Honoring and aiding those who serve: Armed Forces Day and Resiliency Workshops 

By Tim Poe, American Red Cross Volunteer 

Saturday, May 15, is Armed Forces Day, in which we celebrate current service members and veterans of the US military. The American Red Cross is proud to help honor all those who serve, and of its role in supporting service members and their families, including two upcoming Resiliency Workshops.  

The first Armed Forces Day was in 1950, following the unification of the US military under the Department of Defense. On this day, we honor the sacrifice and commitment of those who serve. In 1963, President Kennedy remarked that, “Our Servicemen and women are serving throughout the world as guardians of peace–many of them away from their homes, their friends and their families.” Continuing, he said, “They are also evidence of a harsh but inescapable truth—that the survival of freedom requires great cost and commitment, and great personal sacrifice.”  

Such dedication and sacrifice deserve support, and the Red Cross is proud to play an important role. Each year, the Red Cross supports more than 513,000 service members, veterans, and their families. We also provide services on all military installations in the US and on 35 overseas installations.  

The Resiliency Workshop Program is one of many Services to the Armed Forces offered by the Red Cross. All courses are free and include skills-building activities, stress-management techniques, and small-group discussion. They are facilitated by licensed behavioral health professionals who receive training on military life and culture. Topics include Effective Communication, Stress Solutions, Connecting with Kids, and Caregivers of Wounded, Ill and Injured Service Members and Veterans. 

“With sacrifice comes resilience. Those words are often used to describe our service members, veterans and their families,” said Jessica Tischler, Regional Service to the Armed Forces Program Director.  “Our Red Cross workshops support individuals in growing this resilience throughout their lifetime.”

Two workshops are taking place soon in Hancock County, Ohio.   

Effective Communication workshops are taking place on Monday, May 17, at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.  This program helps build effective communication skills with particular emphasis on transition points and the stress they can bring. It helps participants learn ways to communicate verbally and nonverbally as well as how to interpret and respond in positive ways to achieve a healthy outcome. 

Stress Solutions workshops are offered on Monday, June 21, at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.  This program assists in understanding the difference between health and unhealthy stress levels. Participants learn to recognize and manage stressors in their lives, particularly those related to transition and change. They also learn the physical and mental health consequences of allowing stress to build as well as some effective ways to address it. 

The workshops are offered both virtually and in person.  RSVP by email to Nichole Coleman at NRColeman@co.hancock.oh.us or visit the Hancock County Veterans Service Office website at www.hancockveterans.com

More information on Red Cross programs and initiatives for the Armed Forces is available here. If you are interested in additional workshops or other Deployment Services, please see this page. If you would like to volunteer with the Red Cross, please visit here. 

Mental health professionals: please help the Red Cross assist service members, veterans, and their families

By Tim Poe, American Red Cross volunteer

October 7, 2020- As part of their extraordinary service and commitment, members of the US armed services, veterans and their families face an array of challenges, some of which can impact mental health. In addition, 2020 has been an exceptionally difficult year for all of us. To help with vital mental health services, the Northern Ohio Region of the American Red Cross is seeking additional volunteers to serve as mental health facilitators as part of its Service to Armed Forces.

The Red Cross, which has served the military for over 135 years, provides services on all military installations in the US as well as 36 overseas installations. An important component of Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces is providing mental health and emotional support. Two such services are reconnection and mind-body workshops.

Reconnection Workshops focus on assisting service members, veterans and their families with the transitions that come with military service. Topics include building strong and effective communications skills, managing stress, discussing and finding methods to cope with trauma, emotional grit, connecting with children and defusing anger. There are also workshops which help children effectively cope and communicate. Another important workshop helps non-professional caregivers of wounded, ill, or injured service members and veterans.

With Mind-Body Workshops, the Red Cross teaches easy-to-use skills that connect the body with the mind to help participants cope with stress and trauma. Topics in the introductory course include breathing, mindfulness techniques, stretching and movement, body awareness and functioning, and guided imagery. A module to use mind-body skills includes drawing, journaling, meditation and mindfulness, body awareness through body scan, progressive muscle relaxation and mirroring, and self-directed imagery.

These workshops are free, confidential and offered in small groups.

Due to the pandemic, mental health facilitator roles are currently virtual but will return to being in-person once it passes.

If you are a mental health professional with a current and unencumbered license and hold a master’s level or above mental health degree, please consider volunteering to help the Red Cross provide these crucial services. Volunteering with the Red Cross provides a multitude of professional and personal benefits. These include training; professional development opportunities; remaining clinically active; the ability to advocate, provide feedback, and promote information in your area; and, most importantly, assisting those in need. For more information on volunteering please visit this page or call one of the numbers listed here.

More information about Red Cross Service to Armed Forces is available here.