.