Red Cross At Victorville Parade

(note: the following was written by Donna Webb, volunteer coordinator in our High Desert location)

The city of Victorville had a holiday parade on December 3, 2011.

We want to thank all of our volunteers who were able to participate: Cynthia Estrada, Valerie Solano, Ana Mendez, Omar Estrada, Richard Okeson, Lizett Diaz, Romona Prohaska, Charles Prohaska, Johnny Diaz, Lizzie Diaz, Marti Diaz, Rubi Diaz, Sergio Jr. Diaz, Chris Hammond, Dog ( Chester) Evelyn Greaver, Lisa Haro, Wilson, Wieneka Davis.

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What Dick Van Dyke and I Have in Common

(note: the following was written by Megan Pierce, an AmeriCorps member who is working at our Orange County office this year.  We asked her to reflect on one of her favorite memories thus far and she immediately thought of Veterans Day.  Her experience is below)

What Dick Van Dyke and I Have in Common
By Megan Pierce

On Veterans Day, I was honored to serve at a breakfast for over 400 veterans at the nation’s original U.S. Vets facility in Inglewood. Hearing the vets’ stories made me feel truly privileged to be an American Red Cross AmeriCorps member serving some of the country’s most honorable heroes.

Since I arrived early, I was deployed to work with the “celebrity guests” out of the media tent. The next thing I knew, a very bubbly white-haired man, wearing a black suit jacket and red, white and blue New Balance sneakers practically skipped into the room. Recognizing the animated face of Dick Van Dyke, I completely froze. I watched him glide across the room, captivating the attention of all the veterans, looking as if at any moment he would break out singing “Chim Chim Cheree” or “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!”

Having always looked up to him, I just couldn’t look away. I watched him socialize with the veterans as though they were old pals and realized just how humble a man Mr. Van Dyke truly is. And when it finally came my turn to meet the legend, I was at a total loss for words. What could you possibly say to such an iconic man, one whom I’d watched hundreds of times as a child?

Perhaps sensing my nervousness, or possibly feeling my sweaty palms, Mr. Van Dyke greeted me as though I were his only fan in the world. With a great big hug, he told me how honored and thankful he was to be able to be a part of the day’s celebration.

I told him that we shared that in common.

Fred, the Gift Giving Guru

I love the holidays…  The music, the lights, the crowds, the fact that people always seem happier. And I also love the presents.  I still remember waking up on Christmas morning and racing down the hall to see what delights Santa had placed under the tree.  As I’ve gotten older, I still love the gifts, but I also love the hunt to find the perfect presents for my family.  Nothing beats that feeling when you know you’ve given a gift that matters.

That’s one reason I’m a fan of this new PSA (public service advertisement) for our holiday giving catalog, which allows people to make donations in honor of their loved ones.  I’ve always thought it was a great idea in theory, but i think that this video does a great job of breaking it down in a fun, yet meaningful, way.  Fred is a cartoon character who is tired of giving and receiving “stuff,” so he decides to give hope, help and compassion instead.  It’s a bit of a departure from our standard fare and I think it works brilliantly.  Take a look!