Red Cross provides services to the Armed Forces
It was during the Civil War that the American Red Cross started serving members of our Armed Forces. Known as the ‘Angel of the Battlefield,’ Clara Barton provided emergency care to soldiers injured during war, and after the battles would locate the families of deceased servicemen.
Now nearly 150 years later, the Red Cross continues to support our Armed Forces.These services include providing emergency communication between the family and the serviceperson- anywhere they may be in the world - financial assistance, casualty travel assistance, and information and referrals. The Red Cross has earned a high reputation for providing objective, timely, confidential, factual, complete and verified reports on emergency situations. These reports enable service members and their commanders to make informed decisions about leave and other matters in order to prevent, prepare for and respond to a family emergency.
The most often-used service that the Red Cross provides to the Armed Forces is emergency communication between the family and serviceperson.
In Allegany County recently, the Roberts* family turned to the Red Cross for help when they urgently needed to contact their son about his grandfather’s sudden decline in health and impending death. Mrs. Roberts called the Red Cross Services to the Armed Forces helpline and was able quickly to get a message to her son serving on a naval ship in the Pacific Ocean. She also asked if he could be granted leave to home to be with his grandfather in the last few days of his life or at least be home to attend the burial services.
When her son was notified, a Red Cross representative and Chaplin were there to help him accept the news. Fortunately, he was granted leave, and the next day was on a plane headed back to Allegany County. He made it back just one day before his grandfather passed.
During the processes, Red Cross workers verified facts with the hospital, communicated with the naval command, worked out flight arrangements while providing counsel and comfort to the family during their hard time.
A few weeks later, a Red Cross worker followed up with the Roberts family to see how they were doing-- confirmed that the serviceperson made it home and back to their station safely, and checked to see if there was any other way that the Red Cross could help them.
Thirty-seven Allegany County families received such assistance from the Red Cross this year. Without support from the Allegany County United Way and other generous donors, this would not have been possible.
*names have been changed to adhere to confidentiality agreement.