Home Community Organizations RED CROSS PROVIDES LINK TO MILITARY MEMBERS

RED CROSS PROVIDES LINK TO MILITARY MEMBERS

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March 21, 2003 – Sometimes during times of war and national crisis, local families may have their own personal crises and need to contact their military family members serving abroad. Keeping Virgin Islanders in touch with their loved ones during these times is part of the fundamental mission of the American Red Cross in the Virgin Islands.
Congressionally mandated, the American Red Cross utilizes its Armed Forces Emergency Services (AFES) program to link military personnel to their families back home through its emergency communications network. This is done while maintaining a stance of neutrality to all sides involved in the conflict.
"Virgin Islanders with family members serving in the armed services are encouraged to stay in contact with each other as much as possible," Bill Young, emergency services director for Red Cross in the V.I., said. "But when a family crisis arises, such as a death or illness, rest assured that the Red Cross is here to help and will get that emergency message to the military member."
To help the communication process, Young emphasized the importance of having some basic information about service members when contacting the Red Cross, including full name and military rank/rate, Social Security number, date of the birth, military unit's name and mailing address, and telephone number (if available).
"Once we have this information, it will make contacting the service member easier," Young said.
The Red Cross AFES program not only handles emergency communication regarding deaths or serious illnesses, but the Red Cross can send messages to announce births and to simply check on the welfare of a service member.
For more information about the program, call the local American Red Cross headquarters in the Virgin Islands at 774-0375.

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