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For Military Families, Red Cross Memories Endure for Decades

For more than a century, the American Red Cross has come to the aid of U.S. service members and their families, both in peacetime and in war.

This Red Cross Month, people across the country have told us how Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces helped them in a time of need. Their stories, including those below, remind us that it is often the small kindnesses that make the greatest impact.

More than One Unexpected Gift “In April 1968, my husband was a Marine corporal in Vietnam and I was seven months pregnant,” Linda wrote. “He had an opportunity to take an R & R in Hawaii, and my doctor said I was fine to go and meet him there. I scraped together enough money to make the trip and off I went. Unfortunately, things quickly changed, and by the time I reached Oahu I had toxemia and was immediately hospitalized.

Our son made an ‘early appearance’ as a result, so there I was, in a strange place with no friends or family, and totally unprepared for a premature baby. The day after I had my tiny baby boy, the American Red Cross showed up in my hospital room with a huge surprise. They had put together everything I would need until I could get back home—diapers, formula, layette items, bottles, etc.

I have no idea how they knew how needy I was, but they were really lifesavers for this new mom. Organizations like the American Red Cross help us all remember that we may, at some time, need help, so we should do what we can to help others, near and far, when they are most vulnerable.”

Good Deeds Never Forgotten “I was shot and seriously wounded in Vietnam. When I lay there recuperating, I became aware of these women who would show up in the ward and say kind things and bring juice and do many little things that meant so much. It was only later I realized they were Red Cross volunteers,” Tim wrote.

“On the flight home, the hospital plane landed to refuel in Alaska at about 5 a.m. on a Saturday, but these four ladies came up the rear plane ramp, pushing this stainless steel contraption with hot chocolate and donuts and going around serving all of us on board.

Many of us were in pretty bad shape, and it was the first thing that happened to us on U.S. soil. I remember asking myself, ‘What the heck sort of people get up early on a Saturday to meet a plane full of wounded guys on some remote Alaskan air base?’ They were Red Cross volunteers.

Now that I have been deployed to several national disasters and responded to countless local house fires and other incidents and have six years of volunteer work in the Red Cross, I am just beginning to answer that question I had asked myself so long ago. We should all remember that someone we help might be the next Red Cross volunteer, and many times what we do is never forgotten.”