From Indiana to Djibouti and Back: Staff Member Thimann Jallah Talks about Deployment to Horn of Africa

During Red Cross Month, we sat down to speak with Thimann Jallah. She is a senior regional program specialist with Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) and International Services with the American Red Cross in the Indiana Region. Thimann, who is one of many mobile SAF personnel in the country, recently returned from a deployment to Djibouti.

This was Thimann’s first deployment, and it meant spending close to six months supporting U.S service members stationed in the East African country. In preparation for her deployment, Thimann traveled to Germany in early July of last year. There, she underwent orientation for nearly three weeks. During the orientation, she received her uniform, equipment for Djibouti as well as casework training.

In Djibouti, Thimann taught service men and women cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and Basic Life Support (BLS). She also provided emergency communication services to soldiers, including when Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida at the end of September, “There were service members who were worried about their relatives in Florida. They had no means of communication. Through our Disaster Cycle Service partners, we were able to provide information to these service members about their loved ones back home,” said Thimann.

She was also responsible for running the Red Cross station, management and distribution of in-kind donations to soldiers, which included snacks, soft drinks and toiletries. In addition, Thimann provided morale-boosting activities for service men and women, “We had a Vision board for people to be able to think about what they want to do in the future. For them to be able to say, this is what I’m looking for to doing when I get back home,” explained Thimann.

Since its beginnings, the American Red Cross has been committed to support our armed forces. This goes back to its founder, Clara Barton who provided care for soldiers in the battlefield during the U.S. Civil War. And it’s precisely, SFA staff members like Thimann and volunteers, who every day help the Red Cross fulfill this commitment to the military community, Veterans, and their families. This includes providing in-person support to service members in more than 100 U.S. military bases around the world.

In Thimann’s case, this support was offered to our troops in Djibouti from where she returned in mid-December. An experience, that she says, has given her a better understanding of the sacrifice service men and women face every day. Thimann added that it has made her a more compassionate person, and concludes “Going forward, when I see a service member, I’m not just going to say thank you for your service, but I’ll also ask them how they’re doing.”

You can find more information on how the Red Cross supports our armed forces here.

Written by Isis Chaverri, Regional Communications Director

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