By Sigrid Ehlers
JACKSONILLE, NC – At a military base in Kuwait, two women bond over stories about their families. One woman is Kuwaiti and the other is a staff member of the American Red Cross.
Debra Moore, who was on a six-month deployment to Kuwait
with the Red Cross, said she and the woman drew stick figures on a piece of paper she had in her pocket to communicate. As Moore finished her drawing, the local woman smiled to
show she understood. She then indicated her family members passed away as a result of war, Moore said.
For the next several months, the two remained friends and met up near a Gazebo to share stories. Moore said she appreciated the help of local Kuwaitis who worked on the base.
Moore is a Service to the Armed Forces manager with the Eastern North Carolina Region of the Red Cross. It’s her job to support military members, their families, and veterans by coordinating with Red Cross volunteers to provide emergency services and communication, resiliency training (reintegration, coping skills following deployment, etc.), and support for wounded or ill military personnel. All services are provided free of charge.
“No job is more rewarding,” Moore said. “I love my military members and I love supporting them. I absolutely without a doubt would recommend this to others.”
With the Red Cross, Moore has deployed overseas twice – once to Bagdad, Iraq on July 1, 2010, and the most recent to Kuwait, which ended in May 2016. During her time in Kuwait, Moore was responsible for supporting military members on Camp Buehring, just south of the Iraq border.
At Camp Buehring, Moore said she helped establish a fixed American Red Cross facility on base. There, service members could get a taste of home – escape the desert temperature extremes, read letters from family, enjoy baked goods, and resupply on hygiene items. Many of the comfort items were supplied by Eastern North Carolina community members and Eagle Scouts who shipped care packages to the Red Cross facility.
“Debra’s deployment represents the global mission of the Red Cross,” said Joshua Cain, Red Cross regional director for Services to the Armed Forces in Eastern NC. “Wherever the military goes, the Red Cross goes with them.”
In the 53 counties that represent the Eastern NC Region of the Red Cross, there are 125,000 service members, 150,000 military dependents, and 400,000 veterans, Cain said.
“The military is ingrained into our community,” Cain said. “And in a world that’s so unstable, the military and its members can always count on the Red Cross to be there.”
Of the seven Service to the Armed Forces Red Cross staff members in Eastern North Carolina, Cain said five are veterans and two have military connections.
Debra Moore’s husband, Brad Moore, said he is proud of his wife’s work with the Red Cross overseas. “Debra and I both feel that what she does for the troops is very important,” he said. “I don’t have any problems with her deployments. She followed me when I was on active duty in the Marine Corps and now I follow her around.”
For more information about the Red Cross and its services to the armed forces, or to become a volunteer to help military members, visit redcross.org, or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.