The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.
Military deployment affects not just service members, but also their friends and family. We now know that the logistical and psychological effects extend beyond deployment dates. Fortunately, the US military has designed new pre-deployment training that helps service members with the various concerns and transition issues surrounding deployment. As part of an organized effort to assist sailors and their families be prepared for deployment, the Navy offers a day-long set of workshops and resources.
The most recent Deployment Readiness Training took place on Saturday February 15th. The Mid-South Red Cross SAF (Services to the Armed Forces) made sure to be there to help our troops learn about and use our resources. Doing our part to help our troops with information to keep themselves and their family safe, secure, and in contact.
The morning started off with a brief overview from the multiple organizational representatives. This was their opportunity to share details with the group about their specific assistance programs. The organizations run the range from Military programs to private and non-profit programs. David Compton, a volunteer from the Mid-South Red Cross, gave a brief presentation about Red Cross resources and services, really highlighting the importance of emergency communication, and the launch of the helpful online course: “Coping With Deployments” which is available to all service members and their families.
Two additional Red Cross volunteers helped man the tables to let sailors and their families know about our resources. It was extra helpful to have active duty volunteer, Nadia Noel, there to give her professional insight. Over the course of the day we talked with 28 Sailors, 17 adults (spouses, parents, designated representatives) and 13 children from various areas across the central United States.
Other organizations offering resources and assistance included; Veterans Affairs Medical Center Hero2Hired, Navy Fleet and Family Support Center, NSA, TN Guard Family Specialist, Navy Lawyer, Navy Chaplain, Employer Support of the Guard & Reserve, and Insurance Companies for Medical and Dental. It was an honor to be situated among these organizations.
The event is a valuable, special time for soldiers and their families to start to process their deployment. It has a professional, but personal atmosphere. It was extra special to meet the service members, they were grateful and interested in our emergency communication program and online deployment courses. We provide magnets for them to leave their pertinent information for their families back home that will make it easier to get in touch if the need arises. The sailors read our deployment resources packets, took a few calendars, and we even distributed 27 comfort-inducing teddy bears. Making a personal connection was really the highlight of the event. Because some of the sailors were visiting from out of town, we even had to give some non-emergency information, like explaining that The Germantown Commissary (a delicious BBQ restaurant) was much different than a military commissary!
If our programs and assistance helps make their service even a bit more comfortable, we know that we are carrying out the mission of the Red Cross. The Mid-South Red Cross participates in several of these types of events through out the year. They are very fun and rewarding, volunteers help to raise awareness of our useful Red Cross programs and also to get to meet and assist the dedicated service members and their families. Contact David Compton, Volunteer Lead, Service to the Armed Forces, Mid-South Chapter 901-483-6860; firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information on SAF resources and volunteering.
Story and Photos by S. K. Larson/American Red Cross
Story posted 3/4/2014