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Fort Sill Red Cross gets a ‘Bravo Zulu’

A partnership that tossed a life preserver to the U.S. Coast Guard in time of crisis got a big “Bravo Zulu” here Wednesday.

In Navy signal flags that means “job well done.”

Members of the Coast Guard were hard hit by the government shutdown that began before Christmas and dragged on for some 35 days. Because the Coast Guard now falls under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, an agency whose budget had yet to be approved when the shutdown started, it was the only military service to go without paychecks until the shutdown ended.

In real-world terms, that meant young families struggling to keep their children fed, clothed and diapered.

A threefold partnership consisting of Coast Guard Mutual Assistance Inc., USAA and the American Red Cross came to the rescue of U.S. Coast Guard personnel during that difficult time. Representatives of all three gathered at the Fort Sill Red Cross Call Center Wednesday to recognize and celebrate the help their organizations were able to provide.

The Hero Care Center, as the call center on post has been branded for four years, has 90 of the 121 Red Cross workers who man its three call centers, according to Joshua Williams, manager of the facility. They served some 4,600 of 8,600 service members during the lapse in federal funding and distributed $5.4 million in assistance over the course of about one month, according to Keith Pannell, Fort Sill media specialist.

The Lawton Constitution

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