Five Lines Of Service: Service To The Armed Forces (SAF)

by Shannon Randol, intern contributor, American Red Cross

On average, the Red Cross aides and assists 240-250 military families a month. The program offers support to men and women in all branches of the military. There are three types of assistance beginning on the first day of enlistment:

  1. Emergency Services
  2. Service to Military Families
  3. Service to Military and Veteran Hospitals

24 hours a day and 365 days a year the Red Cross relays emergency communication messages between military branches and families. These emergencies can be a death, serious illness or birth of a child in the immediate family.

The Red Cross does the verification of information about the emergencies. The service members’ command waits for the recommendation from the Red Cross before acting.

“The service member doesn’t need to prove there’s an emergency, that’s what we do,” said  Program Manager to the Service of the Armed Forces Jack Wilson.

After a family member has made a family emergency claim, it takes on average less than four hours to contact that service member, no matter where they are. Local volunteers are then dispatched to the service members’ family home to assist with any additional emergency needs.


There are 2.5 million veterans who have joined and left the military since the September 11th attacks. And 44,000 programs created to help assist each of those veterans needs, also known as the Sea of Goodwill. 

Many times service members try to navigate military resources alone and end up frustrated. Sometimes never making it to the Red Cross to find help. The Red Cross should be the first call they make.

“Service members should come to the Red Cross first when looking for military services. We can put you in touch directly with the place you need to be,” said Wilson.


Volunteers can be found handling casework, educating audiences at events the SAF participates in yearly, helping gain personal relationships in the military community, or dedicating their time to military hospitals and pharmacies.

 If you would like to lend a hand to the SAF, please don’t hesitate to do so! Simply follow this link, and learn how you can serve the American Red Cross and your fellow Americans. You can find more information about our Service to the Armed Forces on our website.

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