Twenty-seven years after the death of Dr. Charles R. Drew, the world still reaps the benefit of his pioneer work in the field of mass blood collection and processing.
Now, Drew's name will again preside over the blood work done by the Washington chapter of the American Red Cross.
Approximately 200 people, including 13 members of Drew's family, local politicians, civic leaders, Red Cross officials and volunteers gathered Sunday to dedicate the new Charles R. Drew Blood Center which occupies the main floor of the Red Cross Building at 2025 E St. NW.
A copy of a portrait of Drew, painted by Betsy Graves Reyneau, was unveiled at the ceremony. It now hangs in the main entrance of the new center.
Drew, who died in an automobile accident in 1950 at 46, was a lifetime Washington resident who graduated from Dunbar High School at First and N Streets NW and later received degrees from Amherst College in Massachusetts and McGill University Medical School in Montreal.
Drew was most noted for his efforts during WorldWar II. He turned laboratory experiments and blood research into mass production for shipment to Great Britain when England was threatened by invasion. When the threat of attack passed, Drew became medical supervisor of a Red Cross pilot program as the United States readied for war, and he led a highly successful blood procurement program during the hostilities.
After graduating from McGill, Drew started teaching pathology at Howard University in 1935 and eventually advanced to assistant professor of surgery. Later he studied on a Rockefeller scholarship at Columbia in New York and worked on the Plasma for Britain project. He returned to Howard after the war.
Drew's widow Lenore came to Washington a year after their marriage in 1939 and now lives at Connecticut Avenue and Tilden Street NW.
"I think when a man has been dead for a quarter of a century and they dedicate something to him, it's really something," said Mrs. Drew. "He's one of the lucky ones. People appreciated him as he went along. He was very dedicated, a real hard worker. People gave him his bouquets along the way. Not everyone can say that." Drew's daughter, Dr. Charlene Jarvis, gave the family response during the ceremony.
The Rev. Edward L. R. Elson, the chaplain fo the United States Senate who delivered the invocation for the dedication ceremonies, became friends with Drew in a military hospital in Germany in 1949. "He was a great example of a man with a great mind and a thoroughly disciplined body, and a thoroughly disciplined body, and he used both to the fullest," said Elson. "He was a very warm-hearted, outgoing, friendly, strong person. I think this is so proper, a very appropriate memory ... to have his memorial something that makes the contribution to healing people to which he dedicated his life."
"I think it's rather historical, and its being named after Dr. Drew quite significant," said D.C.City CouncilChairman Sterling Tucker, who delivered remarks at the dedication. "I just hope people can appreciate the significance and all the medical brainpower that is behind it... and what he did for Washington...It's nice when you can identify a person and relate to his achievements on a worldwide level.
Mayor Walter E. Washington and D.C. Delegate Walter E. Fauntroy also spoke at the ceremony.
The Red Cross Blood Center here annually collects 170,000 units of blood and blood components, which supply 85 per cent of the total blood needs of the Washington area, said Peter J. Barreca, the chapter's director of information.