Twentynine Palms -- Since its inception in 1881, the American Red Cross has gone hand-in-hand with American history and the military. Its founder, Clara Barton, led a group of nurses into the battlefields of the Spanish-American War to care for injured troops. In the modern era, the American Red Cross staff serves alongside deployed military personnel and supports veterans and families on the homefront.
According to the ARC’s mission statement, they serve to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.
“Since Clara Barton made her way to the battlefield to support our troops, she has had many follow in her footsteps in any way they can,” said Gene Coughlin, regional director of service to the armed forces, ARC. “We have volunteers here, working at the military treatment facilities, providing care to service members and their families.”
ARC’s events and volunteer opportunities provide care for Combat Center families. They include pre-deployment briefs, the ARC Youth Club and fundraising events such as bake sales, blood drives and service member recognition events.
“The American Red Cross helps the spouses and families of Marines who get deployed from here,” Anna Lisa Burrell, office lead, ARC. “I mainly focus on the pre-deployment briefs, where we inform the families on what to expect and the services provided to them while their Marine is on deployment.”
A vital service the ARC offers to service members is the Red Cross Message sent when there is a need to inform a service member, as well as his or her command, about a tragedy in their immediate family. If emergency leave is given, the ARC can facilitate financial assistance on behalf of the Military Aid Societies through either a grant or loan.
“It is important to give back, especially to our service members and veterans,” Coughlin said. “Everyone on base is eligible to volunteer. The only requirement for volunteering is having your sleeves rolled up, your hearts open and you’re all in.”
To learn more about volunteering opportunities, contact the ARC aboard the Combat Center at (760) 830-6685.