Each year, the American Red Cross assists more than 240,000 military and veteran families by leveraging a network of volunteers across the country and around the world.
One of those volunteers is Ann Piontkowski, who began volunteering with the Red Cross of Greater Pennsylvania Service to Armed Forces when she moved to Erie. In her more than seven years volunteering with the Red Cross, Piontkowski has helped countless members of the military, veterans, their families and caregivers cope with the challenges of service.
“I wanted to become involved in the community and saw the Red Cross offered many opportunities,” Piontkowski said. Her son, father and uncle have all served in the U.S. military.
In times of emergency, Piontkowski and other Red Cross volunteers help military families communicate with their loved ones and facilitate their return home through the Hero Care Network, which is available online, by phone, through a mobile app or in person, 24 hours a day.
“...Getting a [military] member back home from overseas for a birth is always special."
The Red Cross can help connect families after an illness or death of an immediate family member or a significant life event such as the birth of a child. Piontkowski has responded to all kinds of situations for military families, but said, “getting a member back home from overseas for a birth is always special."