November 22, 2009 forever changed the lives of Sue Morell and her son Aaron Waller, a Staff Sergeant for the U.S. Army. As sudden as anyone could imagine, Aaron’s father passed and Sue needed to contact her son quickly. She instinctively called the Red Cross, as she had used their services before. During her son’s deployment to Iraq in 2008, Sue used the Red Cross to contact her son. “They were so prompt then which made me confident that they would be helpful at this dire time,” explained Sue.
Initially Sue was told that the wait to hear from Aaron could run anywhere from 24-48 hours. Yet in an unwavering effort by the Red Cross, Sue was able to speak to Aaron within 2 hours of her first call. Sue graciously states, “I honestly do not know how to put [their speed] into words– it all happened so quickly.” As with all cases, the Red Cross relayed special instructions to the troop to alleviate any stress during the difficult situation. Sue asked for the presence of a chaplain in the event that Aaron took the news too hard.
Three days after receiving the unexpected news, Aaron was home with his family and able to give support. He was able to attend his father’s funeral and say one final goodbye. Sue adds, “The Red Cross was very thoughtful. When I called, I was mentally unprepared, but they helped me stay calm and get my son home.”
Learn more about the American Red Cross Service to Military Families program here.