‘Lean on Me’

By Barbara Behling, Communications Officer, American Red Cross  

Major General Dunbar shares his appreciation with Red Cross volunteers. We provided beverage, tissues and even diapers to attendees.

Major General Dunbar shares his appreciation with Red Cross volunteers. We provided beverage, tissues and even diapers to attendees.

April 2, 2014 –  It was an honor to represent the American Red Cross at the Troop Send-off ceremony for the Wisconsin Army National Guard – 121st Field Artillery Alpha Battery Unit .  For 79 brave men it was their next step before hitting the ground at Fort Bliss and then shipping off to Afghanistan.

The air inside the 128th Air National Guard Refueling Wing was still. The faces of grandparents were stoic as their grandsons “go off to war” as one gentlemen shared with me. “I’m now back to changing diapers to help the family.”  Many times the wives of soldiers rocked one baby on their chest while holding their spouse tight while another child hung onto their legs.

The ceremony was poignant with a military band playing and the dignitaries standing in front of the largest American flag I have ever witnessed.  Major General Dunbar spoke from the heart, “It’s a bittersweet day to send soldiers into combat zones for a year. What happens at home continues. Take the pride in your eyes, the confidence in each other and lean on each other”

The American Red Cross is proud to support our active duty members and their families around the clock – around the globe. Each member of this unit has received special  briefings on what to do and who to call in case of emergencies. The American Red Cross will answer the call.

Any military member and their family can “lean on us”  by contacting their local Red Cross office or by calling 877-272-7337 for support.

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