By: Sue Toomey, American Red Cross
The American Red Cross depends on dedicated volunteers to fulfill its’ mission and has a variety of volunteer positions available to accommodate whatever your schedule may be. One volunteer opportunity available is with Service to the Armed Forces (SAF).
Marianne Moerkens began volunteering with the Red Cross in August 2016 when she saw an ad in a local newspaper for orientation. Since she felt that supporting our military and their families was an important mission, she wanted to help. “I think it’s important for the military and family members to have a place to call to have someone able to help them,” Marianne said.
The Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces provides assistance to military and their families prior to, during and post deployment. In addition to services the Red Cross can provide, the SAF program will also refer families to community partners and works very closely with other military organizations. If a family member has an emergency for an illness or death and needs to get in touch with a service member, the Red Cross assists in getting a message to them and can help them request leave from their assignment. SAF volunteers also work with veterans in VA hospitals through recreational events.
As a caseworker, Marianne will often follow up with families to make sure they were able to get the help that they need. “Most people are so grateful to hear from me,” she said. “It makes the work very rewarding.”
The Red Cross supports services members and their families throughout their entire military career and after they return home through the Hero Care Network. The Red Cross continues to expand their support of veterans and their families. If you know a service member, family member or veteran who needs assistance, the worldwide number for the Hero Care Network is 1-877-272-7337.
Working with the Service to the Armed Forces program can be as simple as assisting in a VA hospital recreational event or more involved as becoming a caseworker to assist military families directly. For more information on becoming a volunteer for Service to the Armed Forces and all other volunteer opportunities, please visit www.redcross.org/volunteer.