By Stephanie Heckman, Red Cross Public Relations Intern
“I’ll bet that everyone has a story to tell about our significance in our communities and how almost daily we are reminded of our worth,” says Jeff Miller, Executive Director of the American Red Cross of Fairfield and Hocking Counties.
Miller was in the office on a quiet day when he received an unusual phone call. The man asked him if he knew how to fold a flag. The request seemed strange, but as a former police officer of 27 years, Miller is no stranger to folding flags.
“No two days are ever the same, there’s always something different,” he says. “The Red Cross is always there for people in need. This just happened to be the need of the day.”
The man came into the office just a few days later. At around 60-years-old, he seemed to show his age. Miller said that you could tell by his face and his demeanor that life was hard but he was still proud. “The years have been hard on me too,” Miller admits.
He told Miller that he is a Vietnam veteran and his father was a veteran of World War II. His father was helped by the Red Cross during the war, during the days that the Red Cross served donuts and coffee to soldiers. The man said that while he was away in Vietnam, the Red Cross delivered messages, first of his mother’s and then later of his father’s deaths.
“I just wanted to help this fellow out there, this soul,” Miller says. “The Red Cross was there for him in the past, we were there for him that day.”
Recently, the man had received the flag that had decorated his father’s casket and now wanted help in properly folding the banner. After only eight minutes, the two men folded the flag, shared their stories and parted ways.
“Together we stood in solace and prepared that flag for proper display. As quickly my newfound friend came, he was gone,” Miller says. “Both our hearts touched by this moment, the Red Cross was there again in time of need.”