From 11 – 15 October 2017 I served as a Public Affairs Manager for The Red Cross out of the Disaster HQ in Sonoma, CA. My time was divided into working with the media, managing the team’s efforts, drafting messages and documents along and, of course, ‘other duties as assigned’.
It turns out that PSYOP soldiers make pretty good Red Cross volunteers. The combination of ability to work under pressure, living in less than ideal circumstances and the skills of our profession make for a great combination.
I urge all of my colleagues to go to www.redcross.org/volunteer to explore opportunities to serve the community.
1. Disasters bring communities together.
The outpouring of local and Event Based Volunteers (EBV) was incredible. The Red Cross received over 10,000 applications from EBV in the first week and was able to put over of 500 of them to work.
2. Social Media Is The Jungle Drum of the 21st Century
FaceBook and Twitter were the main lines of communication. Fire Departments, Law Enforcement, traditional media, groups and individuals all took to Social Media to find out what was going out and/or to express themselves.
There is apparently a great deal of truth behind ‘misery loves company’. It must be human psychology – but bad news seems to go viral much more quickly than positive news.
4. Broadcasters tend to take Sundays off.
5. The public still does not understand the nature of the military
Today’s military enjoys more popularly and support than the military force has in years. Our long-term commitments in Afghanistan and Iraq have garnered a place of honor and respect for our military force in the eyes of the American Public. The California National Guard has been supporting the rescue and relief efforts in many ways from manning security posts to directing traffic.
Yet some members of the public are concerned about soldiers ‘with machine guns’ are walking around. (Of course the weapons in question are not ‘machine guns’ but M16s or M4s).
Community service is a rewarding and satisfying way for military personnel to harness their skills and experience to make their communities a better place. Consider how you might get involved.
(Photo source: The author.)