Canterbury School graduate Brie Brown's rendition of "Amazing Grace" transfixed a crowd of more than 300 people attending the American Red Cross' 13th annual Breakfast on the Green June 10 in New Milford.

The fundraising event, which took place under a tent on the Village Green, highlighted the organization's "battlefield" roots.

Ms. Brown's mellifluous voice and the lyrics of the song struck just the right chords for the many local Red Cross volunteers who help families of soldiers stay connected when military assignments require they be in some of the world's most dangerous places.

Red Cross board member Joseph Bartozzi, one of several speakers at the event, said he has witnessed firsthand the willingness of local volunteers to be a communication bridge between families and soldiers.

He said he considers himself fortunate his sons did not have to rely on the Red Cross, but it was a comfort to know, had they needed the Red Cross, the humanitarian organization would be ready to do whatever was needed for them and the other troops.

The Red Cross is well known to most as the humanitarian disaster relief organization, the lifeguard and first-aid training group, and the bloodmobile operators.

Lesser known is the Red Cross' commitment to the military, dating back to Clara Barton and her steadfast efforts nursing and comforting Civil War soldiers, said Dianne Auger, chief executive officer of the Connecticut region of the national organization.

Indeed, Ms. Barton became known as the "Angel of the Battlefield.''

Ms. Auger, too, read aloud from a diary book kept back in 1944 by a group of Red Cross women, who got together regularly to roll gauze for surgical bandages needed for World War II soldiers.

Long before the Internet and video chats, these devoted Red Cross volunteers penned and shipped letters to soldiers and dictated letters from soldiers back to their families, Ms. Auger said.

Spectrum and News-Times Publisher Shawn Palmer served as master of ceremonies for the breakfast as nearly three dozen individuals served as celebrity waiters and waitresses.

For more information on how to volunteer or donate to the Red Cross in Connecticut, visit or call 877-287-3327.