Each November, our nation recognizes Military Family Month and Veterans Day. It’s a time to thank those who served -- and their loved ones -- for their sacrifices. The Red Cross is proud to support military personnel and their families in all phases of service, from the day of enlistment to deployments and re-entry into civilian life.
Ted Dimitt, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and Red Cross volunteer, has been involved in dozens of pre-deployment military briefings here in Central Florida. Of his role, he says, “We’re a part of something greater than ourselves. It’s really something special.”
Dimitt retired from the military in 2010 after 40 years. Looking to continue his life of service, Dimitt found himself at the San Diego Red Cross where he worked with military members and their families through several pre-deployment briefings. After moving to Central Florida in mid-2011, Dimitt volunteered for the Greater Orlando Chapter doing similar work. He has seen first-hand the importance of communication throughout all phases of service.
In Central Florida, volunteers like Dimitt briefed more than 7,400 newly enlisted service members and their families in the last fiscal year through our “Get to Know Us Before You Need Us” program. Volunteers take great satisfaction in these briefings, knowing the participants are gaining critical knowledge.
After a deployment, the Red Cross helps too. Transitioning back home can be a difficult process for the service member and his or her loved ones. Since 9/11, the Red Cross has offered reconnection workshops for service members, veterans and their families, designed to improve coping skills and resiliency.
Facilitated by licensed mental health professionals, reconnection workshops assist those impacted by a military deployment and bridge all branches of the Armed Forces. All workshops are free and confidential. Topics include communicating clearly, exploring stress and trauma, identifying depression, relating to children and working through anger. Sessions and materials focus on learning useful skills, developing effective coping mechanisms, and finding valuable resources.
In the last fiscal year, the Red Cross brought this type of resiliency training to nearly 220 service members and their families – and that number is growing.
To learn more about Red Cross services available to military personnel, veterans and their families, please visit redcross.org/military. For information about a specific reconnection workshop, register online.