Thousands of American Red Cross volunteers all over the country left their homes to help people affected by Superstorm Sandy. Among them are men and women who have left loved ones behind before to serve others – veterans of the country’s Armed Forces.
Jim Guidone of Greensboro, North Carolina is a veteran of the Vietnam War who now helps others as a Red Cross volunteer. Originally from Jeannette, Pennsylvania, Guidone has been a volunteer for seven years. He has helped people in California affected by wildfires and flood victims in the upper Midwest, Southeast and along the Gulf Coast. Guidone also deployed to help after a coal mine exploded in West Virginia, seven different hurricane relief responses and several times after tornadoes hit the country.
As Sandy made landfall in the United States, Guidone’s first deployment was to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, serving as a member of the Advanced Public Affairs Team to tell the public what the Red Cross was doing to help. He worked with people in several shelters in the area, including a Special Needs shelter in Lewes, DE.
After the storm made landfall, Guidone moved up the coast to the Atlantic City area. “Here, the devastation from the storm was much more severe,” he said. “I saw hundreds of damaged or destroyed homes, boat tossed ashore. Most of the area was without power or potable water and under a curfew.”
Guidone was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant when he graduated from college and spent most of the next year in flight school. After earning his wings, he was sent to South Vietnam and assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division as an Assault Combat Pilot. He completed a one-year tour of duty, earning the Purple Heart, Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry and multiple Air Medals.
HOLIDAY MAIL FOR HEROES Veterans Day, the day the country sets aside to honor and remember all military veterans, is November 11. What better time to send a card of thanks and support to the nation’s military and veterans as part of the annual Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes program?
Once again the Red Cross and Pitney Bowes are joining together for the Holiday Mail for Heroes program, asking the public to remember the nation’s military and veterans during the 2012 holidays. The mailbox will be open until December 7. Cards should be mailed to:
Holiday Mail for Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456
HOW IT WORKS Pitney Bowes will screen the cards for hazardous materials, sort and package them, contributing thousands of volunteer hours at sites around the country. Red Cross volunteers across the United States and on military installations overseas then sort and deliver the cards throughout the holiday season. The Red Cross and Pitney Bowes have received and distributed more than 4.7 million cards for members of the U.S. Armed Forces, veterans and their families since the program began in 2006.
A FEW RULES To ensure that cards are delivered in time for the holiday, they must be postmarked no later than December 7. Individuals are asked to refrain from sending “care packages,” monetary donations, or using glitter or any other kinds of inserts with the cards. More information and card requirements are available at redcross.org/holidaymail.