Gail McGovern is the President and CEO of the American Red Cross.
2010 was a wonderful year for me.
The highlights of my year come in 2 categories. The first is personal and the second is Red Cross related.
- From a personal standpoint, probably the biggest highlight of 2010 was my last day of radiation therapy and knowing I had breast cancer behind me.
- Another highlight was the day my daughter returned from four weeks of sailing this past summer. At sea, she was without electronics, so hearing her voice on the phone after she hit terra firma was definitely a memorable moment for me. I still remember seeing her as she got off the escalator at the airport. I was jumping up and down, yelling her name and thoroughly embarrassing her, but I think she was still pleased. I know I was!
I’m proud of all that the organization has accomplished this year. There are so many wonderful highlights, but here are a few that really stand out.
- When Hurricane Earl was coming up the coast and looked like it would make landfall over several states, I watched the best of the Red Cross get ready for the hurricane as they worked together to make sure we had the right shelters available and the right supplies. There was an enormous amount of teamwork involved. Even though fortunately Hurricane Earl turned out to be more of an exercise or drill for us, it highlighted the incredible state of readiness we’re in to handle any kind of catastrophe like that.
- My trips to Haiti were also a highlight. It was very, very sad to witness the devastation and suffering, but these trips also filled me with hope because I saw first-hand how amazingly resilient the people there are. I was completely inspired by the Haitian people, and I carry their strength with me each day.
- My visits to blood centers this year really stand out as well, as I had the chance to speak with blood donors who are making the ultimate sacrifice. One unit of blood can potentially save 3 lives. We are so grateful for our blood donors. We know we ask a lot of them and they step up every time. I am in awe of people who regularly donate blood for us. It is truly a precious gift.
- Most recently, I have to say that I really enjoyed participating in the launch of our Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign. It’s such a heartfelt event, and I’m so honored to be part of it and in some small way recognize the sacrifices of our men and women in the armed forces. We’re tremendously grateful for all they do and having an opportunity to publicly say that is a highlight for me – this year and last. It’s a very important part of the Red Cross tradition and this program continues to be one of my highlights.
What are your 2010 highlights?