March is Red Cross Month
By 2nd Lt. Kayla Fitzgerald, 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 10, 2020
TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross on May 21, 1881, and since then the Red Cross has worked to serve people in need. President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared the month of March as Red Cross month in 1943, and each succeeding president has continued that tradition.
The Red Cross offers many services to the public including disaster services, health services, CPR training, and service to the armed forces according to Samantha Youngren, American Red Cross, Service to the Armed Forces regional program specialist.
“There are several ways the Red Cross helps service members,” said Youngren. “Emergency messaging casework is a major part of the Red Cross SAF core work. Our mission is to make sure the family has someone to talk to when the worst happens. We take care of the verification, notification and family follow up.”
The Red Cross also provides transportation assistance and financial assistance if needed following an emergency.
Another way the SAF team helps service members is through volunteering in medical facilities.
“We have doctors, nurses, behavioral health (technicians) and many other volunteers who assist the active duty in their daily work activities,” said Youngren.
The Red Cross also provided support following Hurricane Michael throughout the local area of Panama City, Florida.
A Red Cross SAF team of employees and volunteers joined with the Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, Airman and Family Readiness Center to help distribute Air Force Aid payments that were authorized to help with the cost of travel, according to Youngren.
“A week after the hurricane we set up a distribution area on Eglin called an Emergency Financial Assistance Center where we distributed many items,” continued Youngren. “Some of these items were diapers, formula, food, juice, care kits, and kid’s entertainment like books, crayons and blankets.”
There are many opportunities for the public to give back to the Red Cross through volunteering.
Volunteer opportunities specific to the SAF at Tyndall include assisting with ‘hero casework’, or emergency messaging and volunteering at the clinic.
“[Additionally], there are many volunteer opportunities through many of the other [Red Cross] programs,” said Youngren.
The Red Cross makes working to maintain a good relationship with the military a priority.
“Due to the relationship between the Department of Defense and Red Cross for emergency messaging, my whole job is to maintain a strong tie with the military,” said Youngren. “I believe the Red Cross is (made of) the people who work and volunteer for them and have passion.”
In you are interested in volunteering with the Red Cross or would like more information, visit their website at www.redcross.org call (850) 382-0887.