Written by: Jeff Revisky I’m employed at Scott Air Force Base and have been working with the military for 34 years, including the time I served in the Army and my current work as a government employee/security manager. My family recently returned from Germany where my son, Kyle, attended school on base, so my family is very familiar with military life, and consequently, very familiar with the Red Cross.
This year on October 3, at 4:55 am my wife and I received the call every parent dreads. It was the chaplain at St. Louis University Hospital advising us to get the hospital as fast as we could because our son Kyle had been in a terrible car accident. Knowing nothing else, we drove to the hospital. They allowed us to see Kyle for a minute before rushing him to surgery. Doctors were trying to stabilize him and determine his injuries. Later, we learned, in darkness and pouring rain, he had totaled his car on the interstate. When Kyle got out of his car, he was struck by an oncoming car going 65-70 mph.
We immediately began contacting family, still not knowing if Kyle would survive. We called our son Justin and told him his brother had been in a car accident. Justin wanted to come home, and we needed him home. The only way we knew to get Justin home was through the Red Cross.
The chaplain gave us the number for the Red Cross; we called and they immediately went to work behind the scenes, doing all the leg work, so we could focus on our son.
In just a few hours, the Red Cross had helped Justin complete everything he needed, and by 1 p.m. the following day, Justin was home. During that time, the Red Cross contacted us several times to make sure everything was progressing as it should. Amazingly, Kyle knew Justin was there; Justin gave Kyle the support that only a brother can give. Although not here long, Justin was home long enough to see his brother come off the life support.
My family is forever grateful to the Red Cross for supporting our family though this tragedy, but we know the Red Cross is always there for the military families– all over the world, providing support 24/7. We can never repay them for what they have done for us, so on behalf of our family and our soldier, Justin, THANK YOU! Thank you for your dedication to our military and their families. You will forever hold a place in our hearts and your act of kindness will never be forgotten.
By Jacob Meinkoth, Communications Intern
Chief Petty Officer Stephen Meyer, from Saint Charles Missouri, was aboard the USS Mesa Verde when his father suddenly became very ill. Stephen’s mother, Linda, desperately wanted her son to see his father before he passed. Linda had to reach Stephen quickly because her son’s ship was due to leave port. If the ship left the dock, Stephen very likely wouldn’t get home in time to see his father. Fortunately, Linda called the American Red Cross. A caseworker asked her for the name of his ship, where exactly he was stationed, and his rank. Armed with the information, the Red Cross made all the arrangements. Within hours, Stephen called his mother and let her know that he was approved. In less than 24 hours, Stephen was home with his dad. “If it hadn’t been for the Red Cross, Stephen wouldn’t have been able to see his dad before he passed,” his mother said.
Last year, the Red Cross helped more than 1,600 military families in the Greater St. Louis Region with 3,762 services, including emergency communications.
**As we prepare for the Lifesaver 2014 Awards Breakfast on March 13th at the Chase Park Plaza, please join us on our blog as we share the stories and extraordinary efforts of this year’s honorees.**
By Emily Cutka, Communications Intern
It’s no easy task to risk your life for another. And it’s not something to take lightly. But after spotting smoke from an active apartment fire and no responders yet on the scene, Lieutenant Colonel Dan Reece quickly jumped into action. With barely a backwards glance, he ran into the apartment to help the residents still inside.
The smoke was too thick to even see through, but the Missouri National Guardsman knew that there were people he needed to get out. He kicked through glass, broke down doors, and did whatever it took to make it inside the building. With the help of emergency personnel that arrived on scene, Reece made it inside and began coordinating efforts to carry out a woman who had been asleep in her bed. The woman, it turns out, was recovering from recent knee surgery. If not for Reece, she might have struggled to make it out on her own.
Most people (with firefighters being the exception) run out of a burning building, but Reece is not one of those people. He never thought twice about his actions. Still, he humbly gives credit to the other responders who were at his side, and to his brothers and sisters in the National Guard who would have done the same thing he did.
Reece’s love and appreciation for community is apparent, and it’s what he works to protect every time he deploys. And that day, it’s what drove him to go against the grain and run into a burning building, risking his own safety for that of others.
On March 13th at the Chase Park Plaza, Lt. Colonel Reece will be honored with the Military Award at our annual Lifesaver Awards Breakfast. We would like to thank Veteran’s Home Care, the official Sponsor of the Award, for partnering with the Red Cross to celebrate a true Lifesaver.
For more information on the Lifesaver 2014 Awards Breakfast, visit redcross.org/stl.
The holidays will be a little brighter this year for hundreds of local military children, and we are so honored to be a part of the efforts!
The American Red Cross St. Louis Area Chapter teamed up with Cardinals Care and KMOV for a holiday toy drive. In just eight hours in front of Busch Stadium one day this week, volunteers from all three organizations collected toys for kids 12 and under, and gift cards for those 13 and older. Members of the community drove by the stadium and dropped off about 475 toys and gift cards for the kids! The Red Cross has been a long-time supporter of the military, veterans and their families ~ what a great way to recognize them this time of year. Thanks to everyone involved!
Our goal for this campaign is to collect 25,000 cards by November 30th, and with official sponsors like the St. Louis Rams, Hardees, Northern Trust, BP and Fleishman-Hillard–as well as overwhelming support in the community– this goal certainly seems achievable!
This support comes in many shapes & sizes — like in the form of a card from a kindergarten teacher and her students. Janay Higgins of Child Learning and Development Center in Columbia, Missouri, and her seven students sent in this card–
and inside they wrote this letter below:
My name is Janay Higgins and I teach four and five year olds. We are making cards for soldiers and just because this is typed, please know it is still made with lots of love. My little friends have some questions and well wishes of their own for you. I do hope you enjoy. I have to say as I wrote things down, I even had a laugh or two. Kids say the greatest things. If possible we would love to hear back from you as well!
We live in Columbia, Missouri and it is starting to get cold here. Where do you live? Miss Janay teaches us a lot of stuff all day; what do you do all day? Do you have any kids our age? We also play too, we never get to play soldier because Miss Janay doesn’t let us play like we have guns, or like we are killing people. So we play like we are dinosaur keepers a lot, or zombies when we are outside.
We are learning about farms now, and yesterday we took a field trip to one. We saw cows, horses, and lots of puppies. We also took a hayride around the farm. It was a lot of fun. Have you even been to a farm?
Miss Janay said your job is to keep us safe. Thank you for all you do!!! She also told us you keep kids like us safe too, so they can learn and go to school. That is so very nice of you. This is a picture of us, not everyone was here that day, but most of us were.
We hope you have a VERY HAPPY HOLIDAY!!! Miss Janay’s Class“
The Greater St. Louis Region wants to thank Miss Janay’s class for this awesome letter to the military! We know that whoever receives this card–it certainly will make their day. That is the purpose of Holiday Mail for Heroes — to send a little holiday cheer to those who have valiantly served our country.
Don’t miss your chance to contribute to our campaign and support a hero:
SATURDAY, November 17th: Card Signing Event at Macy’s Court, St. Louis Galleria, 12-4pm with St. Louis Rams Cheerleaders, “Rampage” the Rams Mascot, and KLOU 103.3.
SUNDAY, November 18th: The St. Louis Rams host a Card Signing Event at their game vs. the New York Jets, at Edward Jones Dome. We will have tables all around the dome!
OR bring your signed cards to most local Hardees restaurants (locations here) or designated BP stations (locations here)
Hope to see you this upcoming weekend!