A Day of Honor

On July 9, I blogged about the usual Friday activities of myself and my co-workers. If you recall (or if you scrolled down to see), we get good eats and meet fantastic individuals at chamber of commerce networking meetings.

Over the past year Barbara Niss, my associate across the cubicle wall, has had spectacular experiences connecting with members of the Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce. Countless relationships she has cultivated through the regular chamber meetings have resulted in businesses being trained, AEDs being placed in the community and blood drives. But perhaps Barb’s biggest success came two Fridays ago.

On August 31, the Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce held an “Honor the Red Cross Day.” Community members began gathering at Gordon Russell Middle School around 7 AM, where they were served breakfast by members of the Oregon Trail Chapter’s Emergency Response team straight out of the Kitchen Vehicle. While everyone was enjoying a hot breakfast, Kelly Scott, Training and Outreach Specialist, told the crowd about the ‘round the clock activities of the OTC’s Emergency Services team and the need for volunteers. Kelly did such a superb job that at the conclusion of her presentation at least two individuals signed up for volunteer work with the Red Cross.

Behind Kelly, representatives of the Pacific Northwest Region Blood Services were setting up a blood drive. When Kelly concluded, Joseph Shockley had the opportunity to explain the importance and ease of blood donations, as well as how they are used. The Gresham Area’s Chamber members again stepped up to the plate, giving a grand total of 18 units of blood during the event! That blood will help up to 44 patients in Portland-area hospitals—which you know, if you have read this blog in the past, touches me on a very personal level. Beyond that, two new blood drives were also planned in the Gresham area.

Barb, a member of the chamber’s Ambassador’s Committee, then had the opportunity to tell the chamber members about her mission and daily activities working in the Health and Safety Department. She talked about getting trained in first aid and CPR as well as the importance of having AEDs more prevalent in our community. Along with Barbara, Dr. Megyesi was there to share his amazing and emotional story of saving a life (see my post on April 9—”Our Heroes”). Elana Brazile, Business Manager (and my wonderful boss) here at OTC was also there with her son who, I am told, was on his very best behavior.

At the completion of the Red Cross’s portion of the program normal chamber networking meeting activities commenced. The microphone went around the room as everybody in attendance got the chance to state their name and business. What made the introductions different on this day were the countless individuals who also shared personal stories of how they had been touched by the Red Cross in one way or another—whether by taking an aquatics class as a child, a CPR class at a job, or whether they knew someone who was helped by the Disaster Response Team. Heartfelt stories were shared as community members became better acquainted with one another.

As if that weren’t enough, the chamber then had the usual drawing for the “Half and Half.” The idea is everyone buys a raffle ticket for a dollar. The winner of the drawing gets half of the cash, and the chamber gets the other half. The man that won the drawing on this day, however, was touched enough to donate all he’d won to the Oregon Trail Chapter. This was not the only cash donation given that day.

Barbara Niss, as well as the rest of our co-workers here at the Red Cross work hard every day to get the good word out about the Red Cross’s activities. The daily rewards of working at OTC are incredible, but events like “Honor the Red Cross Day” are the icing on the cake. Really rich, tasty icing. With sprinkles.

Congrats to Kelly, Joseph, many others who helped with logistics, and especially Barb for a job well done—with this event as well as on a daily basis. May all of us at OTC do our jobs so well that those with whom we associate will honor the Red Cross any way they can.


  • As embarrassing as it is to be the first to comment on my own blog, I had to share what Kelly Scott just e-mailed me in response to this post.

    “It really is more than a job. It gets in your heart.”

    She shows it.

  • Sounds like some good icing, and of course, a job well done. Sometimes people just need a reminder that it is so easy to help out in ways that really matter. Having received a transfusion myself, I know I am grateful for the service of the Red Cross!

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