Friday, September 11, 2015

Letter from East Tennessee Executive Director Michelle Hankes, September 2015

Fall and football are in the air here in East Tennessee!

That's huge in Vol Country, and even if you weren't born here, even if you didn't go to the University of Tennessee, you know that you have two choices: put on your Orange or get out of the way! (I know, I know! I secretly root for my Iowa Hawkeyes.)

I think most people know that over the past several years, the UT football program has seen some...changes. Some ups and downs. Some new leadership. Some new players. For the first time in a long time, the team has actually made the national rankings before the season. Most of this is due to Coach Jones rebuilding the team "brick by brick." It's been a tedious process, a process that has taken time and effort and care. Giving up has not been an option, even when things looked grim.

The Red Cross of East Tennessee has certainly seen its share of changes! We've had challenges and faced frustrations. But this past year we have been rebuilding, focusing on our most important part of our team: the volunteers. These are the people who talk to the military family to make sure their needs are met; these are the people who get rousted out of bed to go to a fire; and these are the people who show you how to save someone's life with CPR. We still need to recruit new volunteers and train and mentor existing volunteers into higher leadership positions. Person by person. Brick by brick.

This month, it just seemed appropriate as the Volunteers gear up for a season to give a shout out to OUR volunteers. Won't you join us?

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