Military families receive assistance from American Red Cross

GREENVILLE, SC (WSPA)–As we prepare to honor the military men and women who died while serving our country, the American Red Cross wants everyone to know–support is available to military families.

The American Red Cross helps military members, veterans and their families prepare and cope with challenges with many resources.

“They were there for us, both times, and it was just…with everything that was going on, I needed that. I did,” said Alicia Sloan, mother of a Navy service member. “They were so nice, they really were,” she said.

The American Red Cross first stepped in for Sloan in 2017.

“We first used their services in 2017. My mother was sick, and she had a heart attack and she had open heart surgery and so her commanding officer at the time, let her know, in order to get leave, she needed to contact the Red Cross,” Sloan said. “We used them again in March of this year, when my youngest brother passed,” Sloan said.

The American Red Cross flew her daughter, Anetra Rosemond, back home from the Navy to be with her family.

“Had no idea that Red Cross and military had a connection. Had no idea. I just assumed that she could ask for time off and come home,” Sloan said.

“They purchased her ticket, her plane ticket to come home,” Sloan said.

Providing help during emergencies is just one of many services the American Red Cross provides for active or former service members and their families, through their Hero Care Centers.

“We have many programs that we provide for our active duty, retirees, and veterans, as well as their family members,” said Karen Cook, Program Manager for Service of the Armed Forces & International Service with the American Red Cross. “And so Resiliency is a huge program that we run. This year we’ve served over 558 active duty veterans and family members with resiliency workshops. Those are taught by licensed mental health professionals. Although there’s no therapy going on, they’re teaching coping skills,” Cook said.

Whether it’s through financial and rental assistance or art therapy, the American Red Cross has a long list of services to help create calmness in stressful times. The organization also has sessions for military spouses and more, to help get their minds off of things.

“We have one called creating calmness in stressful times, and that is basically mind-body,” Cook said.

“It could be PTSD. It could be MST, which is military sexual trauma. TBI–traumatic brain injuries,” Cook said.

Cook also said she is helping a widow now.

“We also run these workshops for kids. We have workshops that help kids feel safe. If their parents are deployed, it’s a safe place to talk about it,” Cook said.

Sloan said the American Red Cross helped lift burdens.

“From the standpoint of just easing my mind, and not having to worry about how is she going to get home,” Sloan said. “They did ease that burden of helping me figure out how she was going to get home,” she said.

Now, Sloan is recommending all military families reach out to the American Red Cross for assistance.

“I strongly encourage other families to reach out and find out what resources are available,” Sloan said.

Sloan said she didn’t know the services existed but is happy for the help.

“We were just dumbfounded not knowing that they could help like that. So it was…when you needed them, they were there,” Sloan said.

If you want to use any of these services and other resources, click here to learn more.

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