In 1881 when Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross she used her compassionate heart to do something amazing. Before she ever hitched a wagon to respond to a disaster, she reconnected soldiers with their loved ones back at home. Countless times she sat in the hospital next to a wounded hero and wrote a letter to a family who was desperate for news from the battlefield. Often her words gave hope yet other times they were those of closure. Both were a great service to those families and the boys who gave all for their country.
Over 130 years later, the Red Cross is still in the business of service to our soldiers and their families through the Service to the Armed Forces program. The American Red Cross serves and supports members of the military, veterans, and their families. The Red Cross also provides needed comfort and care in military and veteran’s hospitals, helps support military families with vital social services, and provides emergency communications to keep families connected when they need it most.
“Deployments are a fact of life in the military,” said Debi Meeds, military wife and mother as well as Regional CEO for the Red Cross in Southern Missouri. “Whether a service member’s absence is due to a training exercise, sea duty, combat, or unaccompanied duty in a remote location, separation and reunification pose unique opportunities as well as challenges for all family members.” The American Red Cross, with support from Walmart, developed a series of workshops to assist all military families in managing the family’s readjustment to the service member’s return.
Actively licensed and specially trained Red Cross mental health professionals lead participants through information and discussions designed to help them identify and respond to the challenges of readjusting to and transitioning back to a changed family dynamic. The workshops are targeted to service members and their spouses, children, parents, siblings and significant others. Topics include Communicating Clearly, Exploring Stress and Trauma, Identifying Depression, Relating to Children, and Working Through Anger. Participants have the option of choosing any or all of the workshops.
Each workshop is approximately 2 hours in length. Participants can take them in any order and select those most applicable to their situation. Workshops are free to military members and their families and occur in a supportive and confidential environment. For more information or to register for future workshops go to www.redcross.org/reconnectionworkshops or contact your local Red Cross office.
About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.
Photo By: Nigel Holderby
Info release on file: Joseph, Jurney (infant) and Kenzie Barnes at the Yellow Ribbon event in Springfield MO as Joseph and his family prepare for his first deployment in 2012.