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Mom Celebrates Mother’s Day Far From Family


Mother’s Day is a day when mothers get lots of hugs and kisses and special attention from their loved ones. But Sarah Ellenberg, an American Red Cross Services to Armed Forces (SAF) worker, will spend Mother’s Day far across the globe in Korea, helping members of the military at a combat support hospital in Seoul.

Ellenberg’s sons, Chase and John, will also be away from home on Mother’s Day. They are both serving with the U.S. Army: Chase is deployed to southern Afghanistan with B Co, 508th STB, 4 BCT, 82nd Air Borne. John is with the 3/4 IN, 3/29 FA, presently at Fort Carson, Colorado.

“My plans for Mother's Day, that’s a rough one,” Ellenberg said. “Both of my sons are active duty Army, and of course, are exceptional soldiers, men and sons. Chase’s company has lost several soldiers since he’s been in Afghanistan. I will be thinking of their mothers on Mother's Day. I would be dishonest if I didn't say that it is difficult, but I am a proud Blue Star Mother.”

“My Mother's Day will be spent praying for and thinking about my two sons - giving thanks for them - and their fellow service members, and their mothers.” Ellenberg stated. “There will be tears - what can I say? I will definitely speak with John, but speaking with Chase is unlikely.”

Ellenberg has been stationed at the United States Army Garrison (USAG) Yongsan in Seoul since February of 2011. She is the Red Cross SAF assistant service manager at the 121 Combat Support Hospital, where she supports a volunteer program at Yongsan comprised of about 60 doctors, nurses, certified nursing assistants, practitioners, pharmacists, administrative staff and others. A U.S. Navy veteran herself, she became an SAF staffer to help members of the military and their families. In addition to supporting members of the Armed Forces in Korea, Red Cross SAF staff provide health and education information throughout the post.

Chase Ellenberg John Ellenberg

“My sons find it odd that we are all working indirectly in the same realm of operation in different parts of the world,” Ellenberg said. “They are both aware of our services to the Armed Forces and would reach out and ask for our assistance without hesitation. I think I have an advantage because I honestly see every service member as someone's son or daughter - same situations and issues that my sons face and deal with. Sometimes, I think that perspective gets lost in the big picture.”

“I love my job,” Ellenberg commented. “I am very appreciative and grateful for the people that I have met, and I am enjoying the Korean experience. While it’s hard being away from my family and friends, the rewards for this career choice are worth it. I try to find a smile and an accomplishment in every day and in every face.”

SAF HELPS MILITARY AROUND THE WORLD Red Cross SAF workers are present at more than 50 military installations around the world, including in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait. Through these military installations and the network of Red Cross chapters across the country, the Red Cross works 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to relay emergency messages to deployed service members, including those in remote locations and on ships at sea.

Last year the Red Cross provided more than 386,000 emergency communications services to more than 137,000 service members and their families and dispensed $5.8 million in financial aid to more than 4,700 individuals or families on behalf of military aid societies.

Members of the Armed Forces can count on the Red Cross to help in times of crisis, access to financial assistance in partnership with military aid societies, as well as programs for the country’s veterans. For more information, visit the Service to the Armed Forces program information on our web site.