June 14, 2012

Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces Program debuts at D-M

Service to the Armed Forces, an American Red Cross Southern Arizona Chapter program that provides support to military members, veterans and their families, opened a new satellite office on Davis-Monthan, June 13.

In Southern Arizona, the SAF program offers essential human services to about 17,000 active duty personnel and members of all branches of the National Guard and Reserves, as well as nearly 95,000 veterans. In addition, family members of all service members, whether they are active, retired, or hold veteran status, are also eligible for services.

“The new office on D-M will increase access to services for one of our largest client populations,” explained Liza Watts, Director of the program.

Currently, the SAF Program has 11 AmeriCorps members, including six National Veteran Service Officers, who can coordinate a range of social services offered to an estimated 500,000 individuals in Pima, Cochise, Graham, Greenlee and Santa Cruz Counties, as well as the Tohono O’odham, San Carlos Apache and Pascua Yaqui Indian Reservations. Service to the Armed Forces works with local community organizations, nonprofits and government agencies, such as the Veterans’ Administration, TriCare, and Military OneSource to make sure military families and veterans have access to all of the benefits available to them.

“Although a long time in the making, we are thrilled to partner with such an esteemed organization as the American Red Cross,” said Col. David Uselman, 355th Mission Support Group commander. “Liza Watts and her team will provide an outstanding service to dovetail with what we currently provide. We look forward to a long-term relationship, with the goal of providing superior service to our military members and their dependents.”

Included among the services are:

  • Emergency communications
  • Crisis intervention
  • Courses on military bases, and at partner schools and community centers, to help families understand the deployment cycle and what services are available
  • Employment assistance in the transition from active duty to civilian or reserve status
  • Emergency financial assistance, including acquiring grants for emergency travel through programs such as the Casualty Travel Assistance Program
  • Financial literacy education from military partners
  • Referrals for discounts and services through local businesses and agencies for challenges specific to each individual, such as medical and dental services, emergency housing, child and elder care, etc.
  • Meaningful Volunteer Opportunities

Emergency Communications: 

The Red Cross is uniquely equipped with the latest technology to provide an exclusive, worldwide communications and support network that serves as a lifeline between military service members and their families during times of emergencies. The Southern Arizona Chapter also participates in outreach activities to promote these services.

When there is a verified emergency at home, such as the birth of a child, serious illness, critical accident, death or urgent financial need, family members may call the Red Cross for assistance contacting loved ones serving in the military. Red Cross can also request a Health and Welfare report on a service member when regular communication has stopped for unknown reasons. Emergency reporting and communication services are available on a 24-hour basis.

Crisis Intervention:

Service to the Armed Forces staff members have access to an extensive range of social service organizations and are able to guide clients and their families through what would otherwise be an overwhelming process. For example, service members returning from overseas, especially members of the National Guard who are not connected to the active duty military network may struggle to navigate the process to acquire disability designations that entitle them to health and housing services. Trained staff members are able to assist them through that process, helping families make the transition to civilian life.

Financial Assistance, Military Society/Aid Relief: 

Active duty military personnel, retired military personnel, and their dependents with a verified, urgent financial need, may qualify to apply for military relief loans for rent, mortgage, utilities, funerals or emergency travel. (The military relief societies make final eligibility determinations for loans or grants.)

Hours of Operation are Tuesday – Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and also on the first and third Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

During business hours, the D-M Satellite office can be reached at (520) 228-7206. For after-hours, emergency communications services, call 1-877-272-7337.

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