American Red Cross Partners with NCH Healthcare System to Expand its Veteran Visitation Program in Southwest Florida

NAPLES, Fla. (November 12, 2020) – The American Red Cross plans to expand its Veteran Visitation Program this December in Naples, Fla. In partnership with NCH Healthcare System, the Red Cross will launch its program at the NCH North Naples and NCH Baker Hospitals to support local veterans in the community.

“The Veteran Visitation Program at NCH highlights the importance and value of collaboration and community partnerships,” said Jill Palmer, executive director for the Red Cross Florida Gulf Coast to Heartland Chapter, “through this innovative relationship we can expand our reach in supporting community veterans.”

The program will be the first to launch in the Naples area and the second in Southwest Florida. Utilizing dually trained volunteers, the Red Cross and NCH will kick-off the program with virtual visits and transition to in-person visits once visiting restrictions are lifted. All volunteers of the program will be both Red Cross and NCH volunteers and go through the training and on-boarding process for each organization.

Typically, volunteers visit veterans admitted to the hospital to thank them for their service, advise them on the programs and resources available to them and provide a comforting word. Throughout the country, the Red Cross supports veterans in VA and military hospitals and this program models the services and care provided to them.

“The American Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces Department is very excited to be launching this partnership with NCH Healthcare System,” said Heidi O’Sheehan, Service to the Armed Forces Director for the South Florida Red Cross. “This program will expand our ability to deliver on our mission of providing care and comfort to our nation’s military heroes, not only while they serve, but throughout their entire lives. It is so important for local veterans to know that their service is not forgotten as well as to know about all the community resources that are available to them should they ever find themselves in need.”

“NCH is grateful for this collaboration with the Red Cross as helping our Veteran heroes is an honor and a privilege,” said Jim Mahon, PhD, NCH Chief Development Officer and Board Member for the American Red Cross Florida Gulf Coast to Heartland Chapter. “Volunteers offering veteran visitation will provide comfort, identify critical needs, and therapeutic properties; an overall powerful experience.”

The Red Cross is currently seeking volunteers, veterans, or community members with a strong passion for our armed forces that are interested in being part of the program. Volunteers should have excellent people skills and a heart for serving veterans. Due to COVID-19, volunteers will provide virtual services over the phone for 1-2 hours a day, once a week.

To learn more about the program’s volunteer opportunities, contact Tony Nazzaro at tony.nazzaro@redcross.org, Amanda Smith at amanda.smith@nchmd.org, or visit redcross.org/SFLVolunteer.