Serving Those Who Served Our Nation

Pictured left to right: Derril Shiflet, Patti Shiflet, Suzanne Curtis, Mark Lemmon and Jack Dixon at the Santa Barbara County Stand Down in Santa Maria.

Over the past month, the Red Cross of Central California Region’s Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) team, Red Cross’s original division of service, celebrated its 31st year of Stand Down events. 

Events were held in Fresno, Bakersfield and Santa Maria, and it provided services for homeless and at-risk veterans. 

“We welcome them with open arms,” Sarah Brown-Monroe, a SAF volunteer, stated.

Brown-Monroe has given back to veterans in her community as a SAF volunteer because her sister, husband, and son have all served in the U.S. military. She said that the event’s title, ‘stand down,’ is meant to imply a moment of rest for the veterans that they help service.

From left to right: Volunteers Mary Frazier, Joe Martinez, Sarah Brown Monroe, Zaven Ohanian and John Templeton provided comfort kits to more than 200 veterans in Fresno.

The events provide free services, such as optical and dental services, benefits, drug and alcohol recovery, healthcare and employment development. The event also partners with the Fresno Veterans Association (VA) to, “Help us make sure that any veteran that comes in can get the housing and supportive services they need,” Brown-Monroe stated. 

Brown-Monroe said that the events serve a wide demographic of veterans including those who have served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, as well as veterans who are just returning home. 

“We have an older group and a younger group,” Brown-Monroe said. “We want to make sure that we take care of our older veterans and their urgent needs, and we want to make sure that our new veterans are coming home, receiving their employment benefits and transitioning to their civilian life.”

At the Santa Barbara event, volunteers provided local veterans and their families with Red Cross items and information including veteran’s resource guides, personal hygiene items and comfort kits. 

“We participated because we are supporting an organization that is reaching out and helping our veterans in need.”

Patti Shiflet

Our Commitment Never Wavers

The Red Cross helps members of the military, veterans and their families prepare for, cope with, and respond to, the challenges of military service. You can get involved by becoming a volunteer at

By Lucca Lorenzi, Red Cross Public Affairs Volunteer

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