Volunteers celebrating volunteers

By Kim Kroh, Stark and Muskingum Lakes executive director

December 26, 2019- Stark and Muskingum Lakes volunteer, Barb Thomas, was attending a disaster services department meeting earlier this month and was looking for ways to inspire, uplift, and build camaraderie among the disaster team. ‘Tis the season, and what better way to recognize volunteers than to host a holiday party.  She laughs, saying she may have overextended herself because only 4 disaster volunteers (out of 20) raised a hand indicating an interest in attending a holiday party.

Holiday Party K

Nonetheless, Barb got right to work, and her first step was recruiting helpers. Tom and Gwen Johnson eagerly volunteered to assist. Planning was officially underway, and the invitations were distributed. Tom hung all the decorations, and being 6’3”, he was perfect for the job. Gwen used her handy scrapbooking tool to punch out dozens of snowflakes, and Barb made a keepsake ornament for every volunteer.

Holiday Party J

Together they transformed the disaster services office into a space with intimate ambiance, colorful lighting, snowflakes, holiday trees, and festive tinsel spiraling down from the rafters. Appetizers, desserts, and punch were on the menu and each volunteer brought a dessert or appetizer to share. The invitation also requested the volunteers to wear an ugly Christmas sweater and holy moly, there were some doozies!

Holiday Party L

All in all, more than 30 people attended the party, sharing laughs and creating new memories. Job well done Barb! You were very successful in building camaraderie and reminding our volunteers, being one yourself, just how valuable you are to YOUR American Red Cross!!

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