Red Cross Nurse Honored for Work During Disasters

A Los Angeles woman was one of two Red Cross nurses in the nation honored at a downtown ceremony Wednesday with the organization's prestigious Florence Nightingale Medal for her work aiding victims of disasters around the world.

Christine "Dusty" Bowenkamp, who founded the Los Angeles Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Team, was given the award by the organization's president, Elizabeth Dole.

"Dusty is one of the most respected people in the American Red Cross disaster mental health field," said Jerry Jacobs, a Red Cross psychologist.

The medal is awarded by the International Committee of the Red Cross to nurses who have distinguished themselves during war or peace by their courage and devotion to the sick, wounded or disabled. The other winner was a nurse in Tennessee.

Working out of the Red Cross' Los Angeles headquarters near MacArthur Park, Bowenkamp has traveled to many disasters, including the recent Korean Airlines crash in Guam, the crash of TWA Flight 800 in New York City, Hurricane Fran in North Carolina and the truck bombing of the federal office building in Oklahoma City, Okla.

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