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.
To see our deployed Red Crossers in action, follow these Facebook pages:
To find out more about Red Cross military services, go to redcross.org/military.