IMG_0600Two-year-old Ayda and 4-month-old Trinity moved from Miami, Florida to Rensselaer, New York overnight. An unexpected family tragedy left Ayda and Trinity in the care of their grandparents, the Jaynes, who serve as National Guardsmen in our community.

The Jaynes have two boys at home (a 7-year-old and a 16-year-old), but they were utterly unprepared to welcome two little girls to their household. While Jobanka Jayne headed south to gather her granddaughters into her care, her husband was left with the daunting task of preparing for their arrival.

Upon learning what the Jaynes were suddenly facing, their Army National Guard unit in Troy reached out to Dianna Rios, Services to the Armed Forces program director at the American Red Cross in Albany. Dianna immediately sprang into action, calling on countless local partners to see how we might be able to help this military family in need of critical community services.

In less than 24 hours, the community responded in full force. Organizations including the Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Department, the NYS Health Department, Toys for Tots, the Veterans Miracle Center and the American Red Cross came together to support the Jayne family. They were able to set up brand new car seats, a crib for Trinity, a twin-size bed for Ayda, a stroller, a high chair, and more, all before the girls touched down from Miami. The family received diapers, formula, blankets, hygiene products, laundry supplies and lots of toys to help Ayda and Trinity feel at home in their new surroundings.

Jobanka brought the girls in to visit Dianna at the Red Cross just a few days after this huge transition.

Clockwise from top left: Dianna Rios, Jobanka Jayne, 4-month old Trinity, and 2-year-old Ayda

“It’s been tough, but you’ve really helped us a lot,” she said. “Now we are just taking it one step at a time.”

IMG_0597Dianna was thrilled to be able to meet Ayda and Trinity, and to see their smiling faces as she showed them yet another box of toys and household goods that had been donated for them. “It’s so rare that I actually get to meet people after we’ve called our community together to help them,” Dianna explained.

Our local Services to the Armed Forces team handles hundreds of cases like the Jayne family’s each year. Each case is unique, and each story is emotional. Fortunately, through the Red Cross Hero Care Network, our staff and volunteers are there to help local veteran and military families when they need it most. We offer a shoulder to lean on, and we connect people with resources to help them face life’s many challenges.

To learn more about the Hero Care Network and find out how you can help support local military families through the American Red Cross, please contact Dianna Rios.