As conflict in Ukraine continues, the American Red Cross is committed to provide lifesaving aid to those in need — both in the country and in neighboring areas. In line with our work supporting military families, the Red Cross has sent trained staff to Europe to support emergency communication needs of U.S. military members, so they can stay in touch with family members back home. The Red Cross Hero Care Network is a Congressionally-chartered program that connects service members and their families in times of need. Red Crossers are also distributing comfort kits, containing hygiene items and other necessities to service members and U.S. State Department staff.

Ashleigh Carlin, Eastern New York’s Senior Regional Program Specialist for Service to the Armed Forces & International Services, recently deployed to Europe. We are proud to share this message, in her own words:

“I grew up as an Army brat, living a unique nomadic lifestyle rooted in selfless service, duty, and love for country. My father’s 20 years of service to the U.S. Army inspired my brother’s military service and unwavering patriotism in my sister and me. Years later, I married an Army Infantryman who demonstrates the same commitment to country and sacred duty.

“Knowing the liberties that I enjoy are made possible by the sacrifices made by my father and other veterans, the ultimate sacrifice paid by my brother and so many fallen heroes, and the sacrifices that my husband and service members alike continue to make every day makes living a life worthy of their military service personal.

“When the military deploys, American Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) deploys. Being with soldiers on the front lines to ensure the continuation of emergency communication services allows them to concentrate on the mission. This is a small act in comparison to their service. It is a privilege to serve alongside the heroes who preserve freedom, no matter where in the world that may be.

“Like Clara Barton, I am not a soldier. I am simply a profoundly grateful patriot honoring a personal commitment to support members of our armed forces that is carried out by upholding Clara’s legacy of service and vision to turn compassion into action. I hope to emulate Clara’s bravery and strength that becomes a trailblazing force for my daughter to break barriers and inspires a lifetime of service to humanity for my son.

“Since the announcement of my deployment, I have been overwhelmed by outpouring love and support. Colleagues and volunteers from across our division have reached out to express gratitude for my service, wished safe passaging, and asked how they can support me and other deployed SAF mobile staff.

“Continue doing the good work of the Red Cross back home. Volunteer, donate blood to to ensure a strong blood supply, and spread kindness. These selfless acts will help us stay focused on the mission downrange, knowing that military families and communities are supported. We have all been heartbroken watching the tragic events in Ukraine, and we must never underestimate the power of kindness.”

In service, 

Ashleigh Carlin