When military families were called to facilitate the evacuation of families and individuals from Afghanistan, Leeashaa Ramoutar swung into full gear.
Originally from the U.S. but stationed in Germany with her husband, Leeashaa had already spent some time at Ramstein Air Base, where evacuation efforts began to unfold. She started out interning with the base’s medical group while pursuing her Master’s in Public Health.
Responsible for supporting all public health efforts at the base, she conducted educational outreach to the military community on tobacco use, nutrition, pregnancy and heart health.
At the end of her internship, her preceptor recommended she volunteer with the American Red Cross. Although Leeashaa did not know much about the Red Cross, she found that continuing her service under the humanitarian organization came naturally to her.
As a Red Crosser, she was responsible for creating flood relief kits, making treats, fulfilling duties at the base’s COVID clinic—and most recently, welcoming incoming Afghan evacuees.
“We try to provide whatever support we can and I think as time passes, you’ll see children running around—laughing and smiling—it’s good to know we are helping them adjust,” she mentioned in a recent interview about her service to evacuees.
Leeashaa tended to refugees, many of whom did not have much to begin with. She distributed blankets, diapers and toiletries while delivering mental health services to those that arrived at the base.
When asked about an experience that stood out the most to her, Leeashaa was delighted to discuss her service to children. Red Cross volunteers would give coloring kits and stuffed animal toys to children, who were already a little nervous upon their arrival.
After the kids completed their coloring kits, she noticed that they would give their masterpieces to active-duty soldiers, who would then hang them outside of the Red Cross tent.
Pretty soon, the tent was not only a haven of relief resources but became an ever-growing young artists’ showcase. “Kids were finally being kids again,” Leeashaa said.
And whenever she went back to that site, she volunteered to hang up their pictures again.
Like many Red Crossers at Ramstein, Leeashaa is a military spouse. She describes spouses as the pillars of the base, always willing to show up for others—and step up in any crisis that might arise.
Resources for Military Members, Veterans, Caregivers and their Families
The military community deserves all the support they can get, and the Red Cross is there for them every step of the way. From the moment of enlistment, service members, families and spouses like Leeashaa gain access to a range of resources and care, including:
- Emergency services
- Global service delivery
- Information and referral services
- Military hospital and clinic programs
- Veteran support services
The Red Cross Hero Care Network allows spouses to get in touch with a loved one that is deployed, while the Military and Veteran Caregiver Network connects caregivers with peer-based support and services.
The Red Cross also provides a variety of workshops dedicated to military families, including children to help cope with deployments and military life.
Lastly, the Red Cross has partnered with Alo Moves to provide service members, veterans and military families a free one-year subscription to yoga, fitness and meditation videos.
For more information on accessing Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces resources, click here.