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By: Christopher Plein, Ph.D.

When I can, in the evening I like to look out from my window at the clouds on the horizon.  In this time of reflection, I often ask: “What will tomorrow bring?” It is both a figurative and literal question. Changes in the weather, so to speak, can bring both happiness and hardship.  If there are difficulties ahead, I take comfort knowing that there are others who can help me prepare for, respond to, and recover from the challenges that might arise.

For both individuals and communities, one resource that can provide assistance is the American Red Cross.  Most of us recognize that the Red Cross stands at the ready, willing to assist at a time of need. And indeed the Red Cross does. For example, its work is often associated with natural disaster response and recovery efforts.

In addition to being on the scene when disaster hits, the American Red Cross has other missions as well. As we have examined through the MFLN’s recent Military Family Readiness Academy, the American Red Cross is an important resource to    families and communities. To learn more about the scope of services offered, especially in the context of disasters and hazards readiness and response, please see the webinar that the OneOp has archived on Families in Disaster Recovery: Coordinating Support at the Installation Level.  Part of recent series of asynchronous training resources offered by the MFLN, this session also provides professional development and continuing education credit for those interested.

For military families and communities, an especially important American Red Cross initiative is the Service to Armed Forces program.  The American Red Cross has a Congressional charter and mandate to serve military personnel and their families.  It does so in many ways, including providing emergency services for families and personnel, military hospital and clinic programming, information on and referral to community resources, as well as deployment and reintegration assistance.

Upcoming Webinar

On September 29, 2021, at 11 AM Eastern, the OneOp will host a webinar providing a closer look at the Service to Armed Forces (SAF) program. The webinar will feature American Red Cross representatives who will discuss the SAF’s services and initiatives.  Special attention will be given to online and in-person workshops that the American Red Cross provides to military personnel and families. Among these workshops are those focusing on resiliency knowledge and skills.   Individual, family, and community resiliency is crucial to anticipating and addressing the challenges that we face.  The distinct challenges in the military context, such as adjusting to deployment and reconnecting to family and community after deployment are just some examples. The workshops offered by the American Red Cross focus on these and other topics relating to individual and family well-being. Registration for the September 29 webinar can be found here.

In both troubling times and calm days, looking to the evening horizon can provide reassurance and comfort.  We can anticipate the future and recognize the resources and support that is there to help and guide us. The American Red Cross is a valuable resource in times of preparation, anticipation, crisis, change, and recovery.  Its support of military family readiness reminds us of the deep networks and resources that exist to help make us resilient.