It is an extraordinary time. People all around the world are fighting a common enemy, an invisible enemy, named COVID-19. Through all of this we are learning new ways to carry on in a society redefined by social distancing.
We find ourselves faced with similar, unifying circumstances, some more trivial than others: treasure hunts for toilet paper, learning the rules of isolation and sheltering at home, washing our hands while singing “Happy Birthday” twice, maintaining regular work hours while parenting simultaneously. These things have been our “new normal” for weeks now. However, overseas, U.S. troops and the people who support them have learned how to make the “new normal” a way of life.
Living in a New Normal
Katherine Jones is starting her fifth week navigating this “new normal.” She works for the American Red Cross and serves as the Division Manager to the U.S. Armed Forces in Japan and Korea. She also lives on a military base with her two children. She says she’s used to putting her disaster hat on to help, but for the last few weeks she hasn’t taken it off.
A source of joy for her is supporting service members and their families. She notes that the military community is good at taking care of each other because things change for them on a moment’s notice. Frequently, they experience changing regulations, changes to leave policies, etc. They know how to band together and adjust. She observes, “It’s pretty humbling to realize you are part of such a great community who are all willing to step up and support whenever necessary.”
Matters of the Heart
As a single mom, Katherine is so happy to be able to work with her kids by her side during this uncertain time. They love helping their mom by stuffing folders, shredding papers, and other important duties. She says following the guidelines of the CDC and self-isolating have been crucial in allowing her not to live in fear but focus on taking care of her kids and our troops. However, she noticed recently that her kids had become increasingly concerned about the virus, so she came up with an idea! She turned her kids into superheroes in an ongoing story entitled, “The Adventures of Noah and Amelia vs. sneaky Mr. Covid.” Everyday, the kids get to conquer ‘Mr. Covid’ by washing their hands, covering their sneezes and other hygienic practices.
“This game has helped them feel more in control of their own health and safety and seems to be relieving some of those fears,” she reports.
By doing their part as a family to protect themselves from this virus, Katherine has the capacity to serve and protect others at her job as well.
Red Cross: A Mother to the Military
For 15 years, she’s supported our military through her work at the Red Cross. She’s amazed at the continual determination of her fellow Red Crossers, even now, through a pandemic. Red Cross stations in Japan and Korea are providing emergency messages, preparedness education, disaster responses and more, around the clock, seven days a week.
Says Katherine, “They keep doing their job each day, they show up and continue to offer services with a smile on their faces.”
Red Cross Kids
Katherine remarks that her work does come with a fair share of challenges and sacrifices, but believes the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages. She’s proud to be raising her kids as “Red Cross kids” and to show them how to serve others. She’s seen this generosity play out in their young lives already. They’ve been inspired to share toys with disaster victims, write cards to veterans and collect cans for food banks. Recently, another mom wrote Katherine to say, “I don’t know if you know it, but Noah is very proud of you. He told me he wants to be just like you when he grows up.”
Katherine believes that her time working while watching her kids during this pandemic is not done in vain.
“In the end, our whole family takes pride in being able to serve others… and that is a very good thing,” she said.
You Can Support Our Troops
In the face of emergencies, just like COVID-19, the Red Cross continues to support our military, veterans and their families here in the U.S. and overseas.
Find out how you can volunteer your time to support our military at home and across the globe by visiting online at redcross.org/saf or downloading our Hero Care App in English or Spanish.
FIND COVID-19 SAFETY UPDATES Visit redcross.org/coronavirus for more information on COVID-19 safety. For the latest information, please visit the CDC website at cdc.gov/covid19. If you live outside the United States, health and safety tips can be found through the World Health Organization and by following your local Red Cross or Red Crescent society’s social media channels (directory).
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.
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