The American Red Cross of Massachusetts honored two local volunteers with the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Volunteerism at a private gathering in Medfield, Mass., May 20.
Carlos and Melida Arredondo were presented the award by Koby Langley, Senior Vice President with the American Red Cross. Langley oversees worldwide operations of Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) program.
The Arredondos were cited for the honor because of their tireless work to assist military veterans, their families and many other individuals who are suffering after traumatic experiences.
Langley, a U.S. Army combat veteran, spoke about the importance of people like Carlos and Melida who give of their time to help others.
“The Red Cross mission is dependent on volunteers who are able to give their time to help people in need in their communities,” said Langley. “The ability the Arredondos have in reaching out to military veterans and others in their darkest hour is a priceless gift and we are so thankful for all that they do and have done.”
"The work that we do began as a way to turn our grief into assisting other military families because there are many people who do not know about what's available in terms of resources, and that's how we began attending funerals and providing support to military families,” said Carlos Arredondo.
“Now it is our mission to assist people who are struggling, particularly with a suicide or the death of a loved one in combat,” said Melida Arredondo.
Also present at the event was Ralph Boyd, chief executive officer of the American Red Cross of Massachusetts.
“Military members and their families are the true heroes of our community and have given for this country in immeasurable ways. Part of the Red Cross mission is to ensure at their time of need we are there to quietly comfort them and the Arredondos are amazing partners for us here in Massachusetts,” said Boyd.
The event was hosted by Red Cross Tiffany Circle member Julianne Inozemcev and supporter Suzanne Stadtler at a private home in Medfield. The event was attended by several local families who support the Red Cross and wanted to learn more about its SAF program.
The Red Cross SAF program provides care and support to members of Massachusetts’ military, veterans and their families through traditional and innovative programs aimed at preventing, preparing for and responding to the unique challenges that arise as a result of the deployment cycle and beyond.
For military members or their families needing support they can contact the American Red Cross Emergency Communications Center seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call (877) 272-7337 (toll-free) or contact your local Red Cross.