PUBLISHED: 3:52 PM on Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Giving about more than money
American Red Cross of Southeast Alaska

Courtesy photo
  Chase and Ashlee Julian bring a donation to the American Red Cross.
Aloha is the most spoken word in Hawaii. It conveys friendship and love. It encompasses the spirit of the islands and embraces the attitude of generosity and sharing. Its meaning is simply "in the presence of breath, our life source."

Ohana also is a much used word. It means the encirclement of family, to extend and bring together as one; simply put, "no one is forgotten or left behind." These words have symbolized an awareness of true friendship and generosity for hundreds of years; it is easy to fall into the simplicity of this culture and breathe the breath of life.

Recently, the American Red Cross had two small visitors, Chase and Ashlee Julian. With them, they brought a carefully wrapped Christmas gift. Grandma apologized for the late delivery of the gift and noted that Chase had done his gift wrapping for us at the same time that she was doing hers for their celebration. The packaged contained $14.20; money they had raised themselves for the Red Cross. It is a beautiful illustration of aloha and ohana.

These two children genuinely displayed the spirit behind the meaning of these two words and captured the spirit behind the principles of the Red Cross. It was a simple gift, one of hope and love for their extended family, the community of Juneau and Southeast Alaska.

We really appreciate Chase and Ashlee's generous gift. More importantly, they came in and gave with unbridled enthusiasm. Their eyes were bright, their smiles warm and their hearts are in the right place.

The gift they gave was not just one of money. It is more important than that. They gave the gift of a blanket, of temporary housing, of food for a family involved in a fire. They gave the gift of communication to a member of our armed forces whose family member is ill. Chase and Ashlee gave the gift of enthusiasm, hope and love.