Narrated to Lawrence D. Dietz, Public Affairs Officer, Red Cross Northern California Coastal Region
Lisa Ann Rohr was one of nine Red Cross SAF Mobile personnel who left the U.S. for overseas duty from August 2020 to April 2021. Lisa Ann was one of two Red Crossers initially stationed in Iraq, at the diplomatic post Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center (BDSC).
Lisa Ann’s core U.S. roles and responsibilities for SAF in the Northern California Coastal Region of the Red Cross are Follow-up Casework, Military Treatment Facility (MTF) programs, including Licensed Medical Volunteer placement, and Military Entrance Processing Station Briefing program management.
As for deployments, Red Cross SAF Mobile Staff are assembled into rotating deployment teams from Continental US and Outside Continental U.S. Red Cross regions for a six-month mission. Lisa Ann, with her eight colleagues, were known as Team 44.
Like many other American Red Cross activities, the classes and discussion groups that have been hosted in our region by our International Services program are a service that has been re-engineered because of COVID-19 social-distancing requirements.
“When it became clear that this pandemic would be with us for a while, we started to rethink the way we were making our classes and other educational opportunities available,” says Go Funai, Director of the Service to the Armed Forces and International Services programs for the Northern California Coastal Region (NCCR).
So, beginning late last month, with an introductory course that is part of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) series, Funai’s International Services (IS) team has begun to deliver its educational offerings virtually.
The past six weeks have been unusually quiet in Northern California. The COVID-19 outbreak has forced much of the population indoors on shelter-in-place orders. For many, the 9-to-5 workday is a recent memory; classrooms are eerily silent. Parking lots nationwide sit empty; all but essential storefronts are closed indefinitely. The entire country has seemingly ground to a halt.
And yet, there are segments of the American workforce that forge on stronger than ever: intrepid healthcare workers, food service employees, first responders, and American Red Cross volunteers and employees. As the largest humanitarian aid organization in the country, the work of the Red Cross is constant, as is our commitment to helping those that need us. Read more
In early June, volunteers and staff of the American Red Cross International Services Division gathered in Orlando, Florida for a two-day training in International Humanitarian Law (IHL). The sessions provided much more than that!
The group was comprised of volunteers with a diversity of backgrounds: from lawyers, to International Red Cross delegates, to retired IHL military lawyers, to JAG officers who had been active in war zones. Taking place on June 1–2, the training focused on the “Rules of Engagement in Armed Conflict,” protection of the most vulnerable in times of war, and forced migration. Additionally, the group discussed best practices for outreach on these subjects.
The training was thoroughly inspiring. The IHL trainers — Randy Bagwell, Noah O’Connor, and Molly Kovite — were outstanding in their knowledge of the material and facilitated lively and inclusive discussions. All three were enthusiastic and supportive of the attendees throughout the training.
The presenters at the first boot camp hosted by International Services gathered outside the Carmel Office in March. Pictured are (l-r) Simone Cesa de Melo, Laura Fullem-Chavis, Mo Ghandehari, Jill Hofmann, and Go Funai.
The International Services Team of the American Red Cross Northern California Coastal Region is hosting a “boot camp” in San Francisco in June that is designed to inform attendees about the program’s many activities — and prepare them to help.
The workshop, the second the group has hosted in recent months, will take place on June 22, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Red Cross office at 1663 Market Street. More than two dozen people squeezed into the first boot camp at the Red Cross office in Carmel on March 9.
Wars, ethnic cleansing, genocide, and poverty — having plagued humanity for centuries — sadly continue to be part of our heritage today. The terms are synonymous with death, destruction, and the displacement of millions. But in spite of everything, there is still HOPE, manifest in the work of a humanitarian organization that lights the way amid the darkness.
By Samar M. Salma
Tamara is holding a cherished photo of herself, her late husband Oleg, and their daughter, Natalie. (Photo: Samar M. Salma)
From 1941 to 1944, the Germans subjected Leningrad, the former capital of Russia known today as “Saint Petersburg,” to one of the longest and most destructive chapters of World War II. Historians believe that the Siege of Leningrad — occurring over a nearly 900-day period — resulted in the deaths of up to 1.5 million soldiers and civilians and the evacuation of another 1.4 million people, mostly women and children. Read more