When disasters happen across the world, whether they are natural disasters like typhoons and tornados, or whether they are manmade like the war in Ukraine, the Red Cross steps into action.
The Red Cross organizations across the globe adhere to the same seven guiding principles, and a longtime volunteer and military veteran shared some insight on Town Talk’s recurring “former military, still boots on the ground” segment with co-host Phyllis Maynard.
Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Charlie Brown recited those seven guiding principles that serve the Red Cross and Red Crescents across the world: Humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, universality and unity.
Though largely self-explanatory, sometimes those principles are misunderstood, Brown told Maynard and John C. Rose.
The U.S. has pledged billions of dollars of relief to Ukraine as it defends itself from neighboring Russia’s advances, and Brown said the Red Cross has deployed volunteers to help, too. That’s the “humanity” principle kicking in, she said. The Red Cross is “responsible for alleviating and eliminating human suffering whenever possible.”
That being said, the “neutrality” principle is what some may have difficulty with. The Red Cross may not take sides or engage in controversies, Brown explained.
So while the Red Cross is sending people to help, they aren’t going into Ukraine, but to countries where displaced Ukrainians are re-locating.
Some of the volunteers have experience working with refugees; others are young people just out of college. The experienced volunteers can provide support for the younger volunteers.
“Most of us have been through all sorts of things, so we are here to be a sounding board for them. It can be a shock, she said, to see refugees fleeing their country with only the clothes on their backs and running from fighting.
“People who are deploying out for service to the armed forces have tended to be at both ends of the age and experience spectrum,” Brown said. She said other veterans, as well as military spouses are among those who volunteer for service.
The Red Cross volunteers keep in touch with families of deployed personnel – “we find out what’s needed and get things to them,” Brown said.
Visit https://www.redcross.org/ to learn more about the organization and the services it provides here and across the globe.