Volunteers of the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago proudly said, “Thank you for your service, sir,” while they handed out hundreds of wallets and other services to unnamed veterans during the Veteran Stand-Down Event on Chicago’s Southside. The Veteran Stand-Down event that took place on June 22, 2012 assisted homeless veterans with food, clothing and other essential necessities. These heroes also received health screenings, Veteran’s Affairs and Social Security benefits counseling, and referrals to a variety of other services, such as health care, housing, employment and substance use treatment.
One of the many veterans in line waiting for services was George Griffin, who was helped by the VA for his drinking and drug addiction. George admired the work that the American Red Cross had done for him when he had a house fire. As George recalled his encounter with the Red Cross, he was joined by his brother, Maurice Garrett, a fellow veteran who served six years in the military.
Like George, the American Red Cross had made a lifelong impression on Maurice. Maurice wasn’t able to communicate with his family about his whereabouts after he returned to the US from active duty abroad. His mother was deeply concerned and contacted the American Red Cross for assistance. The American Red Cross was able to locate Maurice and reconnect him with his family. “[The American Red Cross] got me a ride home,” Maurice said fondly.
The brothers were not only thankful that the American Red Cross was there to help them but also to the other organizations that came out that day. The American Red Cross was able to be a part of their lives once again in another way that they hadn’t imagined. This dynamic duo even talked about someday volunteering with the American Red Cross so they can make an impact on someone else’s life like the other volunteers had done to theirs.
-Written By Amisha Sud and Lindsey Warneke