May is Military Appreciation Month and the American Red Cross encourages more Angelenos to be like Zarinah Muhammed, a Service to Armed Forces (SAF) volunteer who turned her appreciation into action.
Zarinah is part of the 140-year Red Cross tradition of supporting the military community, providing a broad range of aid across the country and around the world. Services include military and veteran hospital programs, comfort and care for injured or wounded service members and their families, resiliency workshops, professional emotional health support, and 24/7 global emergency communication services delivering critical emergency messages for military families separated by deployments, trainings and more.
With a solid military family history, Zarinah’s great grandfather and grandfather served, along with cousins currently active in the Navy. As an SAF volunteer, Zarinah supports active and retired military members and their families, reaching out to see if people have the resources and services they need. When hardships are identified, Zarinah works with both internal and external partners to see that help is provided.
“It is rewarding to give people the means they need” said Zarinah, “There was a time in my life when I needed help too, so I understand what it’s like to be a family in need.”
In her experience Zarinah often finds a family is not forthright with all they require. Someone will place the initial phone call, maybe a wife, husband, parent, or sibling, and when Zarinah returns their call, she makes sure to mention all the services available through SAF, ensuring the people reaching out get all they need. The gratitude Zarinah receives at the end of her calls is what gives her pride in her volunteer work.
“I am left with the feeling that when people call the Service to Armed Forces number, they know they are going to get the support they need”, shared Zarinah, “Even when they don’t tell us upfront, we keep going until we figure it out.
The Red Cross believes one of the best ways to thank soldiers for their service is by volunteering to support military families, who like many others, experience emergencies and need a little extra support.