The American Red Cross has helped to provide assistance to members of America's military and their families since the 1860s when Clara Barton was given the title of "Angel of the Battlefield" as she provided care to servicemen.
Then, after the Civil War, Barton was authorized by President Abraham Lincoln to write letters to the family members to identify the fate of the missing soldiers to provide closure to the grieving parents, family and friends. Ever since then, the Red Cross has provided emergency services to the Armed Forces.
Included in the services offered is providing an objective, timely, confidential, factual, complete and verified report on emergency situations between members of the armed forces and their families 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Family members can send a message through the Red Cross to their relatives, whether deployed or in training, anywhere around the world. These emergency messages can include, but are not limited to, birth of a child, death in the family or notification of a fatal illness of a family member.
Along with delivering emergency messages to military personnel, the Red Cross, in partnership with military aid societies, offers financial aid to eligible applicants to help with costs for emergency travel, burials or other financial emergencies. Financial aid is available to family members when emergency circumstances limit funds due to their serviceperson being away on active duty and veterans. Financial aid could include travel, lodging and food costs and could be used for travel expenses of a service member's immediate family to funeral services of a service member killed on duty, utility assistance and for emergency loans.
The American Red Cross aims to be of service to all members of the armed services - active members, veterans, reserves, the National Guard and their family members. These Red Cross services are available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. For more information on Red Cross services to the Armed Forces, visit redcross.org/swny or the local American Red Cross of Southwestern NY office in Jamestown. The American Red Cross of SWNY is a proud United Way Agency.