Family Matters


Your loved one is in the military, deployed thousands of miles from home. You are facing a family emergency and need to contact that service person immediately.

Donna Swisher knew just what to do this past June when her father-in-law had a massive stroke and she needed to reach her husband, Ron and Rick, his brother, both of whom were deployed to the Middle East. Donna remembered learning about the American Red Cross during an Army Yellow Ribbon event. The Services to the Armed Forces department of the Red Cross participates in these events in order to educate military personnel and their families about Red Cross resources available to them.

Donna reached out for help. The process was simple, relieving some stress for her and her mother-in-law. A Red Cross volunteer verified the information and contacted the men’s commanding officers. The Swisher brothers, Ron and Rick, were notified of their father’s failing health less than three hours after Donna contacted the Red Cross, and they were on their way home within 24 hours.

The Swisher family of Morrow County is a military family; three generations of fathers and sons who have dedicated their lives to serving our country. Donna’s husband is career Army soldier with over 38 years of service to his name. Their son, her brother-in-law, and her nephew are all active or veteran service members.

As Donna recounted her family’s all too recent loss, she spoke about the impact Ron and Rick’s return home had on her mother-in-law. The new widow was so thankful they were both with her and both able to say goodbye to their father. The memorial service was beautiful, celebrating her father-in-law’s life and service to his country. Generations of active and veteran soldiers were in attendance, including the Army Color Guard and military families who barely knew the Swishers but gathered to show the support of the Army community.

The Red Cross provides 24/7 emergency communication services worldwide, with over 65,200 emergency communications made to military members and their families to date. Donna was surprised that she had only learned about this service within the past few years. She hopes more military families know about all the supportive services available to them during and after deployment.

The American Red Cross strives to be the best part of someone’s worst day, and offering the comfort of reuniting a family before the passing of their loved one was just that for the Swisher family. Thank you to the Swishers for your years of service, and for letting the Red Cross be part of your story.

Visit us at for more information on all the services available to active and veteran military and their families.


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