The Fort Stewart American Red Cross Services held its second annual “Run 4 Red” event Saturday.
Families ran 5 kilometers around the installation to support the mission of the Red Cross, which provides help to people in need. Volunteers, donors and employees focus on preventing and relieving suffering around the world by providing disaster relief, blood donations, health and safety services, and support in many forms. Their services to the military include emergency communications, training, support to wounded warriors and veterans, and access to community resources.
“Service to the armed forces is the oldest section of the Red Cross,” Fort Stewart Red Cross station Chairwoman Anna Moeller said. “We have been working with soldiers since before the Red Cross was founded.”
The program was established by Clara Barton in Washington, D.C., in 1881.
“Clara Barton was on the battlefield helping soldiers during the Civil War,” Moeller said. “We continue this service by focusing on the military and their family.”
The Red Cross provides emergency communication services by connecting military members with their families back home when an emergency hits. They also offer information and referrals by providing counseling, guidance and other social services. For deployments, the Red Cross provides training, information and support for military families.
“The Red Cross does a lot for the military,” said Col. Kevin F. Gregory, garrison commander of Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield. “They provide many services that benefit the military community as whole.”
The Red Cross offers educational classes such as cardiopulmonary courses, a dental-assistant program, babysitting courses and blood drives.
“They are a great volunteer organization,” Gregory said. “Another key factor we use here is their support for the landing foundation.”
This program provides grants for soldiers and their families during an emergency. The Red Cross works with the Army Emergency Relief organization to help soldiers receive immediate financial assistance.
“It is great working with the Red Cross and having them on the installation,” Gregory said.
To cover all areas of the military community, the Red Cross on Fort Stewart partnered with Club Beyond, a military-community youth ministry for high-school and middle-school-aged children, at the event.
“Club Beyond creates a sense of place for the kids,” Community Director Phil Parsons said. “It offers a place where they can meet other children who live the military lifestyle.”
The program is open to children from all walks of life. The organization partners with the Red Cross on the installation to offer children a chance to work in their community.
“We want to show our children how to have a servant attitude,” Parson said. “Service to the community and helping our soldiers is a belief we uphold just like the Red Cross.”
Children, soldiers and their families gathered Saturday to keep this belief alive by participating in the run.
“We really like interacting with soldiers and their families, but unfortunately, most of the time we interact with them for emergency situations,” Moeller said. “We want to let them know we are here for them all year — not just for the bad times, but for the good times as well.”