Service to the Armed Forces at the American Red Cross

(Post via The American Red Cross)

Red Cross helps Service memberEvery day, citizens volunteer to serve alongside our men and women in uniform – caring for their needs on the field of battle and after they return home to recover. We call these dedicated volunteers Red Crossers. Thousands of them have deployed into harm’s way, serving in forward deployed combat zones in every major conflict since the Spanish-American War. Most recently, Red Crossers deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan, ensuring that our service members were taken care of and that their families could reach them in a time of crisis.

At the helm of the Service to the Armed Forces Division of the American Red Cross, I am continually amazed at the level of commitment exhibited by Red Cross volunteers. Every day, across the country and around the world, these dedicated volunteers support members of the military, veterans and their families by providing needed emergency communications, comfort and assistance. Since 9-11, we have served more than 1 million service members, providing emergency case management services during a family medical emergency, a death in the family or the announcement of a birth.

This call to civilian service is the ultimate display of selfless sacrifice. As our founder, Clara Barton stated, “I may be compelled to face danger, but never fear it, and while our soldiers can stand and fight, I can stand and feed and nurse them.” Today, we maintain a presence in multiple combat theaters and 34 locations overseas. Red Crossers stand ready to serve – no matter when, and no matter where.

In the early days of the Red Cross, volunteers helped wounded soldiers write letters home. In the age of cell phones and email, the Red Cross Emergency Communication Network continues that legacy by coordinating vital information between service members, their families, health care professionals and commanders in the field. Military commanders know in times of family crisis, they can rely on the Red Cross to independently and neutrally verify and quickly transmit important information to military personnel.

Today, the Red Cross Emergency Communication Network is evolving. At the forefront with new technology, we will be adding improved systems to ensure the best service to our service members and families, no matter where they may be in the world. By the end of the summer, we will be launching a new online option enabling the military community to initiate a request for Red Cross services from their computer, tablet or smart phone. This new online option was designed to complement the toll free number, better meeting the needs of today’s military.

The Red Cross will continue to provide support wherever and wherever it is needed – alongside the troops throughout the world, in veteran’s hospitals, on stateside military installations and in communities far from an installation. With nearly 12,500 volunteers who give their time to help support the ill and injured in military and veteran’s medical facilities; they perform many different types of services – working the reception desk, taking patients to appointments, assisting with recovery therapy, conducting surgery, teaching First Aid and CPR; or visiting with a wounded service member or veteran. Last year alone, our Red Crossers provided over 1.3 million volunteer hours to our military, veterans, and their families, valued at approximately 30 million dollars. In addition, many of our volunteers are military spouses, service members or military children looking for ways to stay engaged, trained while giving back to their community, encouraging others to do the same.

The Red Cross understands the importance of strong military families. We offer multiple skill-building opportunities to help service members and veterans—as well as their families and support systems—identify and cope effectively with the unique challenges that arise throughout a military career. For that reason, our programs are based on a continuum of care. From the moment an inductee takes their oath of enlistment throughout their career and beyond, the Red Cross provides opportunities for the military and their families.

Our work is important to the nation because it is important to the troops and their families. America’s military heroes sacrifice their comforts and freedoms to serve our country. The Red Cross works on behalf of the American public to ensure that our military personnel get help, whenever and wherever they need it. We give service members the comfort of knowing that we will be there if their families turn to us for help, allowing our heroes to stay focused on their mission.

To learn more about Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces go to RedCross.org/military. To reach us in the case of an emergency, call us 24/7/365 at 877-272-7337.