In celebration of March Is Red Cross Month, we’re honouring Helena Hardwick, who left her remote prairie ranch to volunteer overseas as an ambulance driver during the Second World War.

Born and raised on the “Lazy H” ranch near High River, Alberta, Helena travelled from her home in the grasslands to volunteer for the Canadian Red Cross in 1942. She took her basic training in Calgary, before heading to England to drive ambulances, attached to the British Army, until the war’s end.

Her service continued in Edmonton, where after her marriage, she was known as Helena Douglass. Helena also volunteered with Red Cross during the Winnipeg Flood of 1950. She passed away in Edmonton in 2012.

Her wartime uniform is now at Calgary's Glenbow museum, and her family has also shared photos and some historic pins from her time supporting the Canadian Red Cross.