By Jayme Quick, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross North Texas Region
March 4 is National Hug Your G.I. Day, and it’s a great time to highlight some of the incredible resiliency resources available through our our Service to the Armed Forces (SAF).
While the term “G.I.” traditionally referred to Army personnel, this holiday encompasses all branches of the military and was created in 1996 to celebrate the men and women who have served our country.
Just like Hug Your G.I. Day, the SAF resources and programs are available to all of our nation’s military personnel and their families – including active duty, National Guard and Reserve, and veterans.
While the American Red Cross is often known in military communities for their Emergency Services, the sometimes lesser-known resiliency programs provide invaluable mental health, training, and support opportunities.
Local Red Cross offices, who develop and maintain relationships with key community partners and organizations, can help veterans and their families identify specific needs and connect them to the appropriate resources in their area. These needs can include anything from basics such as food, clothing and shelter to job training or mental health services.
In addition to resources, SAF staff and volunteers offer various workshops and programs to help military members, veterans, and their families with the stress of everyday life. Mind-body workshops are available to teach skills to help cope with stress and trauma, while reconnection workshops help participants improve their relationships at home and work, and within their community. All workshops are free and confidential for participants.
While the Red Cross’s service to military members has existed since Clara Barton and the Civil War, the services provided have certainly adapted and grown as the needs of our military communities change.
To become an SAF Red Cross Champion and help fund these and other resiliency programs, visit redcross.org/donate/militarychampions.
Veterans and their family members can access both emergency and non-emergency resources and find out more about SAF programs by downloading the FREE Hero Care App in the Apple Apple Store or by texting GETHEROCARE to 90999.