Red Crosser strengthens Service to the Armed Forces program with extensive military family history, desire to make a difference

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When Lora Alexander called the RedCross in February 2016, searching for a volunteer opportunity, she never expected to walk away from orientation with a new job and a new way to help people.

Alexander has been a part of the military community since she was a little girl. A lot of the men in her family have been members of the military, including her grandfather, father, husband and son.

While these men play significant roles in Alexander’s life, her most influential role modelis her mother, Master Sgt. Laura Bellanger, retired Air Force. “Her path to the Air Force started with the Red Cross,” Alexander said.

Bellanger began volunteering with the Red Cross in the OB-GYN clinic at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City. Alexander was in first grade at the time and her family had just returned to the United States from her father’s tour in the Azores islands, off the coast of Portugal.

The Officer in Charge of the clinic recruited Bellanger into the Air Force after witnessing her dedicated volunteerism for two years. Upon completing basic training, she returned as a military leader to the clinic on Tinker Air Force Base. “That’s my very first interaction with the Red Cross,” Alexander said about watching her mother.

Years later, Alexander’s family also received help from the Red Cross following a homefire. “In January 2014, my mother lost her home to a fire. Watching the Red Cross work with her and the service lines that reached out was one reason [I wanted to work with the Red Cross],” Alexander said. “Another reason being that I wanted to give time to an organization that was in the business of helping others, particularly the armed forces.”

In 2016, Alexander called the Red Cross and started volunteering. That quickly led to her new job as Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) manager in Eastern North Carolina.

In this role, Alexander manages Red Cross SAF volunteers and community outreach programs at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro; the VA Hospital in Durham; and the North Carolina National Guard in Raleigh. Alexander will also work one-on-one with military service members, veterans and their families.

“It is my hope to continue the programs that are currently in place and increase the visibility of the Service to the Armed Forces group in my region,” Alexander said. “It is my goal to increase the number of active volunteers.”

Alexander has been in the staff development and training field for 30 years, as well as the human resources and facilities operations management fields with companies including Wachovia (now Wells Fargo), Hatch Early Learning, Lexington City Schools, Forsyth Community College and the North Carolina Department of Revenue. She has been a health and safety instructor with the Red Cross since February 2016 and served asa volunteer educational and outreach coordinator for Service to the Armed Forces. She is also an adjunct professor at Miller-Motte Technical College in Cary, teaching non-clinical medical courses.

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Alexander also has an extensive educational background. She is a graduate of Winston-Salem State University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. She also holds a master’s degree in Human Services with a concentration in Business from Liberty University, and a graduate certificate in General Business.

To learn more about how to volunteer with the Red Cross, like Lora and her mother, visit redcross.org/volunteer or to learn more about how the Red Cross works with the military community, visit redcross.org/military.

By Rachel Jennings/American Red Cross

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