Always on Time in Your Time of Need

By: Darrell Rush, Service to the Armed Forces Intern

Darryl

Hello my name is Darrell, I am a Social Worker intern at the American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio Regional Office in Cleveland.  I want to share my story of how the Red Cross affects each of us, at one point or another.

As part of my internship, I am working on a program that has become better over the years because of advances in Informational Technology. We are able to connect  people and resources with a simple key stroke. This program helps Red Cross volunteers provide information to family members of deployed military personnel. The information provided helps the family with resources that gives light on a dark situation. I know that when a person is deployed and away from family members there are plenty of anxieties to spread around.

I served in the Army in the late 1970’s, after the return of our troops from Vietnam. I wanted to fight for our country, but was too young. I enlisted as soon as I was eligible. When I did my family was a wreck.. My father was killed while I was in training, and I did not find out until after he was buried.They did not find out what to do to contact the Red Cross until after I came home on leave.

That was a problem back then that has been remedied today.

In February,  I was doing my regular duties-  making calls to our Service Members families – when a young lady answered and found out that I was from the Red Cross. She was very distraught and bewildered. She screamed to her mother that help was there and that God was good.  “The Red Cross is on the phone.”When the mother got on the call she immediately informed me that her mother just passed away the prior evening, and they did not know what to do in order to contact her son in the military. I explained the reason for my call and gave her all the information needed to start the process.  She kept on thanking God for this call and the Red Cross. By the end of our conversation she was at ease and had a plan. Then she said to me,” The Red Cross is always on time in your time of need.”

“Repetition is the only way to achieve perfection here on earth”. Since I was a young lad, I have always tried to place myself in the right position to help others. You see, by continuing to do the same thing over and over again it becomes like breathing air. That simple! This is the main reason for the Red Cross being the perfect place to start when looking for advice and information in your time of need; whether it be preparing for a disaster, contacting a loved one in the Armed Forces during an emergency, or even learning about administering first aid.

The Red Cross strives to share information that will help us prepare for an emergency.  They give advice on resiliency, and ways to prepare your household with hope for a better day. The Red Cross supplies resources that will help people to overcome personal tragedy and ensure a faster recovery.

To learn more about how the Red Cross helps our service members and their families visit our Service to the Armed Forces site.

Jessica’s Red Cross story

Jessica Sandoval, a summer intern with the Lorain County Chapter, displays her Leadership Lorain certificate.

Jessica Sandoval, a summer intern with the Lorain County Chapter, displays her Leadership Lorain certificate.

Following my sophomore year as a marketing major at University of Dayton, I became involved with the Lorain County Chapter of the American Red Cross through the Leadership Lorain County Internship Program. As the Communications Specialist Intern, I was responsible for increasing Red Cross awareness and donations through effective communications, public relations and the use of social media tools.

Previous to my assignment, I knew very little about the American Red Cross, but I was quickly amazed by this incredible organization. The American Red Cross is a non-profit organization and not a federal agency. As such, it receives no regular federal funding. The Red Cross also does a lot more than host blood drives. Each region is well equipped with a Disaster Action Team, Disaster Mental Health Team, and an array of other volunteers. They also offer services to the Armed Forces—from preparing soldiers and their families for deployment to getting those same soldiers emergency contact with their families while overseas.

Based on my experience, I do not think the public is well aware of the extent to which the Red Cross helps our local, as well as national, communities.

While attending a Friday Forum at the Cleveland City Club to hear President and CEO of the American Red Cross, Gail McGovern, speak I met a volunteer who truly changed my life. The woman, who dedicates 100% of her time to volunteering, and I discussed her career in the medical field and a trip she took to India to treat patients in a poor village. I commended her on her voluntarism and expressed how I wished my future profession in the business world would allow me to help people the same way hers does. I commented that those in the medical field have the ability to go the extra mile and help people in a more profound way than any other profession. She informed me it is not an extra mile, but a different mile.

During my time at the Lorain County Chapter I helped prepare for the annual 5K Run for the Red, and have witnessed the chapter go through a merger with the Firelands Chapter. I also created several campaigns for different chapter events including Christmas in July which supported the annual Holiday Mail for Heroes and the Pillowcase Project sponsored by Disney. I contributed blogs on chapter events and also created a Social Media and Marketing timeline for the annual 5K. I also canvased for our 5K, made phone calls in hopes of obtaining donations, and spread Red Cross awareness whenever and wherever I could. As a marketing major, I believe I learned so much about my future profession as well as what it is like to work for a non-profit organization. I had the opportunity to become CPR Certified as well as take Disaster Overview and Fundamental courses.

Whether it was hearing a volunteer’s Red Cross Story, or learning something new about my major (or even myself), I was inspired every single day when I stepped over the threshold of that history Lorain County building. I could not agree more with President and CEO of the American Red Cross, Gail McGovern, when she says, “the depth and breadth of all the Red Cross does still amaze me, and it’s an incredible privilege to play a part in it.” I plan on continuing my involvement with the American Red Cross as I complete the last two years of school and well into my future.