Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Power of One: Services to the Armed Forces

Written by Red Cross volunteer Amy Yen

For the past 69 years, the President of the United States has procalimed March as Red Cross Month. It is a time for us to come together as a country and reflect on how important the presence of the American Red Cross is to our lives, whether it is teaching us life saving CPR, repsonding to a house fire in our neighborhood or keeping us safe and comforted in a time of disaster. The scope of what the Red Cross does is massive, but sometimes the even more powerful perspective is taking a moment to look at how our organization changes lives one person at a time. Red Cross Dallas' Red Alert blog introduces The Power of One series in honor of Red Cross Month and the individuals that make the Red Cross so great.

Proud military mother Laura Tiede poses with a photo of her son.
Photo of courtesy of WFAA, Dallas

The American Red Cross helps thousands of victims of disasters, provides emergency military communications and saves lives because millions of Americans donate their time, money and blood to the movement each year. This Red Cross Month, we wanted to share the story of one of our supporters who knows that one phone call from the Red Cross will one day bring immeasurable comfort and aid to her family.

Last August, Laura Tiede, a legal assistant who works for Legal Aid in Fort Worth, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Days before she had surgery to have her gall bladder removed, her son Fred was deployed for his second tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Her colleagues at Legal Aid, where she has worked for 17 years, wanted to take up a collection to help her, but Laura had a different plan in mind. “I told them if they were going to take up a collection, to give it to the Red Cross,” said Laura. “Because if something were to happen to me, they would be the ones to contact my son’s Commanding Officer to get him home. Besides that, I’ve been watching what they do during disasters. The Red Cross selflessly goes wherever there’s a problem. I felt pretty strongly about it.”

Laura’s co-workers at Legal Aid decided to hold a blood drive in her honor on Veteran’s Day last November, where more than 30 people gave blood. That was enough to help 81 patients while honoring Laura’s son and other soldiers serving their country.

Although her doctors originally told her she would only have months to live, Laura has kept fighting. Her company plans to make the Veteran’s Day blood drive an annual affair. And her son has been recalled back to the U.S. because of her condition and is now due to be stationed at Foot Hood in Texas.

Laura’s commitment to the Red Cross continues to be a true inspiration to everyone around her. “I think it’s a great organization. I think everybody should support it,” she said. “I would tell people, if you had a disaster, who would show up? If your apartment burned down, who would show up? It’s the Red Cross. They come with clothes and food and they take care of you. The Red Cross is there for everyone. If something happens, out come the trucks, like ants. I hope everyone will donate and give blood.”

Thank you, Laura, for reminding us during Red Cross Month that one person’s commitment to our mission can save countless lives.

Since the Civil War, the American Red Cross has been taking care of members of the United States military and their families. Read more about how the Red Cross helps the Armed Forces and military families and how to host your own blood drive for Red Cross Month.

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