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Fourth of July Throwback: Service to the Armed Forces

This Fourth of July, we remember and commemorate all of the service members who sacrificed their comfort and freedom in order to serve our country. The American Red Cross has been a vital part of this story for more than 130 years – providing comfort and care for the wounded, ill and injured, but also ensuring military families stay connected during times of emergency.

Find out more about the Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) today, and see the full slideshow of photos from SAF activities then and now on redcross.org.

Here’s a sneak peek:

line for food

WWI. France. Helen Parker of Washington, DC and Helen Ruff of St. Paul, MN are the Red Cross Recreation workers.


1917. Haute Marne, France. General view of Ward 1, Base Hospital No. 52, shows Capt. Frank Bird, dressing patient, nurses Miss L. Rodskapp, Miss Margaret Dell, and Miss Ruth Edmunds.


November 1969. Tuy Hoa, Vietnam. “Airman 1st Class Ronald Ness, 507 Brookside Avenue, North Augusta, South Carolina, tries his hand at shuffleboard in Red Cross recreation room at the Tuy Hoa Air Force Base.

Rec Hut replacement

American Red Cross Recreation Hut near Paris.

looking at bombers

1944. Italy. With the US Army Air Forces. Their eyes are turned upward as they watch returning bombers circle the landing field.

One World [Cup], One Red Cross

2014 One World Soccer0025

The FIFA World Cup took the world by storm, and the American Red Cross scored great stories, videos and resources to fuel your soccer appetite.

The Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter has a distinction within the American Red Cross – they have had the most Restoring Family Links (RFL) cases of any chapter across the country for the past two years. To help serve their community in a unique way, the chapter’s international services department reached out to the Iraqi American Society for Peace and Friendship (IASPF).

The collaboration resulted in the Red Cross supporting a local soccer tournament hosted by IASPF, now in its second year. The tournament stretched over three weekends and had participants from refugee communities from: Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burma, Burundi, Congo, Iraq and Somalia.

The Red Cross was on-site providing snacks and water for the players, leading family disaster preparedness activities for spectators and distributing information about how the American Red Cross helps reconnect families separated by conflict and disaster.

See the album on Flickr.

2014 One World Soccer0047








In other soccer-related Red Cross news, a World Cup Pinterest board was created to highlight to the competing teams and their associated Red Cross or Red Crescent society.

And don’t miss a couple terrific videos from our Richmond chapter on YouTube:

Ode to a Red Cross Deployer

The Service to the Armed Forces division of the American Red Cross helps our military members and their families across the world. In addition to our helping throughout our communities, the Red Cross also has staff and volunteers at military installations stateside and across the world. These Red Crossers, no matter if they are at Fort Hood in Texas, or at Camp Zama in Japan, are there for our service members. They create mini-Red Cross chapters by providing services such as morale-boosting activities, a respite center with entertainment, disaster preparedness, CPR/AED & First Aid courses, babysitting courses, etc.

One of their primary functions is with Emergency Communications. If family needs to get in touch with a service member while they are on active duty, they can call the Red Cross Emergency Communication line for the military at 1-877-272-7337. The Red Cross will get family in touch, and provide vital verification services so that commanding officers can make decisions about emergency leave. The Red Cross is the only organization entrusted with this responsibility because of our longstanding history with the military, as well as our Fundamental Principles of Neutrality and Impartiality.

Some of these Red Crossers are stationed at what we consider our “deployed sites,” which are in Afghanistan, Kuwait and Djibouti. Chris Royal, is one of these Red Crossers who works hard 7 days a week to support our service members in Kuwait. He has served multiple four-month long deployments. Here is a poem he recently wrote:


Ode to a Red Cross Deployer

There are less than 200 of them,
who answer to the call.
Nothing seems to shock them; …
they’ve seen and heard it all.

At any time both day and night,
They wait to pounce upon their queue.
Standing in silent witness,
To the heartache a soldier must go through.

They hold their mission as sacred,
following their cases to the end.
Ten hours a day, seven days a week,
Sleep, shower and do it again.

They miss their friends and families,
but these Few have no regrets.
But sometimes relive the messages,
they wish they could forget.

A service member is unaware,
back home a loved one’s dying.
They deliver the news to proper command,
out there – a soldiers crying.

They chose a job most folks won’t take,
they sure don’t do it for the pay,
But they know they make a difference,
while working in harm’s way.

Sure they’ve chosen to be with the Troops,
wear D.C.U.’s, and eat in the D-FAC.
They serve in Kuwait and out in The ‘Stan,
some even in I-Rac (Iraq) .

Now, when you think of your Red Cross,
and ask what can you do?
Remember they have staff out in the field;
protecting the ones who protect you.

Over one hundred and fifty years ago,
Miss Barton went to war.
And to this day, they keep the faith,
that’s what they’re out there for.

In shades of tan, with boonie cap,
Right shoulder, a flag emboss.
And sewn in brown, above their heart
It simply says – Red Cross.


Red Cross Bagram Super Bowl

The Red Cross office at Bagram Airfield gives service members a place to relax and get a piece of home.

Red Cross Bagram Christmas

The Red Cross office in Bagram is always ready to give holiday cheer!

...and they're always up for fun and a laugh, like at this inflatable sumo wrestling competition at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti!

…and they’re always up for fun and a laugh, like at this inflatable sumo wrestling competition at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti!


To see our deployed Red Crossers in action, follow these Facebook pages:

American Red Cross, Bagram, Afgahnistan

American Red Cross, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait

American Red Cross, Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti

To find out more about Red Cross military services, go to redcross.org/military.

Around the Water Cooler: Latest News from the Red Cross


m34340124_HTLinke-FamilyNow-707x482A Father’s Day Story – H.T. Linke

“The best thing about the Army was the people, all of us soldiers, working together as a team with a single focus, defending the nation,” said H.T Linke, Chapter Communication Consultant. “That’s kind of the way it is with the Red Cross too, people working together with a single focus, serving people when they are in desperate times. It’s why I love the Red Cross; it’s not what drew me to the organization but it’s what has kept me here for fifteen years.”

[Slideshow] 5 Last Minute Father’s Day Gifts

Shop the American Red Cross Store for last minute Father’s Day gifts that help your dad prepare for emergencies.


Stories for World Sickle Cell Awareness Day

Today is World Sickle Cell Awareness Day. We recognize this disease by sharing stories of two people diagnosed with sickle cell disease.

World Blood Donor Day: Take Action to Help Others by Giving Life

It’s a question many people don’t think about: Would blood be available if I needed it? The reality is, every two seconds someone does need blood—but its availability is not something to take for granted. There is no substitute for blood and volunteer donors are the only source.

Celebrate World Blood Donor Day with Supermodel Niki Taylor

Supermodel Niki Taylor credits blood donors with helping save her life after she was critically injured in a 2001 car accident. As World Blood Donor Day approaches, she has partnered with the American Red Cross and Nexcare to remind everyone to roll up a sleeve and give blood.


Giving Blood > You.

One thing is clear from stories compiled by the American Red Cross – the act of donating blood is greater than just you.


[Slideshow] World Refugee Day: More than a Number

Some 38.7 million people live as refugees and internally displaced people around the world, forced to choose between safety and their family and the comforts of home. Of those, 46 percent are children under the age of 18. This World Refugee Day, June 20th, the American Red Cross joins with the global community to call attention to the needs of these refugees and the ways in which people can help shoulder their burden.

Red Cross Specialist Assists Syrian Refugeessyria full

Wendy Brightman is an American Red Cross specialist who has responded to disasters around the world and is currently assisting the Jordanian Red Crescent as they help refugees arriving from Syria.

American Red Cross Makes New $1 Million Commitments to Syria

To date, 2.8 million Syrians are refugees and between 6.5 and 7.6 million are displaced internally, and the latest contribution increases the total American Red Cross commitment to aid in Syria and for Syrian refugees in surrounding countries to $2.3 million.

Red Cross Grants Help Viet Nam Communities Affected by Typhoons

The American Red Cross contributed $100,000 to assist with relief efforts in Vietnam following the devastation caused by Typhoons Wutip and Nari in the fall of 2013. The funding is being used to provide cash grants, which help people rebuild their lives, farms and communities. In April, the American Red Cross also deployed a specialist to assist with training and monitoring the disbursement of these cash grants.


Last Days of School: Red Cross Summer Safety

Before your kids toss aside their backpack and head outside to play, take a minute to brush up on your first aid knowledge. Tips, lists and mobile apps from the American Red Cross have you covered from anything you mig

ht encounter outside, from thunderstorm preparedness to bee stings and everything in between.

Keep Your Pet Safe On Hot Summer Days


The warm weather has finally arrived and the American Red Cross reminds pet owners that the higher temperatures can pose a danger to their animals.

Stay Safe during Extreme Heat

Weather experts say it is the first heat wave of the season and the American Red Cross provides safety steps to take when the temperatures soar.


Do You Know What to Do if Flooding Threatens?

One of the most common disasters in this country is flooding. Floods can occur anywhere and the American Red Cross wants people to know what steps they should take if their home is threatened with the possibility of flooding.

Red Cross Responds to Storms Across Multiple States

The American Red Cross is helping people in communities throughout the Midwest after this week’s tornadoes and floods as some areas brace for more rain and additional flooding.

Homecoming for Staten Island Family Displaced by Sandy

On June 11, 2014, the American Red Cross gathered with other organizations including the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation and New York Disaster Interfaith Services to welcome home the Auer family of Staten Island, nearly twenty months after Sandy’s landfall. To see photos of the homecoming celebration, click here.



What Goes through a Red Crossers Mind While Watching Game of Thrones

I jumped on the Game of Thrones bandwagon a little late, but it happened to coincide with my new position at the American Red Cross. As I binge-watch to catch up, let’s relive seasons 1-4 through a Red Crosser’s inner monologue, featuring handy links to the real life Red Cross resources. Who knows – the multitude of apps, resources and trainings from the Red Cross might have made a difference in Westeros. But probably not.

People are dealing with a lot of emergency situations here. Too. many. swords. APPLY PRESSURE TO THE WOUND!



Dany definitely needs to learn some fire safety tips. Actually, everyone needs to learn fire safety tips now that dragons are crisping everyone to a well done crisp.




If there was a Red Cross chapter in Westeros, Robb Stark’s wife would totally be a disaster volunteer.



Ugh, more sword action. And don’t even think about messing with “Needle.” Arya Stark is not messing around.



Calling all blood donors. #RedWedding



Everyone keeps moving around and losing family members. It’s a bit scattered. I’m sure Reconnecting Families could handle this, but it’d be a doozy.



I’m not sure the witch doctor used approved first aid protocols when dealing with Khal Drogo’s wound. *Opens First Aid App, can’t locate ‘magic’*



As a child, if The Hound had stuck his face under cool running water, do you think he’d be in better shape?



While they’re geared toward those 11 and older, I feel like Sam could use some babysitting training. Maybe the Advanced Child Care Training would work?



Let’s assume direwolves are covered under the dog tab in the Pet First Aid App.



Sansa Stark absolutely needs some assistance from a disaster mental health professional after what she’s been through.



While the efforts to declare “He’s choking!” and “Help the poor boy!” are admirable, it’s probably better to, you know, actually help. But I guess it became clear pretty quickly the five back blows and five abdominal thrusts weren’t going to do Joffrey (or the realm for that matter) any good.



Last time we saw Gendry he was stepping into a boat, not knowing how to row, let alone swim. He hasn’t yet reappeared. Precursor for future secret water escapes: Red Cross swim lessons.



No matter what type of disaster or emergency, you should have a go bag ready. Daenerys Targaryen’s army has come to abdicate the slaves? King’s Landing under siege? White Walkers on the horizon? Grab your go bag and get out!



Jon Snow and the wildlings are laughing in the face of Red Cross winter weather tips as they scale the Wall. (“Before tackling strenuous tasks in cold temperatures, consider your physical condition, the weather factors and the nature of the task.”)



One thing added to the Red Cross comfort kits would really make these people feel at home: wine.



We at the Red Cross are fairly used to the sight of blood, but…wow. #RIPtheRedViper.



What other movies or TV shows could be viewed in a whole new light with the Red Cross?



Around the Watercooler: This Week at the Red Cross



Red Cross Retrospective – Workers Land on Normandy Beach

Well before the invasion, the Red Cross was preparing for the clubmobile programs move to the continent. The task forces were to follow as close in the wake of the armed forces as military authorities would permit. They used the 2 ½ ton GMC truck for the clubmobiles. The Red Cross supplied water and generators for each group. The Daniel Boone of Clubmobile Group B was the first to land on the beach. 75,000 doughnuts were served the first week of operation. By the end of July, five more clubmobile groups had arrived.


American Red Cross Provides Assistance for Balkans Flooding

The American Red Cross is contributing a total of $400,000 to support flood relief efforts in the Balkans, including shelter supplies in Bosnia and Herzegovina and distribution of food, relief items and water and sanitation activities in Serbia.

Bangladesh: School kids ready to save lives

Tenth grader Sania Islam has felt the ground trembling in Bangladesh. Aware that the next earthquake could be much bigger, she is taking action to keep herself and her classmates safe. Thanks to the American Red Cross, Sania’s school—and 49 others in the South Asian country—are now equipped with skills and knowledge to protect themselves during natural disasters.


Red Cross Prepares as Severe Weather Threatens Midwest

Millions of people face the risk of severe weather today and tomorrow in the Midwest and the American Red Cross wants to make sure they are prepared for thunderstorms, strong winds and possible tornadoes.


Reconnecting with Family after 30 Years

George Kantor has been looking for his niece for quite some time. Thirty years, to be precise. And while he has always known of the American Red Cross, he never imagined that they would be the ones that would finally reconnect them.

The Discovery of Family – The Red Cross Restores a Family’s Links

What’s it like to grow up without extended family? What does it feel like to be the only child of World War II concentration camp survivors whose families had been killed in Nazi camps? It was a lonely road for Johnny Herzberg who emigrated from Europe as a young child. Now, in his retirement years, Herzberg turned to the Red Cross Restoring Family Links resources, a team in West Los Angeles headed by Svetlana Fusekova, Samantha Forcum and Americorps Barbara Mariscal.


CPR How-to Included in Red Cross First Aid App

The American Red Cross aims to share potentially lifesaving information on how to perform CPR and use an automated external defibrillator (AED) during National CPR and AED Awareness Week. One resource provided by the Red Cross is a First Aid App, which covers a variety of first aid needs and situations – including instant, free information on how to perform CPR and how to treat someone who is having a heart attack.

CPR/AED Training Saves Lives

Did you know sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of adult death in this country and that most cardiac arrests happen in someone’s home? During CPR/AED Awareness Week (June 1-7), the American Red Cross encourages people to take CPR/AED training to learn how to respond should someone suffer cardiac arrest.

Learning that Even Wars Have Limits

Some created Monopoly-style board games. Others held highly-attended flash mobs on their college campus. Still others role-played as soldiers, civilians, prisoners and humanitarian workers in the simulation game Raid Cross. But no matter the style or approach, the more than 300 students participating in this year’s International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Action Campaign had an eye-opening experience, learning that even war has limits.

“In this world of social media, important events shouldn’t be hard to miss; yet, very often we barely notice horrifying events across the world,” said Daniel, a student member of the Texas Gulf Coast Chapter. “Topics like IHL and child soldiers hardly ever come to mind when I look at what’s most viewed or talked about in the media.”

A student from Bradley University

A student from Bradley University

Launched in 2013 by the American Red Cross, the IHL Action Campaign gets young people (aged 14–24) to learn about international humanitarian law by creating peer-education campaigns to raise awareness about the rules of war. This year’s campaign focused on the topics of child soldiers and international justice. Across the country, 26 teams of high school and college students—supported by eight different Red Cross Chapters—participated in the program.

From there, six teams are selected to go on to Washington, D.C. for the IHL Youth Leadership Summit held June 5-8, 2014. There, students will have an opportunity to present their projects, further develop their leadership skills, and increase their knowledge about international issues related to IHL.

In just its second year, the program is making a real impact on students, teaching life skills and cooperation and igniting a passion for justice and human dignity while laying a foundation for the future.

“This campaign has opened my eyes and showed me where the real values lie in life,” said Hannah, a student member from the Texas Gulf Coast Chapter. “This campaign has changed my life, and I encourage all of my friends to participate in it. IHL has definitely allowed me to mature as a student and has taught me the right ways.”

To learn more about the IHL Action Campaign and see a video from last year’s Leadership Summit, visit redcross.org.

Is there a Shark in Your Pool?

Angela Beale

By: Angela Beale, Ph.D.
American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council 

As a mother of four young children and an aquatics education specialist, I know first-hand that there’s nothing kids love more than a trip to the pool.

But did you know that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and World Health Organization (WHO) recently reported that children ages 1-4 and younger represent about 76 percent of all pool and spa drowning deaths? Additionally, did you know that of injuries treated in the United States emergency rooms about 78 percent were pool and spa related injuries?

Put another way, when kids don’t know swim-safety basics, also known as water competency, it’s like having a shark in the pool.

So what do kids need to know? The American Red Cross calls swimmers “water competent” if they can:

1. Step or jump into the water over their heads and return to the surface.
2. Swim 25 yards (equal to the length of a standard swimming pool) without stopping.
3. Float or tread water for 1 minute without using a flotation device.
4. Turn around in a full circle in the water and then find a way out of the water.
5. Exit a pool, not using a ladder.

If your kids can’t complete every one of these key skills, now is the time to get into the swim of things and register them for an American Red Cross swim class.

Just remember that every child is special and even children who can perform all five of these critical water safety skills need supervision. If you host kids in a backyard pool or at a recreational pool, be sure to follow these guidelines:

* Eyes on the Prize: Constantly supervise children near water. Many children who drown in home pools were out of sight for less than five minutes and in the care of parents at the time.
* Fence It: If you have a pool, secure it with appropriate barriers.
* It’s On You: Never trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
* Stay Focused: Avoid distractions when supervising children around water.
* First and Fast: If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability. Get Involved and Get Educated: Take the Online Home Pool Essentials class from the Red Cross and National Swimming Pool Foundation® (NSPF).

About the Author: Angela Beale, Ph.D. is a member of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council and Aquatics Subcouncil with a specialty in physical education and youth development. The Council is a panel of nationally recognized experts drawn from a wide variety of scientific, medical, and academic disciplines. The Council guides the Red Cross on emergency treatments and practices that align with the latest evidence-based scientific and medical knowledge.

National Running Day!

In honor of National Running Day, I wanted to take the opportunity to blend my Red Cross knowledge and love of running into an exciting blog post to honor one of my favorite unofficial holidays.

I try to run every year on National Running Day – it’s a day to reflect on a sport that has consumed so much of my life, but given me so much in return. While I’ve been running consistently since 2007, I’ve learned a few safety tips. Now, while the Red Cross does not offer official “running safety and preparedness” courses, I’d like to think I can offer some insight from my experiences.

Tip #1 – Wear BRIGHT Colors
I’ve never understood runners who wear all black. Yes, black is very slimming, but if you’re running at night, or at the dusk/dawn hours, black is a very dangerous color. Here are a few of my favorite running outfits – notice how BRIGHT they are??


bright jacket

bright shorts

Tip #2 – Run with a Buddy

There’s nothing worse than getting lost on a run, or just being out by yourself. Having a friend along can really help if anything happens (I once had hypothermia and had to be walked to a med tent). Look, my friends are even wearing bright colors!


Tip #3 – If Running Solo – Tell a Friend
When training for a marathon, it’s hard to find someone to go log 20 miles with me. So I’ll pre-map my route, leave it with my husband, and tell his to reverse drive the route if I’m not back by a certain time. There’s certainly some room for improvement here, but I never run with a phone.

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 1.19.37 PM

Tip #4 – Have a Designated Meeting Spot After Races
The end of a race can be hectic – there’s lot of people, things, and frankly, running is tiring, so trying to find someone in a crowd is worse than reading “Where’s Waldo?” while tired. Have a pre-designated meeting spot – like a specific street corner, building, etc. and make sure that’s where you meet after a race. It’s far less stressful than trying to weave through a crowd to find a friend.


Tip #5 – Have Fun
There are a ton of safety tips available to you in addition to the simple things listed here. But at the end of the day, be sure you’re enjoying your run. Here are a few more running tips for you to review before you head out for your next run.

Happy National Running Day!

Around the Water Cooler

Things that are happening around the Red Cross


Bangladesh: School kids ready to save lives

When earthquakes, floods and other local hazards strike, young people are the most vulnerable to injury and death, especially because of structural instability of buildings. The American Red Cross and the Bangladesh Red Crescent work together to improve school safety for more than 20,000 students through actions like securing bookcases to walls so they don’t fall over, identifying emergency exits, and teaching first aid.

Red Cross Gives More than $1 Million to “Silent” Disasters

Every year millions of people around the globe are affected by natural disasters, conflict and health emergencies. Some of these disasters aren’t covered as heavily in the media as others, but that doesn’t mean that the Red Cross isn’t there caring for people in need. Since March of 2014, the American Red Cross has contributed more than$1 million to these “silent” disasters—helping provide shelter, clean water, cash grants, basic household items, and education on disease prevention.


Hurricane Season Has Arrived – Are You Ready?

Hurricane season has arrived and the American Red Cross wants to ensure you and your loved ones are prepared. The Atlantic Caribbean Hurricane Season runs June 1 through November 30.

Rip Currents Challenge Ocean Swimmers

Many of us are packing our bathing suits and heading to the beach for some fun in the sun. However, rip currents are posing a challenge for swimmers. The American Red Cross has some steps you can take to be safe and enjoy your trip to the shore.


Red Cross Responds to Wildfires, Tornado

The American Red Cross is helping people in Alaska and California impacted by wildfires and those affected by a tornado that touched down Monday in North Dakota.