This post authored by Katheryn Wolfe, a Red Cross worker in Balad, Iraq.
Those candles traveled along way!
Prior to deploying, I was able to speak with my manager a few times over the phone. In our first conversation, she mentioned that she would be celebrating a birthday in theater. I won’t mention the age, but it was one of those “0” birthdays, so we had to do something special. My co-worker Neelum was the mastermind behind most of the birthday events. She went out of her way to have the three other deployment teams sign a card prior to leaving the States. Even more amazing was the birthday balloons, banners and presents she toted thousands of miles in her already stuffed duffle bags!
The night before the birthday we were decorating the office and a service member came in to turn in a volunteer application. Neelum was quick to recognize his birthday had just passed so we decided to throw him a small celebration as well. He kindly obliged to our shenanigans by wearing a birthday hat, beads, and accepting a birthday balloon and goodie bag. I’m not sure he knew what he was walking into by visiting the office!
We finished decorating, and then went on a covert operation in our Red Cross van to secure a birthday cake. Can’t go into details, but let’s just say Neelum and I will be laughing about this story for a long time.
Morning came, and Jocelyn was surprised to walk into the office with us lighting candles and singing happy birthday. We also had a pizza party that evening. Wherever you are in the world, there is always pizza to be found. Our new friends and volunteers were happy to join in the fun as well…and we made everyone wear birthday hats.
The Life of the Party!
Birthdays, by the way, are going to be a big focus in our office. They are after all, a chance to make someone feel loved and appreciated. So I am happy to announce that our manager ordered two easy bake ovens for our office. In a few weeks time, our service members will be able to bake and decorate their own birthday cake in our office!