YARMOUTH, Nova Scotia, Canada (The Vanguard) — When she was born in North Chegoggin, Nova Scotia, in 1872, no one would have predicted Sarah Corning would one day be presented as a hero to the King of Greece.
In 1922, Corning was instrumental in the evacuation of Armenian and Greek orphans from the besieged city of Smyrna in what is now Turkey. Today, the extent of the atrocities visited upon the Armenian community after the First World War is acknowledged as an act of genocide.
Corning trained as a nurse in the United States and joined the American Red Cross during the First World War.
In December 1917, she was amongst the first to volunteer to tend the sick and suffering after the Halifax Explosion.
Shortly after the First World War, as part of Near East Relief — an American organization helping displaced people of the Balkans, Asia Minor and the Middle East — Corning went overseas.
In 1921, working for a relief agency, Corning arrived in a small village at the foot of Mount Ararat in what is now Turkey to take charge of an orphanage. The following year she was in the city of Smyrna, which the Turks were trying to take back from Greece. Corning was part of a team that opened a clinic to help Smyrna’s sick and wounded, but it was shut down by Turkish soldiers. A second clinic also was shut down.