by Lindsey Viotto, intern contributor
After celebrating July 4, we wanted to highlight two of our core services – Armed Forces Emergency Services and International Services. Our own Joshua Bryant, Service to the Armed Forces & International Services Field Specialist, takes us through his position in the Red Cross and stresses the powerful role these programs play on a global scale.
Armed Forces Emergency Services provides reporting and communication services through the Red Cross’s global communication and support network that links members of the military any place in the world with their loved ones.
“At its basic level, if a family needs to get in contact with a service member while they are with their unit – whether across the street, on a boat in the middle of the ocean, or at a base across the world – the Red Cross can send a message and notify them of what happened,” Bryant said. “If the service member needs to get back home, we will also make sure to get them where they need to be.”
Bryant devotes a lot of time to the Armed Forces Emergency Services, but an equal amount of time is spent helping others through International Services. One unique function this service includes is reconnecting families during times of crisis.
“Recently I had a family that came to the United States under refugee status, but one of their children were left in the refugee camp in Kenya,” Bryant said. “There was no link of communication for the boy and that is where the Red Cross comes in. I am able to deliver messages from the parents to the boy and let them know everyone is doing okay. This is really powerful and a service that has to offered.”
The chaos and confusion of war and disaster can separate families when they need each other most. When this happens, the Red Cross joins the search across international borders, offering a unique service that reconnects families. In addition, Red Cross chapters help both adults and youth understand international humanitarian law and its relevance to our daily lives and issues we face as a country. Also, the Red Cross responds to disasters across the street, across the country and around the world. When disasters hit internationally, chapters provide technical support, relief supplies, and financial assistance to ensure rapid response and recovery.
Bryant believes these core services offered by the American Red Cross are essential to helping families keep in contact during crisis, and he is hopeful to expand these services to others in the future to reach even more families and servicemen in need.
To learn more about Service to the Armed Forces & International Services, visit RedCross.org.