This Memorial Day weekend we caught up with long time Red Cross volunteer and veteran Bob Reggio to talk about his work with Service to the Armed Forces.
Fourteen years with the Red Cross and close to four years with Service to the Armed Forces (SAF).
What are your primary duties as an SAF volunteer?
I'm a case worker, following up on outcomes involving requests for emergency leaves or emergency messages. I contact the original caller making the request for a leave or for a message, and addressing problems that may exist.
What do you find most surprising in your work?
The impact difficult situations can have on me. Also the genuine and deep appreciation so many people have for what we are doing. Recently, a service father told me he always took the Red Cross for granted but no more. I am proud to be a part of that. I guess I am surprised too at how powerful the impact of SAF can be.
What would you like people to know about our SAF programs?
The impact our work has. The variety of ways in which we offer assistance and support to the members of our Armed Forces.
To be an SAF volunteer what characteristics do you think you need? Do you think being a veteran has helped you in this work?
As a Case Worker, I’d say that empathy is key. Sensitivity to the problems people are facing for which SAF has been called. The ability to articulate an awareness of the problem being faced and the recognition that people are different and that they face these situations in ways that may differ from your way. An understanding that family situations and relationships can be quite complex.
Although my service was many years ago, I think being a veteran helps. Sometimes just saying it to the families with whom you are working seems to provide a sense of reassurance and connection.
To learn more about the Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces and to get involved, please visit www.redcross.org/SAF