Keeping loved ones connected overseas

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I was able to experience how much the Red Cross helps families from a unique perspective as a military spouse who was employed by the Red Cross in 1989-90. I was stationed in Okinawa, Japan as an Air Force spouse in my early 20's. I got a job with the Red Cross as a communications liaison at the call center. I had two major responsibilities. First, I was responsible for receiving and sending emergency messages back and forth between families on the mainland, and military personal on the island of Okinawa. For instance if a grandmother passed away or a baby was born, I would receive the message and relay it to the squadron commander to be given to the soldier. Conversely, if a soldier was ill or another message needed to be relayed to family back home, I would prepare the message to be sent to loved ones. Also, as part of my role, if a military family in Okinawa had a financial emergency, such as a fire or flood, I would issue a grant to families to help get them immediate food, shelter and/or clothing. Before having this role, I had no idea how much the Red Cross assists military families. It made me proud to be a part of the organization. We often hear about how the Red Cross helps in times of mass disaster need. I was fortunate to see how the Red Cross helped American military personnel, one family at a time.

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