Ask anyone what the American Red Cross does and the answer will likely include supplying lifesaving blood or disaster relief efforts during significant natural disasters. In fact, the American Red Cross does much more. In the broadest sense, the American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors. This mission sets the American Red Cross apart as one of the nation’s premier humanitarian organizations.
Historians would quickly add that the American Red Cross movement has its roots in the support of American armed forces, their families and veterans. Founded in 1881 by Clara Barton, the organization received its first congressional charter in 1900. From that first congressional charter to the one in existence today, the traditional purpose of the Red Cross consists of giving relief to and serving as a medium of communication between members of the American armed forces and their families as well as providing national and international disaster relief and mitigation. The American Red Cross services for veterans date back to World War I and remain consistent with this congressional charter.
Today, confidential services to all military veterans and their families begin by connecting them with Red Cross, national, state and local resources through a network of chapters across the United States and on military installations worldwide. Services range from responding to emergency needs for food, clothing and shelter, to referrals for counseling services, information on burial benefits and other resources specifically for veterans and their families. Veterans and their family members are supported in preparing, developing and obtaining evidence to support claims for veteran’s benefits, as well as appeals when needed. In addition, Red Cross volunteers generously give their time in Veterans Affairs Hospitals and United States Military Hospitals around the world.
The American Red Cross is proud to provide lifesaving blood, disaster preparedness, relief and recovery work together with this significant responsibility to American armed forces and veterans. George C. Marshall is said to have remarked that his work as National President of Red Cross in 1949-50 was his favorite assignment. When you consider General Marshall’s remarkable career, this is high praise indeed. As a member of the Red Cross leadership team in Virginia, I am equally proud of General Marshall’s Red Cross leadership legacy and our partnership with the George C. Marshall Foundation.
This Week’s Guest Blogger: Lee Clark
|Lee Clark, a business executive and nonprofit fundraiser, serves as Chief Operating Officer for American Red Cross of Virginia. Since joining the Red Cross, Clark and his team have responded to tornadoes, an earthquake, a campus shooting, tropical storms and hurricanes, a multitude of home fires, and a Derecho, in addition to work with thousands of veterans, active service members and their families. Always looking for work/life balance, Clark is also a joyful husband of 29 years, a dedicated dad to a college freshman and high school sophomore, and a sometime artist.|