It’s Military Appreciation Month and the American Red Cross is proud to honor both those who serve in the military and the thousands of people who support this community. The Red Cross stands beside our heroes from the day they enlist, throughout their military careers and beyond. We provide critical services with a caring touch wherever and whenever it is needed—24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year – serving military members and their families at home and around the world.
In fact, the Red Cross is expanding on that tradition by announcing the opening of a new Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) office in Poland to support American troops overseas.
“It’s both humbling and exciting that the U.S. military knows which team to turn to for support,” said Koby Langley, senior vice president for Service to the Armed Forces at the Red Cross. “At the request of the U.S. Army, the Red Cross is opening a new office in Poznań, Poland this month to support U.S. military personnel stationed in Eastern Europe. Our focus will be delivering our emergency communication services, facilitating resiliency programs and providing morale activities for service members.”
The need for a new Red Cross office in Eastern Europe first emerged as part of an annual multinational military exercise, Sabre Guardian in 2017.
“At the conclusion of the exercise in July 2017, the Red Cross and the military recognized that there was a need to move Red Cross services closer to the where military members were serving,” said Deanna Swanier, director of Service to the Armed Forces European Division at the Red Cross. “We needed to make our support services available onsite and easier for our troops to access.”
Jimmy Bradford, COL, USA, Deputy Director, Installation Management Command – Europe, explains that “in order to execute our mission, we need to bring to bear the full the power of the Red Cross, USO and other key enablers to support our soldiers and this critical mission on behalf of European Command and NATO.”
Once the location of the new office was determined, the next task was to find the right person to lead Red Cross services in Poland. Enter, Jason Kalinowski – a 23-year U.S. Air Force veteran and, since May 2016, a Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces Regional Program Specialist in Stuttgart Germany. While with the Red Cross, Kalinowski completed the U.S. Army Master Resiliency Course and has traveled to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait to serve as the Master Resiliency Training Administrator for U.S. Army Central since December 2017. These experiences and skills will help Kalinowski facilitate resiliency training to members of the U.S. military stationed in Eastern Europe.
“I’m filled with both excitement and trepidation on opening this new office in Poland,” said Kalinowski. “I’m looking forward to providing some aspects of comfort, care and resiliency to the service members currently deployed there. One thing I’ve learned from many years in the military, and my own family; is that no one person can achieve success without the help of others. As I build this new station, I’ll be relying on mentors, coworkers and family for advice and ideas.”
The Red Cross has been assisting members of the U.S. armed forces, veterans and their families since the early 1900’s. The first deployment in support of the military during an armed conflict was during the Spanish-American War when Clara Barton recruited nurses from across the country to help the Army at medical camps in Florida and Cuba.
Since then, Red Cross personnel have deployed to support U.S. troops in major conflicts, some of which include WWI, WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam, Panama, Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The Red Cross teams have opened offices in locations such as the Persian Gulf, Turkey, Somalia, Rwanda, Haiti, Cuba, Bosnia, Hungary, Croatia, Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Iraq, Kuwait and Djibouti.