Another war. Alma had seen too many of her young relatives go to war, she thought, starting with her son Henry during World War II. Somehow they’d all come home alive, but each in some way wounded.
The physical wounds were the most obvious, and, it seemed, the easiest to treat. As often as possible she’d visited those recovering in VA hospitals. She had continued to serve as a Gray Lady, transitioning into the Red Cross volunteer program when the Gray Ladies were integrated into it.
Now the United States had joined the war in the Gulf, and her great-grandson Todd had deployed. Again she would live on pins and needles, dreading news that he had been wounded – or worse! How much more heartache could she take?
Her old companions from the Red Cross would see her and her family through this, too, she thought. Her daughter Martha, Todd’s mother, had told her about a program the Red Cross had for people in the military and their families. If the family faced an emergency such as serious illness or death, while Todd was away, the Red Cross would get word to his commanding officer, and even help him get home if he were granted emergency leave. It didn’t alleviate her worry about him, but it did help to know that there was a fast way to get word to him if necessary.
Service to United States military personnel is one of the mandates in the Congressional Charter of the American Red Cross. The Red Cross has facilitated communication between military personnel and their families for more than 100 years. These efforts have included the “Voices from Home” program, begun during the Vietnam War, which enabled families to record messages for their loved ones in the military.
Through its Services to the Armed Forces, the Red Cross helps military families before, during and after deployment. This includes helping military families communicate with their deployed loved one in the case of a family emergency. The family contacts the Red Cross, which confirms the accuracy of the information and then passes it on to the service person’s commanding officer. The commanding officer relays it to the service member and determines whether emergency leave will be granted.
Highly trained Red Cross specialists are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help military and veteran families. You can call the Hero Care Network at 877-272-7337 or make a request online at http://rdcrss.org/HeroCare from a computer, tablet or smartphone.