Another day...another dollar.
As a volunteer with the Red Cross...I don't get a DIME for all of this fun I'm having...I get it for FREEEEEEEE!!! Squeeeeee!!!!!
Today was pretty typical...we hit the road early, to begin the 45-minute drive north to Longmont, which is quickly becoming our home-away-from home. We usually arrive a bit early, so a quick trip to our favorite Starbucks is always on the agenda - and we can sip our morning libations and get the caffeine pumping while conference-calling into Headquarters for our morning updates.
It rained/snowed a few days ago, and the peaks off in the distance are wearing their "white hats" - which offers a beautiful backdrop as we prepare for our day. Colorado is certainly one of the most beautiful places I've ever visited, and it never gets old....
After the call, Allan and I begin covering the various Red Cross sites within the town...we have Emergency Aid Stations set up, as well as Disaster Recovery Centers. In both areas, clients can come and perhaps talk with a mental health worker, or pick up cleaning supplies for their home. Allan and I bounce back and forth between the sites, seeing how things are going and talking with the various clients and volunteers to make sure all is going well. Besides the residents, we've chatted with Red Cross volunteers from all over the country, doing a variety of functions within the organization. It's fascinating to see how everyone works together for the mission - which is taking care of the people affected by the flooding.
Lunch in Longmont has been at the local Panera's Bread - as they have a dedicated gluten-free menu, which makes ordering a meal a heck of a lot easier on me. Today, the manager called me by my first name without me telling her what it was, and as I looked at her in surprise, she explained, "Well - you've been in here almost every day - I recognize you by now."
See. I TOLD you I should just become a resident of Longmont. Everyone knows me by name. Hee.
Speaking of knowing people, I have a friend in Longmont (of COURSE I do, as I seem to have a friend in just about every city in the world, which is pretty awesome!) Anyway, Jan came over to one of the sites in the afternoon so we could have a brief reunion. She quickly filled my partner and I in on the situation around town - who is still having difficulty accessing their home, who needs supplies, etc - and it was very helpful. Getting a handle on things by talking to the locals is HUGE - and very, very informative.
What's weird is that I hung out with Jan just three weeks ago when I was in Estes Park for Girls Weekend Out - and here we were again, meeting up after a disaster pummeled her community. Who would have ever have guessed we'd be back together again so soon, and under these circumstances??!!
Jan and I...in beautiful Colorado....
The rest of the afternoon was spent chasing down some leads and collecting more information...pretty typical lately for us. After another long, long drive back to our hotel, I love nothing more to kick off my shoes, put my slippers on, and just veg out.
I've been working seven days straight, so tomorrow I'm taking a much-needed day off. Big plans are in store - I'm going to go visit the mountains, and then head down to Denver "proper" - to take in the sights and the sounds and the scenery and the culture. Perhaps some culinary delights along the way, as well.
This is the halfway point of my deployment...one week down, one to go. Proud of what I've done, but knowing I have much more to accomplish before heading home.