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Jessica Piffero: Honor Veterans by Supporting Your Local Red Cross

This Veterans Day, take a moment to serve those who serve our country by supporting a local charity like the American Red Cross of Central California-Pacific Coast Chapter. Service to the armed forces is one the organization’s least known services, and yet one of the oldest Red Cross traditions.

Everyone knows the Red Cross for large disasters like wildfires and earthquakes, but many may not realize the important role that Red Cross volunteers play every day to support the military.

The mission of the Red Cross Service to the armed forces program is to provide humanitarian support to military members, veterans and their families around the clock and around the globe. The Red Cross even provides more blood to veterans than any other organization in the country.

Another one of the many services that Red Cross volunteers provide is emergency communications between families and service members. In the last year alone, the Red Cross of the Pacific Coast connected 101 local military families to service members through emergency communications.

Local Red Cross volunteer and 20-year Navy veteran Logan Weaver knows about these Red Cross services first-hand.

When his father had his first heart attack in 2000, Weaver was on a Navy ship off the coast of San Diego heading to Hawaii. That’s when he received the official Red Cross emergency message that his father was seriously ill. Within hours, he was on a helicopter headed home to see his dad.

“The ship that I’m on, at the time, does not stop and turn around,” Weaver recalled. “Had I not been able to get that helo, I probably would’ve had to wait 10-12 days to cross the Pacific and get to the Hawaiian Islands. Without the Red Cross message, I wouldn’t have been able to get that helo ride out.

“The Red Cross trumps everything. It’s a crucial portion of going on emergency leave. It’s like the golden ticket!”

That was one of five Red Cross emergency messages Weaver would eventually receive over his two-decade career in the Navy.

Now, as a veteran, Weaver feels that he has the opportunity to give back to the organization that provided him so much support in his time of need. As an armed forces volunteer and disaster responder, he provides moral support for service members returning from or leaving for deployment, and helps the Red Cross set up shelters in times of disaster.

“I find that the Red Cross is a blessing to me,” Weaver said. “I’m able to give back, and I’m able to pay forward all at the same time.”

So this Veterans Day, consider supporting a local charity like the Red Cross.

Whether it’s through volunteering like Weaver does, donating blood, or by giving a financial donation, your generosity allows the Red Cross to provide vital services to service members and their families right here on the Central Coast.

Click here for more information about the American Red Cross of Central California-Pacific Coast Chapter, or call 805.687.1331 in Santa Barbara or 805.928.0778 in Santa Maria.

— Jessica Piffero is regional director of communications for the American Red Cross Central California Region. The opinions expressed are her own.

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