Not many could locate the small country of Djibouti on a map, nestled between Ethiopia and Somalia in the Horn of Africa. It’s a hot, dry place where summers can reach temperatures as high as 140 degrees Fahrenheit. When the United States opened a station in Djibouti, the American Red Cross soon followed, traveling to a remote corner of the world to provide support for the men and women serving our country.
Since opening its doors in September 2011, the Service to Armed Forces station located at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti has been providing the aid and assistance service members have come to recognize worldwide from the Red Cross.
Now the American Red Cross offers health and safety classes to the military stationed in Djibouti. These classes are the exact same classes a service member might take at an American Red Cross station on a military installation in Germany or at a hometown Red Cross chapter.
“Safety, health and welfare are near and dear to any leader’s heart. The courses that our Red Cross Station offers provide a great opportunity for self improvement as well as a benefit for the overall community onboard Camp Lemonnier,” said Captain Scott Hurst, US Navy commander. “The skill sets learned –Adult CPR, AED and First Aid make Camp Lemonnier a safer place to be.”
The station has already held 19 classes and certified 106 people, including an instructor class creating seven new active duty Health and Safety volunteer instructors.
“With the environment we work in, a lot of things could happen. Having these courses available on base helps us know what to do in an emergency situation to help our fellow service members,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Denetria Walker of the US Navy who participated in the classes. “Having this training available could help us save lives.”
In addition to the health and safety classes, the station in Djibouti also receives traditional Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces support. The Red Cross initiates and receives emergency messages around the clock, seven days a week to provide service members and their commands with any urgent news concerning a loved one back home. Since its opening, the station has delivered 86 emergency messages to service members.
Volunteer opportunities working with the Red Cross also afford military members the chance to step out of their day-to-day routine and feel good about helping. At present, the station has 25 volunteers.
“It’s great to have an opportunity such as a CPR program in place while on a deployment. It gives me a chance to expand my knowledge and take my mind off of the day-to-day events while away from home,” said U.S. Army National Guard Specialist Nicholas Worthen who has become a Red Cross volunteer Health and Safety instructor. “It’s always good to know life-saving procedures and the courses provided here can really expand career opportunities when I return home.”
Every day lives are saved by those who have learned health and safety skills. Today, these skills extend half way around the world to our service members in Djibouti. They are now better prepared to protect those whose lives are at stake should an emergency arise. The American Red Cross Service to Armed Forces Station remains dedicated to serve those who serve our country.