Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Letter from Northeast Tennessee Executive Director, Glenda Bobalik - August 2016

On Saturday, July 30, despite heat, humidity and even a little rain, Red Cross volunteers were at the VA in Johnson City to support the 50th Anniversary Salute to Vietnam Veterans.  Red Cross gave out bottled water to participants and attendees, provided coffee and doughnuts to get the morning started right, and participated in the parade.  The Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) was driven in the parade by two of our own Vietnam Veterans, Jim Brice (US Army Retired) and John Barraclough (US Air Force Retired).

Our organization’s long history of service to the active duty military personnel, their families, and veterans continues today. Every day, the American Red Cross provides 24/7 global emergency communication services and support in military and veteran health care facilities across the country and around the world.

In Northeast Tennessee, volunteers work at the VA Medical Center in Johnson City providing support to our veterans.  Volunteers also support community activities to honor and serve those who served our country.  Events like the parade to honor Vietnam Veterans are a sample of the many support activities undertaken by these dedicated volunteers led by Pat Barraclough and Ken Sheppard.

Last year, 346 families and military personnel in Northeast Tennessee accessed emergency communication services through the Red Cross.  Providing these services allows military personnel serving around the world to remain connected to their families especially during times of emergency.

The following story is one example of the impact this service makes on the lives of our neighbors.
Jeff called the Red Cross number that he had carried in his billfold since his daughter joined the Army.  The caseworker who answered the phone helped him make the request for his daughter to come home from Germany where she was based.  Her mother was in intensive care at the hospital and the doctors had told him that when she left the hospital she would need care and assistance at home for at least 6 weeks.  Jeff was overwhelmed with the responsibility and at times wasn't even sure his wife would be going home.  The message was sent to his daughter’s unit following Red Cross verification of the situation with the doctor.  Jeff called our office stating, “Thank you so much.  My daughter is on her way home and I feel like a ton has been lifted off my shoulders.”   
Join me in taking time today to thank those in our lives who have or are serving our country.  And the next time you see one of our Service to Armed Forces (SAF) volunteers, take a minute to thank them as well.


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