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Red Cross Opens Help Line for Pentagon Attack Victims

By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 13, 2001 – The American Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Service has opened a toll-free emergency hot line for Pentagon military and civilian personnel who want help in dealing with the Sept. 11 tragedy.

The number, (800) 888-6967, is staffed 24 hours a day by Red Cross employees and volunteers. The Red Cross is prepared to offer affected families with a wide range of emergency services, including mental health consultation, emergency travel, funeral services and other assistance, according to Red Cross representative Kelly Alexander.

More than 100 Armed Forces Emergency Service stations worldwide are helping families of those harmed by the terrorist air crashes at the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon, Alexander said.

"We've gotten about 30 calls already," Sue Richter, vice president of the Armed Forces Emergency Service, said this afternoon. "The families haven't asked for any particular assistance, they just want to talk. In many cases, they don't know anything. Our staff and volunteers are trained to listen and help anyway they can. They also ensure that the families have the telephone numbers for the military casualty offices.

"We realize that each request for assistance is unique, depending upon each family's circumstances," she said. She encouraged anyone who needs help to call the hot line or to visit any local Red Cross chapter in any part of the country. The hot line will remain active as long as it's needed to help people deal with the terrorist attack on the Pentagon.

Red Cross disaster assistance is free and is made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people, Alexander noted. Donations to help victims of these and other disasters can be made to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund by calling 1-800-HELP NOW or 1-800- 257-7575 (Spanish). Internet users can make a secure online credit card contribution by visiting www.redcross.org.

Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

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