Dianna Rios of Guilderland, NY, began her work as Services to Armed Forces Manager for the American Red Cross Northeastern New York Region on October 29, 2012.
Rios is the wife of retired GySgt. Nicasio Rios, United States Marine Corps. In her new role with the Red Cross, Rios plans to garner more attention for the Services to Armed Forces programs, which include: emergency communications; pre- and post-deployment support, “yellow ribbon” events, and the annual “Holiday Mail for Heroes” campaign. She will also be looking to create more corporate partnerships. As a Marine Corps wife – and step-mom, her stepson Shaun served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves – she is uniquely qualified to advocate on behalf of those serving in the military, and the families that “serve” at home. Rios intends to remind the community that the Red Cross has a long history of serving the military, and that it remains an important part of the mission.
In 2008-09, Rios’ 12-month deployment diary, “For Honor, For Country…For Family”, received much local attention when published in Albany’s Latino New York magazine. The first installment, written upon her husband’s deployment to Iraq in June 2008, was a moving Father’s Day tribute to a father, a husband, and a marine whose love for family is shown by serving his country. Throughout the year, Rios told the story of her Marine Corps family’s life at home while dad is at war.
Rios’ prior career includes positions as Director of Marketing and Public Relations for The Desmond Hotel and Conference Center, Director of Events and Public Relations for the National Kidney Foundation of Northeastern New York, and most recently, Vice President of Relationship Management for Rivers Unlimited, LLC, a financial services company. Rios is an active volunteer for the Marine Corps’s Toys for Tots program, and serves on the board of the Cinderella Project of the Capital Region, a non-profit that provides formal and semi-formal dresses to financially distressed girls who would otherwise be prevented from attending special events at school.
Rios has a long tradition of public service in her family. Along with multiple generations of service members, there are generations of police officers, firefighters, and now, members of the American Red Cross. Her great-grandmother was a Red Cross volunteer during the World War I era. Rios’ recently received, from her grandmother, her great-grandmother’s Red Cross pouch, used by volunteers to store knitting supplies for making socks for the troops. The heirloom was a cherished possession by Rios’ grandmother who lost her mother as a young child.
While Rios’ employment began on October 29, her first day in the office wasn’t until November 7 – thanks to Superstorm Sandy. The Northeastern Regional office was immersed in the emergency response, so, as Sandy raged along the Atlantic coastline that Monday, Rios began her very personal mission with the Red Cross from home by reaching out to people she knew from previous experiences as a military wife. Her first contact with the Red Cross was the “Get to Know Us Before You Need Us” program.
“I was introduced to it as my husband prepared for deployment, and the support I received from the Red Cross during his absence cannot be measured in words,” said Rios. The local Red Cross staff stayed in contact with Rios and her family throughout her husband’s deployment. “They supported me through some difficult times throughout that year,” she added.
“I am so grateful that I now have the opportunity to work with other military families and share my support as they serve our country.”