American Red Cross Louisville Area Chapter board members and Red Cross supporters gathered together today to pay tribute and to honor Jack and Gladys Jonas. Their estate donated to the Red Cross Louisville Area Chapter nearly $1.4 million dollars-the organization’s largest estate gift ever received. The Red Cross received the final gift allotment in March of this year. In gratitude to Jack and Gladys Jonas for their generous legacy to Red Cross disaster relief services in Kentucky, the Louisville Area Chapter has dedicated its Emergency Operations Center in their name. Present for the dedication was Carl Franklin, nephew of the couple, and his wife, Brenda.
On October 18, 1979, Carl Franklin’s life changed dramatically. While working on the family farm, an ear of corn got stuck in their auger. The machinery was not on, so Carl reached in to remove it. Upon reflection, he suspects engine vibration may have engaged the auger - which proceeded to take off his arm. He was rushed to Jewish Hospital and though he did not lose much blood in the initial injury, he was a blood recipient during the lengthy microsurgery required to reattach it. Uncle Jack and Aunt Gladys, were there for him every day. They never had children and were extremely close to Carl and his wife Brenda. Uncle Jack began his blood donations to the Red Cross at that time, and continued, it is believed, until he died in 1998.
“A promise is a promise” Carl said and he had promised Uncle Jack that he would take care of his beloved wife Gladys the rest of her life. Carl and Brenda did so until her death in 2014. The Jonas’s were not born in to wealth. In fact, Carl credits an initial $2,000 investment in a gas station as the nexus for the multi-million dollar legacy the Jonas’s left to benefit organizations which held significance in their lives. In addition to their gift to the Red Cross, estate gifts went to Hosparus and the Masonic Home.
The American Red Cross Louisville Area Chapter is honored to be a recipient of the Jonas’s generosity.