The American Red Cross, born into military service during the Civil War, has continued the tradition of assisting American service members and their families in times of need throughout the world.
Programs_offered by American Red Cross on Okinawa include disaster assistance, volunteer programs, health and safety services and the Red Cross message system.
“Most of us are in this job because we truly appreciate the military and want to give back and make sure the military is well taken care of,” said Jana M. Fullmer, the American Red Cross station manager.
The Red Cross message system is an emergency communication system that helps families find and alert service members about situations at their homes.
“Our most important goal is the Red Cross messages and to make sure service members and their families are kept in touch,” said Fullmer. “Our daytime is the states’ nighttime, so a lot of messages come in even after hours, but we’re open 24 hours a day to get those messages out.”
Marine Corps Base Camp Foster is responsible for all Red Cross messages for Marines stationed at camps on Okinawa and the soldiers at Fort Buckner.
“When I was in the Marine Corps, I saw the American Red Cross as the people that brought us the bad news, but it’s not until you get to the other side of the fence that you actually see all the other things the Red Cross does,” said Chuck Miller, the assistant station manager at American Red Cross.
Miller also teaches several courses in health and safety services at the American Red Cross.
“My favorite class to teach is baby-sitting believe it or not,” said Miller. “There is nothing better than watching kids, age 11 and 15, eyes light-up when they learn baby-sitting techniques.”
At least once a month, Red Cross holds a babysitting course which can be attended by anyone age 11 or older and every month they also hold a cardiopulmonary resuscitation course.
“We also partner with a lot of different agencies and military units to help them provide CPR courses to their employees and members,” said Fullmer.
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Other courses taught by the Red Cross include Red Cross life-guarding and swimming lessons.
The Red Cross also provides volunteer programs that teach volunteers a variety of job skills such as nursing, administration or health service.
“One of our main programs is the dental assistant training program,” said Fullmer. “Since I have been here several of the volunteers who have gone through the dental training program are now employed at many of the dental clinics on the Marine bases on the island.”
The dental training program is free of charge and offered twice a year in conjunction with the 3rd Dental Battalion.
“The American Red Cross is truly a volunteer organization, said Miller. “Without the volunteers it just wouldn’t run.” source