2015 Holiday Mail for Heroes

A Vietnam War veteran is thanked for his service with free coffee and donut coupons, provided by 7-Eleven, at the Red Cross tent on the National Mall.Holiday Mail for Heroes is an annual campaign in which the American Red Cross provides the community with the opportunity to send messages of thanks and holiday cheer to military members, veterans and their families. A simple note can have a profound impact. Show your support with an encouraging note for the holidays to the brave men and women who now serve and have served our country. Messages collected will be distributed to our local military service members, veterans and their families.

This year, the Campaign kicks off on October 1st, and ends December 31st. For more information on how you can be a part of this campaign, email us atSouthFLRegoinSAF@redcross.org or contact your local Red Cross Chapter.

June is PTSD Awareness Month

August 1, 2011. Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland. Stock photo of the Air Force. Photo by Dennis Drenner/American Red Cross

The American Red Cross offers multiple skill-building opportunities to help military service members, veterans, and their families. One of those skill building opportunities is taught in our Reconnection Workshop — learning to cope with PTSD. The month of June is PTSD Awareness Month, and we encourage military members and families to register for this workshop by July 20th.

It will be held on 8th August, 2015 at 335 SW 27th Ave, Miami 33315 starting at 9:00 am.

The purpose of PTSD Awareness Month is to encourage everyone to raise public awareness of PTSD and its effective treatments. We understand the joy of homecoming is followed by a transition period as the entire family readjusts to being together. Family dynamics often change during the service member’s absence, with partners assuming new roles and responsibilities, children who have grown and matured, and new family routines and schedules established. Both the service member and his/her family may have multiple challenges to manage as they readjust to these changes, reestablish bonds and confront the many details of managing a household. If the service member experiences long-term health problems that are sometimes prevalent after deployment, such as depression, Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), the entire family has an additional challenge to manage.
Reconnection Workshops support and ease the transition home:

• The Reconnection Workshops are confidential small-group modules, led by licensed mental health professionals. The workshops focus on building skills that enhance the likelihood of positive reconnections among family members, as well as the successful reengagement of the service member in civilian life, by increasing interactions and developing additional sources of support.

• The workshops are free and available to all those impacted by a military deployment from all branches of the Armed Forces, which includes Reserve, National Guard, active duty service members, veterans and their families, including spouses, parents, siblings, significant others and close friends.

• Workshops and materials focus on learning useful tools, effective coping mechanisms and where to find resources. Available workshops are:
 Communicating Clearly
 Exploring Stress and Trauma
 Identifying Depression
 Relating to Children
 Working Through Anger

To register for these valuable workshops, or to inquire about additional dates and locations, please email Mary.Jonas@redcross.org.

Robert Young, A History of Service

BobYoungRobert “Bob” Young is an American Red Cross treasure. He humbly comments, “If I can provide a helping hand and a word of comfort, then I’ve done my job.” This October will mark 75 years of volunteer service to the American Red Cross where he has “done his job”. From the third grade knitting squares for blankets for World War II service men, to being one of the first responders after Hurricane Andrew devastated South Florida, or operating the radio after Hurricane Katrina to today responding to house fires: Bob is doing his job. What many might not know about Bob Young is his history of serving our country.

Earlier this year Bob Young participated in the Veterans History Project. Our American Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces volunteers, Patricia Hartl and Diana McLeary, were privileged to interview Bob and learn about his service outside the American Red Cross. The interview captured in a video was submitted to the Library of Congress to archive his experience as an American wartime veteran so that future generations could hear a personal account directly from a veteran about the realities of war.

So as we near the anniversary of Bob’s 75 years of volunteer service to the American Red Cross, we would like to share some of that rich military history with you.

During the German occupation Bob enlisted in the army and managed to make his way to England after an officer discovered he could ride horses. This discovery placed him in the House Guard for England. He would laugh to himself as the American tourists would comment on the “English guard on horseback”. He was very serious, however, when he was honored by King George with a medal for his service.

Bob attended Embry Riddle after the German occupation and became a pilot. He reenlisted and took part in the Korean War and was a pilot during the Vietnam Conflict. One of his favorite memories during this period came while he was on detail to the White House and President Harry Truman would regularly come out the back door for a walk and wave to him and ask how he was doing.
As a recipient of too many medals and ribbons to remember what they are all for, he continues to honor our veterans with his work with the American Legion and Disabled American Veterans. Bob Young is not just a treasure of the American Red Cross; he is a treasure to all our veterans and American military history.
You can watch Bob’s interview for the Library of Congress online at: http://www.loc.gov/vets

M. Jonas
Red Cross, SAF Volunteer

May 3, 2014. Mayflower, Arkansas. Red Cross Emergency Aid Stations were set up throughout the effected area to provide support to residents. Volunteers and workers were available to provide mental health and medical support to residents.  Those affected by the storm were also able to pick up cleaning supplies including cleanup kits, rakes, shovels, gloves, garbage bags, tarps as well as snacks. Red Cross Mental Health Services volunteer Judy Boore speaks with Mayflower resident William Hollingshead. Photo Credit: Jason Colston / American Red Cross


There are many ways you can volunteer with us in your local community. Search now for opportunities to volunteer we are always looking for people with various backgrounds, talents, and skill levels.

March 28, 2015. Endicott, New York. Five teams of Red Cross volunteers with the Southern Tier Chapter partnered with Broome County Community Emergency Response Team to sponsor a Home Preparedness Day on Saturday, March 28th. They canvassed a 15-block area in the Village of Endicott, NY, where they inspected existing and installed new smoke alarms. They also provided home safety education.
Seven-year-old Ciara Colley with the family's Home Fire Escape Plan after Red Cross Volunteers partnering with members of the Broome County Community Emergency Response Team conducted a Home Fire Preparedness Campaign in the Village of Endicott.
Photo by Chuck Haupt /American Red Cross

Be Prepared

It is important to stay safe during an emergency, and the only way to do that is to be prepared. Click here to know more about the types of emergency situations and how to be prepared.

September 4, 2011. Schenectady, New York. Red Cross and AmeriCorps volunteers Mario Jickar and Shannen Collins help load cambros with food provided by a Southern Baptist kitchen in Schenectady, New York. Photo by Talia Frenkel/American Red Cross


The American Red Cross helps people in need every single day, not just during large scale disasters. With your ongoing support, we will continue to be there providing people in crisis with relief for today and hope for tomorrow. Donate now.