I’m sure we are all reflecting on our blessings at this time of year. Here is a portion of my list (Red Cross version):
I am grateful that I work for an organization that is anchored in a belief that each of us bears a responsibility to care about the plight of our fellow man.
I am grateful that we have a large cadre of selfless individuals, embodying the principles of the Red Cross, who volunteer their time to help us deliver our core services.
I am grateful that we have employees who can renew their energy, by staying focused upon the role they each play in helping the Red Cross achieve our humanitarian mission.
Although we were prepared to respond, I am grateful that the 2013 Hurricane Season was much quieter than had been predicted for the Atlantic.
I am grateful for all of our financial donors.
I am grateful for the positive impact we made on the lives of people who turned to us for help this year.
As you spend time with family and friends this holiday season, please find a way to share with them the reasons that you volunteer with, work for, or donate to the Red Cross. Also, please encourage conversations about disaster preparation and planning with your family and friends. I think it is a great topic for conversation when the entire family is gathered for a festive meal. You are demonstrating that you care about the safety and welfare of those you hold dear.
Today we pause to give thanks for all of the men and women who put their lives on the line in order to protect others. These men and women of valor deserve to be celebrated every day. War and armed conflict are always tragic events. Over the years, far too many people have had their bodies or mental stateor family bonds damaged by war. Nonetheless, the Red Cross has always been poised to offer support and assistance to members of the military and their families. Those ardent,dedicated Red Cross Service to Armed Forces volunteers deserve to be celebrated as well. Thank you.ery day. War and armed conflict are always tragic events.
The Junior First Lego League (JrFLL) is a children’s program that helps children discover the fun in science and technology. The league directs children’s curiosity towards discovering the wonders of science and technology. JrFLL features a real-world Challenge solved by research, critical thinking, and imagination. During the past few months a local Lego Group “The Brick Bros” partnered with the American Red Cross to help solve an issue that affects our area. This year’s topic was Natural Disasters. The Brick Bros decided to choose Hurricanes because our area is affected by this natural disaster. To learn more about Hurricanes the Brick Bros came to the Red Cross Office to learn about Hurricane Preparedness and how the Red Cross helps the community during a Hurricane Response. After learning about how the Red Cross helps people, the Brick Bros toured the building and were able to see where our tools and supplies are stored and the Emergency Operations Center.
A couple weeks after touring the Red Cross office, the Brick Bros returned to show us their skit and their solution to one of many problems that happens during a Hurricane. The Brick Bros created a website called How’s My Home. The Brick Bros decided to help the Red Cross with Damage Assessment after a storm. When you log in to How’s My Home you type in your street address, and the website tells you what damage there was to your home. It is complete with pictures, maps, and is updated daily.
On November 2nd, the Brick Bros competed in a Tournament for the JrFLL. There were dozens of teams throughout the region competing at Crittenden Middle School. When it was time to perform their skit in front of the judges, the Brick Bros nailed their skit. Once the skit was over, the Judges bombarded them with questions such as Where did you get your information? How did you partner with the Red Cross? What did you learn? Every member of the Brick Bros were able to answer the questions and blow the judges out of the water! Because of all of their hard work, the Brick Bros placed First on their research project and skit!
I was in Manhattan last month and I snapped this picture of One World Trade Center. When it is finished, it will be the tallest building in the United Sates at 1,776 feet. The building appears to soar. It is uplifting. It is inspirational. On this day when we pause to remember those who perished on September 11, 2001, let us also think about the indomitable spirit of all those who had to persevere after their world was destroyed on that day: people who lost loved ones, their co-workers and their sense of security. Fortunately, as with so many disasters, the Red Cross was there to provide comfort and support. I am grateful to all of the Red Cross employees and volunteers who came to the assistance of those in need in the days, weeks and months after 9/11. Also, I am thankful for all of the people who felt compelled to join the Red Cross as a volunteer as a result of 9/11.
As with all tragic life events, we each have a choice to make, either we can crumble and fade in despair or we can find a way to recover and thrive. One World Trade Center is an amazing architectural interpretation of the spirit of hope that we should try to embrace after tragedy and disaster.
One of the things I like about my job is my role as a story catcher. Over the years, I have interacted with scores of people who have joyfully relayed a story (or two) to me about their Red Cross volunteer experience. While recently attending a Red Cross Volunteer Recognition Event, one of the volunteers, who said she was in her mid 70’s, shook my hand and then told me her story. She even had ten photos in her hand that she presented to me like a slideshow as she recounted her volunteer experiences. Her work with the Red Cross was fascinating. For at least 30 years, this woman has dropped everything and come to the aid of her fellow man as a Red Cross volunteer whenever she has gotten the call. Home fires, floods, tornadoes, Katrina, handing out food, cleaning up debris and being there with a hug for someone in distress – she has seen it all and done it all. She said she loved everything that she had done for the Red Cross and I believed her. I could tell by the way she described her experiences that volunteering for the Red Cross enriched her life. I was happy to meet her and absorb her story.
The Red Cross is so fortunate to have so many dedicated and compassionate volunteers. Thank you, volunteers.
I attended a lecture on leadership at the University of Richmond last night. At the end of the event, a stranger walked up to me. She looked at my Red Cross pin and said, “thank you for what you all are doing right now in Boston. The Red Cross is awesome.” I thanked her for her words of encouragement.
I am grateful that our neighbors trust that we will be there for them, and their loved ones, whenever and wherever the unexpected occurs.
My heart goes out to the people whose lives were disrupted by the tragic event in Boston.
Every year the President of the United States, the honorary board chair of the American Red Cross, proclaims March as Red Cross Month. During Red Cross Month, let’s make a special effort to tell our Red Cross story and clarify misperceptions about our role in society. Some people assume the Red Cross lies dormant until there is a natural disaster. Some people assume that the Red Cross plays a critical role during those natural disasters because we are a quasi governmental agency, receiving federal funding to support our important work. Neither of those assumptions is correct.
Please spread the word about the work of the Red Cross. During the month of March, as with any other month during the year, the Red Cross paid staff and volunteers in this region will serve hundreds of our neighbors, including victims of home fires; service men and women hoping to connect with a loved one back at home; people who want to learn how to save a life by taking a course or donating a unit of their own blood; and students who want to mobilize themselves to help heal the world through an international humanitarian organization. We are able to fulfill our mission of preventing and alleviating suffering in the face of emergencies, because of our priceless volunteers and the funds that we receive from the individuals, businesses, and foundations.
These words appeared on the editorial page of the Richmond Times Dispatch in 2011 after the tsunami disaster in Japan, “After each natural disaster nations and political parties put aside, however briefly, their petty squabbles and pull together for a common goal: remaking communities and restoring hope. The work is often backbreaking, sometimes heartbreaking – but never futile. No matter how great the disaster inflicted upon it, humanity marshals its strength and begins to build again.” As I read those words, I felt that I could not think of a better way to describe the multifaceted, humanitarian work of the Red Cross and our role as the catalyst that brings people and resources together in times of crisis, both great and small.
Thank you donors, investors, volunteers and friends. We are able to do our work and respond to our neighbors in need because of you.