For most of us, getting good news to a loved one is as easy as a quick phone call or text. But what if your loved one is on a ship in the middle of the ocean? That’s what happened to a local Ohio family who recently added a new family member!
The new father, who didn’t yet know he was a dad, was a member of the U.S. Navy working aboard a ship that was out on the sea. How would he get the news? A member of his immediate family called the Red Cross and asked for help getting the word to him.
That’s one thing the Services to the Armed Forces (SAF) division of the American Red Cross does. These Red Cross volunteers help service members and their families communicate in case of emergencies – which can be happy events, too!
The next day, the Red Cross called the new mom to check on her and the baby. They then called the hospital, confirming both the birth of the child—a son—and that both the mother and child were doing well. After everything had been verified, the Emergency Communication was transmitted to the ship at sea. The transmission having successfully been sent, the local Red Cross volunteer left a message with the family member to congratulate the rest of the family, inform them that the message had been passed along, and to ask if there were any additional needs.
The following day, the family member called back to let the Red Cross know that the service member had received the message and was able to make a call to the hospital. In a time of great excitement, the family appreciated the help of the Red Cross in getting the good news to Dad!
Some emergency communications are more serious, as when a loved one’s death seems likely, or the individual has already died. In these cases, the service member’s commanding officer may decide that emergency leave is warranted. The Red Cross is able to help the bereaved military person get back home.
These communications are just one of the many services SAF volunteers provide. They also offer pre – and post- deployment support to service members and their families and work at veterans’ hospitals in non-medical roles. Services to veterans also include “stand-downs” at which homeless veterans can make multiple connections receive guidance in getting whatever help they may need.
As with all other Red Cross departments, most SAF staffers are volunteers. Whether you prefer to be out in the community or working in an office, SAF has a place for you if you want to help military personnel, veterans and their families. To volunteer, visit http://www.redcross.org/volunteer, where you will also find other volunteer opportunities.
Through its Services to the Armed Forces department, the Red Cross helps military families before, during and after deployment. 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.