PUBLISHED: 3:39 PM on Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Thankful this holiday season for a job that serves others
Helping a family affected by a disaster with their immediate needs, delivering a message to a member or our armed forces halfway around the world, supporting our firefighters at the scene of a fire with food and water - these are just some of the reasons I work for the American Red Cross.

It's the knowledge that I am working along side so many committed paid and unpaid staff who delivers services that exemplify the humanitarian mission of the Red Cross; together, we are making a difference in the lives of those around us.

Comforting a family that has lost their home, a firefighter saying thanks as you hand them a bottle of water, a service member's family grateful for a message being delivered to their loved one, or the student who used their CPR training to save a life - these are the things I remember during those times of mediocrity when work seems endless and the challenges surmount the results. These are the things that remind me that what I do makes a difference.

So this holiday season I would like to wish all of those who make a difference a happy holiday. To my fearless district director Shad Engkilterra who always provides guidance and wisdom and many chances to laugh throughout the day and really is a superhero in his own right. To the newest member of the Red Cross team Valerie Strasburger who is a breath of fresh air with all her amazing ideas, who has a passion for youth and will no doubt do great things.

To the firefighters who are committed to service with excellence, we at the Red Cross recognize them as heroes and are happy to support them by providing snacks and beverages during those times when a quick break is all that's needed in order to continue their work.

To the Armed Forces Emergency Services case workers who make themselves available to our military personnel and their families. Whether they are delivering a message or helping a family, they respond with compassion, offering the simple gift of hope.

And to our volunteers, a very merry holiday and a warm thanks for there commitment and willingness to give of themselves and their time.

The volunteers of the Red Cross are the back bone of our organization. They are the face of the Red Cross. Beauty lies within those who sacrifice of themselves to help another in need.

And last but not least, to all of you, the community of Southeast who generously donate to the Red Cross so that we will be able to respond to disasters.

Your donations help so many others who have been affected by disaster and that make each of you a very big superhero.

So from all of us here at the American Red Cross we want to extend a warm and safe holiday season.

May your days be filled with delight, joy and wonder and may all your New Year dreams come true.

Governed by volunteers and supported by community donations, the American Red Cross of Alaska is dedicated to saving lives and helping Alaskans prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies.

Led by over 1,500 volunteers and 27 employees, last year the American Red Cross of Alaska mobilized relief to over 1,050 Alaskans affected by disaster, trained over 32,000 people in lifesaving skills, taught over 78,500 Alaskans how to be better prepared for disasters, and exchanged more than 4,100 emergency messages for U.S. military service personnel and their families.

For more information about the American Red Cross of Alaska, please visit our website at