Creating a Sense of Community Throughout The Appalachian Highlands

American Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces

Story and photo provided by Greg White

How do you adequately thank a veteran? I am not sure there really is a way. Here is a start though, thank you to those who secure our way of life. Veterans Day is a good time to remember that our freedom is not guaranteed. It is protected by the men and women in our Armed Forces. There is no way to thank them for every sacrifice that they and their families make for our freedom. We appreciate all the servicemen and women, both past and present, who made the decision to serve.

Service to the Armed Forces as part of the American Red Cross has been providing comfort and support to the members of the U.S. military, veterans and their families since Clara Barton began her humanitarian work on May 21, 1881.

We offer critical assistance in the following areas:
• Emergency communication
• Access to emergency financial help
• Briefing recruit military families
• Enhancing therapy programs in military hospitals
• Support of active, reserve, and veteran events
• Information and referrals to community resources and government benefits
• Stress, trauma, and coping workshops

Our local Service to the Armed Forces has been busy in many of those areas.

We provide volunteers and participate in assisting with Welcome Home – Yellow Ribbon events for troops being deployed or coming home, most recently the Army Reserve unit in Gray, TN where we distributed emergency communications cards to 80 troops providing important contact information to allow loved ones to know who to contact in case of an emergency.

We pride ourselves in coming alongside many other local veteran and military organizations like TC-MAC, DAV, American Legion, and so many others. Another example of collaborating with other organizations is that we worked with Hidden Heroes: an organization aiding families behind the scenes in support of veterans.

We are honored to link up with our VA partners that enable us to increase our outreach at the Mountain Home VA. Some of the ways we serve is by greeting veterans in the main lobby and working information booths to help with directions around the facility. We also have volunteers who work alongside VA Volunteer Services to help serve popcorn for $1 a bag: money that supports the VAVS efforts. We have provided and served cakes for events at the VA for a baby shower for the female Veterans group. Our volunteers presented Veterans at the VA with a single stem rose on Mother’s Day and an American Flag pin on Father’s Day to show our appreciation for them. We provide monthly birthday parties and cakes at the Community Living Center to recognize Veterans birthdays. We enjoy helping the VA with their annual Christmas parties. It is our honor to link up with so many partners to provide support for the patients of the VA. We also serve meals for Honor Flight where Veterans are flown to Washington DC to visit the Veterans memorials of the respective war they fought in.

As you can imagine, both Veterans Day and Memorial Day weekends provide us with a multitude of opportunities to give back to Veterans who have given so much to us. We look forward to the upcoming Veterans weekend by providing over 300 cards designed, created, and signed by local elementary school children.

Back to the opening question…. How do you adequately thank a veteran? Simple, say thank you for your service as you encounter these folks who choose or chose to serve. Then, let us know how we can help.

Learn how you can become part of our team by contacting Greg R. White at 423-617-2740.

We have a great team of outstanding volunteers that give so selflessly of their time. A special thanks to them and to our leaders associated with SAF and VAVS. Please consider joining us.

Greg White, SAF Lead
Beth Deming, SAF Assistant Lead
Ken Sheppard, VAVS Supervisor
John Barraclough, VAVS Deputy

The upcoming events that we will be supporting and providing volunteers for include “Walk in their Boots”, Johnson City Veterans Day parade, and various events at the VA on Memorial Day.

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