By Meagan Pollnow
The Cincinnati Enquirer
It provides emergency assistance to millions in crisis.
But the Cincinnati chapter of the Red Cross is especially important to Carolyn Maupin, mother of 20-year-old Pfc. Matt Maupin, the Union Township soldier who has been held by insurgents since April 9 when his convoy was attacked near Baghdad.
Carolyn Maupin spoke to more than 400 business, community and military leaders Thursday at the 99th annual meeting of the Red Cross' Cincinnati chapter at the Millennium Hotel downtown.
Her voice was steady as she thanked the Red Cross for its help in paying travel expenses to bring her family together after her son's abduction.
"We're here to show our thanks and support to the American Red Cross," she said.
Carolyn and Matt's father, Keith, declined to speak publicly after the brief statement. Maj. Mark Magalski, the casualty assistance officer assigned to the Maupins, spoke on the family's behalf.
"I think they're doing as well as expected," he said. "They are remaining cautiously optimistic."
He said the family receives periodic updates, but there has been no recent information in Matt's case.
"Together We Prepare" was the theme of this year's meeting. Volunteer Nancy Arnold of Fairfield helps military families.
Arnold once had three sons in the military deployed at bases across the country. She has used the Red Cross' emergency notification program twice - once when her nephew was killed in a car accident and again when her daughter-in-law was killed in another auto accident.
The Red Cross notified her family and paid to bring them home.
Arnold said she was grateful to the organization for helping her and volunteers as much as possible, mostly for military families. She organizes monthly meetings for volunteers to pack care boxes to ship overseas and comfort families as they prepare for troop deployment.
"I'm always looking for more ways to help," she said. "We never know what happens when our sons and daughters go to war."
To volunteer for or donate to the Red Cross, visit www.cincinnatiredcross.org or (513) 579-3000.
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