Bringing the Comfort of Warm Blankets to Our Vets in Redding

By Marlene Stamper, Public Affairs Volunteer

Isn’t it great to curl up with a warm blanket on the couch and watch your favorite TV show? Or what about that feeling you get when you wrap your child in their special blanket? Blankets bring us warmth, comfort, and even a feeling of security for some of us. Case in point: Charlie Brown’s best friend, Linus and his oh-so-important security blanket. No matter who you are, young or old, big or small, I bet you appreciate the comfort of a warm blanket. I know I do. So, that’s why it was a great pleasure and honor for me to ride along with two of my Red Cross friends, Lilly Wyatt (Director, Regional Communications and Marketing) and Tobrin Hewitt (Regional Services to the Armed Forces Manager) to deliver nearly 150 blankets to the Veterans Home of California in Redding. The Home is a 155-bed, long-term care facility for California Veterans.

When we dropped off the blankets, we had the opportunity to say hello to a few of our veterans. They were happy and appreciative to receive our unexpected gifts. And, I like to think when our vets use the blankets they’ll be reminded that their service to our country is greatly appreciated, today and every day.

The First U.S. Community Credit Union provided the blankets. The credit union partnered with the American Red Cross to sponsor a blanket drive that resulted in generous donations from their employees and members. This is just one of many examples of the community showing their support for California veterans.

The American Red Cross has a comprehensive program to support our veterans called the Services to the Armed Forces program. Tobrin manages this program and he said, “Providing blankets for a little extra comfort to our vets in just one aspect of our program.” The Services to the Armed Forces program also provides so much more to military members and their families, such as:

  • Emergency communication services by connecting military members with their families back home when an emergency strikes.
  •  Emergency financial assistance by partnering with military aid societies to help military members and their families get assistance 24/7.
  •  Information and referral services for counseling, guidance, and other social services.
  •  Deployment services such as training, information, and support before, during, and after deployments.

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Celebrating our Veterans Then, Today and Always

A Vietnam War veteran is thanked for his service with free coffee and donut coupons, provided by 7-Eleven, at the Red Cross tent on the National Mall.

November 11 is Veterans Day. It is a day to remember and celebrate our men and women who have served in uniform. It also gives us a chance to reflect on the origins of the Red Cross—serving combat wounded on the Civil War battlefields.

  • Clara Barton began our mission caring for wounded warriors more than 130 years ago, and today, we continue it with renewed vigor and commitment.
  • We serve veterans on more than 100 VA hospitals around the country, and help tens of thousands of veterans every year.
  • In addition, the Red Cross currently represents hundreds of veterans before the Veteran Board of Appeals, and we accept approximately 10 – 15 new appeals claims cases a month.

Our service does not end there. We have also met many of our volunteers across the country who take off their military uniform, and continue to serve as veterans.

VetTobrinWe want to specially recognize those that serve the Gold Country region with passion and dedication; especially, our Service to the Armed Forces Mr. Tobrin Hewitt who leads that department with energy and a positive outlook.

What our Future Holds

The Red Cross is the second oldest Congressionally-chartered Veteran Service Organization, and the oldest Congressionally-chartered Veteran Service Organization non-profit, with more than 150 registered and Red Cross chapter-affiliated Veteran Benefits Advisors representing thousands of Veterans.

  • All told, today, our Red Cross Volunteers provided 1.25 million hours of service to our veteran and military family community last year alone.
  • We also value talent, skills and leadership of our veteran employees—having committed to hiring 1,000 over the past three years, we exceeded that mark by 300.
  • For the first time ever, the Corporate Diversity office will field a new team-member resource group for our veteran and military family employees and volunteers in 2016!
  • This Veterans Day, the Red Cross will lead and support more than 300 ceremonies and events across the country, showing our continued commitment to our nation’s finest and their families.

This Veterans Day, and every day…we will continue to be always by their side.