Gratitude

Red Cross thank you cards from Sanger, CA school children

The other day I arrived at the office to find a really nice surprise.  On my desk were about two dozen hand-colored thank you cards from students in Sanger thanking the American Red Cross for all of the life saving work they do throughout the Central Valley and the world. As I read through each card and considered the time that was put into each one, I was really moved by the fact that a group of fifth graders would take the time to thank the Red Cross in such a special way.

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This got me thinking about the importance of gratitude. In an age where everything is fast paced, it is easy to be moving along our day so quickly and forget to practice gratitude.  Our lives are hectic; often jam packed with meetings, conference calls, soccer practices and deadlines. These things can easily derail us from practicing a life of gratitude.

In the last month, our team of staff and volunteers has responded to over three dozen home fires, canvassed neighborhoods to teach preparedness and install smoke alarms through our Home Fire Campaign, taught CPR & first aid courses, supported our nation’s veterans at local stand down events and supported our region at fundraising events and community partner luncheons.  The amazing work of the Red Cross would not be possible if it were not for the continued efforts of our staff and volunteers who are so committed to our mission and to them I express my gratitude.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company presents a donation to the Red Cross for the Prepare Central Valley preparedness programI also want to express gratitude to our partners and donors who make that work possible. The average home fire response has a direct cost to the Red Cross of $2,200. The life-saving work of our volunteers and staff simply would not be possible without the generosity of our donors. It is our partners and donors who, with their generosity stand with those who are affected by tragedy and I am so thankful to them for their support.

It was a wonderful gift that a group of fifth graders gave to me this week. Yes, of course the cards were beautiful and I am so grateful for their words and their creativity. More than that though, they helped me to slow down and remember why I want to live a life full of gratitude. We have so much to be thankful for and it is an unspeakable privilege for me to work with such amazing staff, volunteers and donors here at the Red Cross.

Barry Falke
Executive Director

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