Washington, D.C., January 29, 2019 — As the new year begins, the American Red Cross is expanding support for U.S. military personnel currently serving in Eastern Europe by opening a new office at Mihail Kogaliceanu Airbase, Romania. Red Cross personnel will provide emergency communication services, resiliency programs and morale activities for service members.
“The men and women who’ve answered our country’s call to military service deserve the finest support that we can provide,” said Koby Langley, senior vice president for Service to the Armed Forces at the Red Cross. “We are committed to delivering critical services with a caring touch wherever and whenever it is needed—24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year —for military members and their families at home and around the world.”
“The discussion about opening an office in Eastern Europe began in July 2017,” said Deanna Swanier, director of Service to the Armed Forces European Division at the Red Cross. “It was clear that we needed to make our support services available in a location that’s closer and easier for our troops to access. As a result, we have an office in Poland and are now opening one in Romania.”
“It’s so important that our military personnel have someplace to turn to for support services while they are focused on their mission,” said LTC Chris Marquez, USA, Garrison Commander, Mihail Kogaliceanu Airbase, Romania. “We are grateful that the American Red Cross is there to provide those services - with a touch of home.”
Antoinette Williams will take on the mission to open and establish the new Red Cross office in Romania. Williams currently serves as the regional director for Service to the Armed Forces at the Greater Chesapeake Region and is 22-year veteran of the United States Air Force. Her skills and experience in Aviation Resource Management and as Master Military Training Instructor make her well suited to tackle this new assignment.
"The American Red Cross was literally founded on the battlefield by a woman who only wanted to serve the soldiers and relieve their suffering—there is no greater honor than to continue that legacy. My focus will be on delivering the best service possible, with a little touch of home, to the warfighters stationed there,” said Williams.
When asked about being separated from her family for an extended period of time, Williams stated that she and her husband were married on Nov. 21, 1992 and eight days later he departed for Incirlick AB, Turkey for 15 months. It was a challenging way to start a new marriage.
“I’m going to miss my family during this year long deployment, but there’s no way I could even consider this deployment without their loving support,” said Williams.
The Red Cross has been assisting members of the U.S. armed forces, veterans and their families since the early 1900s. Since then, Red Cross personnel have deployed to support U.S. troops in major conflicts including WWI, WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam, Panama, Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Red Cross teams have also opened offices in 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.
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.