Monday, July 17, 2017

Mid-West Tennessee Letter from Executive Director, David Hicks - July 2017

Hello Mid- West TN Chapter volunteers! I hope that each of you are enjoying your summer and having a good time with your children as they are still enjoying summer break. Coming out of another July 4th celebration (but my first as the Director for our local chapter) I have begun to appreciate and celebrate the special relationship we share with the armed forces now more than ever.

Each month, Executive Directors for each of the 8 Red Cross chapters in Tennessee come together for our monthly meetings in Nashville.  We were recently assigned to attend the planning meetings for different services of our organization (Disaster, Volunteer Services, Financial Development, Communications and Services to the Armed Forces). This is an attempt to further the Executive Director’s understanding and perspective on what each of the organization’s service programs provide and what the staff members of those respective programs are tasked with on a daily and weekly basis.

My first assignment while in Nashville in June, was to join the meeting for the “Service to the Armed Forces” (SAF) program and to sit in among their discussions and brainstorming. I was very appreciative to be given an “inside” perspective on the amount of planning and preparation that goes into developing a strong partnership with the military bases across our state- and the commanding officers that we interact and correspond with. These strong ties allow for more effective results in our efforts to convey/ relay important family messages to military men and women in the line of duty, to provide family support (financial, emotional, mental, spiritual) when the soldiers are at home or abroad, and to more effectively organize and carry out the widespread collection and distribution of the letters and cards for the “Holiday Mail for Heroes” program. These are all HUGE undertakings that require much planning and coordinating that I often take for granted (and I’m sure some of you do too). We have a tremendous volunteer in our local chapter who does SAF services on our behalf. His name is Dave Brumley and many of you know him personally. We are very fortunate to have Dave at the helm on our behalf!

After having met with our SAF Tennessee staff/ team members (and serving with Dave daily), I can honestly say they are an exceptional group that not only provides a lot of know how (due to many of them having military backgrounds) but they also work well as a team in their collaborations for the sake of the SAF program. Next time you speak with someone who serves on your local chapter’s SAF service team, please take a moment to thank them for the time and effort they invest in such an important outreach for the American Red Cross! You’ll be glad you did!

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