Red Cross Brings Military Families Together

Kathryn Bracho

By Kathryn Bracho: Click HERE for video of story.

Last year, Action 2 News anchor Sarah Thomsen tore up the floor in the Dancing with the Stars fundraiser for the American Red Cross’s local Lakeland Chapter.

This year, Action 2 News morning anchor Kathryn Bracho steps out. Each vote for your favorite dancer is a donation to the Red Cross (click here for details).

It’s a fun experience and raised money for an organization which helps thousands of people across Northeast Wisconsin.

The Red Cross provides a service not many people know about.

Most of us know the Red Cross is there after disasters like Hurricane Katrina or, more locally, a fire at your home.

But you may not know the Red Cross helps hard-to-reach members of the military get news and the emergency leave time they need when big events happen in their families, like deaths, serious illnesses, and births.

“I am there to help people in any way I can,” Gayle Hein said.

Hein says she’s proud to be a Red Cross volunteer. She never realized that her own family would need help from the Red Cross.

“Right before Christmas, my nephew’s mother had passed away unexpectedly at 49.”

Hein’s nephew, Kenneth Lehr, of Watertown, Wisconsin, was stationed with the Army in Alaska.

Lehr knew about his mom’s death, but standard procedure is for the Red Cross to confirm a death, birth, or serious illness so that the military member can get emergency leave.

“I think it was a godsend to him to get him home and stuff. I think otherwise he wouldn’t have been able to come home.”

Gayle Hein (on the left) volunteering at the Marine Corp welcome home event.

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