Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Stationed in Iraq in 2009, Zachary Zimmerman was able to return to Utah to see his ailing Grandfather

Here is a great story highlighting another awesome service that the American Red Cross provides. The following story was sent to us by the father of National Guardsmen, Zachary. Stationed in Iraq in 2009, Zach was able to fly home to visit his ailing grandfather. For more information about our Services to the Armed Forces Program, check out our website.

My father Carl has lived in Mesquite NV since his retirement years ago. Over the years he has been in good health. Suddenly, between July and October 2009, he developed several ongoing medical emergencies requiring many hospital admissions in St. George UT. In October 2009 my father suffered a severe blood clot in his abdomen, severely damaging his kidneys and requiring a complete removal of his bowel.

My son Zachary is a combat medic with the Colorado National Guard. Early in 2009, he started a year-long deployment in western Iraq. As my father’s medical condition constantly changed, I did my best to keep Zach informed of his grandfather’s status. In October Carl’s condition became grave. I talked to Carl’s physicians and they recommended any family that could, should travel to St. George as soon as possible. With this news, I immediately began attempts to contact Zach in Iraq. Luckily, Zach had just returned from a mission and I was able to contact him. After explaining his grandfather’s condition to him, he asked I attempt to get him back to Denver so he travel to Utah and see his grandfather.

In the middle of the night, from my hotel in St. George, I made the call to the American Red Cross military assistance line. The American Red Cross worker compassionately asked me all the required questions. The American Red Cross worker also explained the next steps. The medical emergency needed to be confirmed with the hospital and then the American Red Cross contacted the military with our situation for their ultimate approval or denial.

Due to the work of the American Red Cross this request was processed quickly. Although responsible for a heavy mission workload, Zach’s command staff graciously approved his emergency family leave. Less than 2 hours from my call to the American Red Cross, Zach was on a helipad starting his rapid return to Colorado. Zach made it to Utah to spend quality time with his grandfather.

When families attend military briefings before deployments it is easy to think, I will not need the services of the American Red Cross. Nothing bad will happen in our family during this deployment. I too never thought I would need to make the military assistance call. I made that American Red Cross call for help October 2009.

The citizens of the United States support our military warriors in many ways like hand shakes in the airports and flags on our porch. The behind the scenes work of the American Red Cross makes them the unsung hero supporting our military and their families in their time of need.

1 comment:

Badvoodoo said...

I had my father die in 1981,the Red Cross was there to help get me home from my deployment in Germany. Then in 2006 they also helped me during my deployment to Iraq when my mother suddenly passed away. They got me home very quickly.They had so much compassion and understanding.Thank You Red Cross.