Braden Phillips, Chair of the Greater Long Beach, South Bay, Metro and Southeast Los Angeles Chapter Board
What is your current professional role?
My current professional role is being a retired person, who serves on a number of nonprofit boards in my community.
What was your first job?
My first job was being a newspaper boy. My hometown newspaper published a daily afternoon edition, and I had a route with about 75 homes, which I served on my bicycle.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Lockport, NY, which is located in western New York state between Buffalo and Niagara Falls. It was a city of about 25,000 people.
What is a fun fact about you or secret skill you have?
I’m not sure what constitutes a fun fact, and I don’t have a secret skill, but during my Navy career I landed on an aircraft carrier more than 500 times.
What is your personal connection to the Red Cross?
My personal connection to the Red Cross comes from those days as a carrier aviator. We routinely deployed overseas for six months at a time. During that period of family separation, it was common for significant events to occur in the lives of the sailors. The primary method of communication with the families to share that news was Red Cross telegram [Red Cross Hero Care Center]. When I commanded a squadron, we made two back-to-back deployments, which was especially tough on the families. During the second deployment, we received more than 300 Red Cross messages. While some were good news about births, most were about the loss of a parent or grandparent, or a serious injury/illness involving close family members. In those cases, the Red Cross message confirmed the need to send the sailor home on “emergency leave.” That message helped assure head-of-the-line privileges for airline tickets, etc. It also offered access to financial resources, if necessary. The Red Cross was a critical link between our sailors and their families at the most challenging times in their lives. I really appreciated that and welcomed the opportunity to volunteer with the Red Cross as a small token of my appreciation of the differences they made in so many lives.
Editor’s note: The Red Cross Hero Care Center is still a strong component of our Service to the Armed Forces work. You can initiate a request for emergency assistance for members of the military currently serving on active dutys. The Hero Care Center is available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with two options for requesting assistance: online and by phone.