Veterans on the frontlines again to combat disease and disaster

During COVID-19 and back-to-back disasters, veterans support communities

NASHVILLE — This Veterans Day, Nov. 11, the American Red Cross honors and remembers veterans during this unprecedented time in our nation’s history. The Red Cross is proud to acknowledge U.S. veterans who are choosing, once again, to serve on the front lines. Today, U.S. veterans are standing up with the Red Cross to stop the spread of the coronavirus affecting military and veteran communities across the globe. 

“The Red Cross has supported military and veteran communities for nearly 140 years, including supporting World War I soldiers through the 1918 flu pandemic,” said Joel Sullivan, regional executive director for the American Red Cross of the Tennessee Region. “Today, veterans across the country are bringing history full circle by lending a hand to safeguard their communities against COVID-19.” 

Veteran volunteers are applying their unique, professional skills in a variety of ways. They are assisting doctors and nurses, granting medical staff more time to address urgent patients. Through the Hero Care Network, they answer emergency calls 24/7 to help separated military families. Veterans are putting needle to thread and sewing thousands of face coverings to deliver to military and veteran hospitals in need. They are deploying and responding to back-to-back disasters. They are conducting virtual workshops to combat feelings of isolation in injured veterans and their caregivers. They deliver care packages to quarantined military families in need.

“This year is unlike any other in our lifetime. The need is so great. It’s pretty humbling to realize you are part of such a great community of fellow veterans who are all willing to step up and support their communities whenever necessary” said Jess Hernandez, director for the Tennessee Region Service to the Armed Forces/International Services.  


Many Red Cross volunteers are veterans who continue to support their communities after their active-duty service ends. Also, about 6% of Red Cross employees include transitioning military or veterans – from nurses to logisticians, emergency management experts, project managers and preparedness experts, as well as a number of veterans in leadership roles at local Red Cross chapters across the country.

Tens of thousands of Red Cross volunteers also serve in Veterans Administration (VA) and military hospitals across the nation and around the world. These volunteers support such areas as rehabilitation, recreation, administration and personal services to the men and women who are now cared for each day in these facilities. To learn more about how you can give back in your community this Veterans Day, visit

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross


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