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What do airports and shoes have in common?

Volunteers

Created date

March 22nd, 2010

When disaster strikes or a need arises, most folks are eager to lend a helping hand. But for some individuals, volunteering their time and talents is a way of life. Take Pat Dial, for instance. A nurse by trade, Dial trained over 500 youths through the Amigos de las Am ricas program to provide health services to South and Central American countries. Amigos de las Am ricas was one of the first organizations to provide inoculations to the people of Honduras, says Dial. The World Health Organization credited our work with ending the spread of polio in that country. So it s no surprise that Dial was quick to conceive a plan to help the Haitian people once news of the devastating earthquake hit the airwaves. My church organized a shoe drive through the Soles4Souls organization, says Dial. I immediately thought of collecting shoes at Eagle s Trace to benefit the project. Soles4Souls, a Nashville-based charity founded in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami that hit Southeast Asia, has a simple mission: to collect shoes and give them to people in need. This is something everyone can relate to, says Dial. When you see images on ' TV of people digging through the rubble in bare feet, you want to do what you can to help them. Dial initially hoped to collect 200 pairs of shoes to send to the Haitian people affected by the earthquake, but as the donations poured in, she knew she would surpass her goal. I was inundated with shoes, says Dial. We collected over 250 pairs of shoes during the first two weeks of the campaign. It was encouraging to see how everyone got behind this project.

Welcome home a hero

Every Wednesday morning, you can find Frank Amadon at the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport (DFW). He s not traveling anywhere or picking anyone up. Amadon volunteers through the airport s R&R Program, greeting deployed servicemen and women as they return stateside for two weeks of rest and recuperation. I started going out to the airport three or four years ago, says Amadon. There are two hubs that service returning soldiers. One is in Atlanta and the other is here in Dallas. Anyone traveling on to the western half of the country will pass through the DFW Airport first. I think it is important to give our troops the welcome home they deserve. Since moving toHighland Springsin fall 2008, Amadon has recruited other volunteers to join him. You notice things, like a flight pin on a lapel, and you get to talking about past military service, he says. Once people are aware of this opportunity, many of them are keen to participate. Now there are five of us who go out there regularly. All five of us were in the service at one time or another. Veterans are afforded the best spot on the receiving deck. We get to stand right up front and are usually the first to shake the soldiers hands as they exit the terminal, says Amadon. The group fromHighland Springshas witnessed a number of heartwarming moments as troops stream though the arrivals gate. I saw one soldier drop to his knee and propose to his girlfriend as soon as he saw her, says Amadon. They were still kissing as they walked out of the terminal.

Gift of life

Most people are a bit squeamish at the sight of blood. Not Bob and Gail Holter. They know its life-giving value when it goes to someone in need. That s why they are the driving force behind the four blood drives held atEagle s Traceeach year. We started these blood drives in fall 2007, says Mr. Holter. Now we collect an average of 19 units of blood during each drive. It s easy for residents to participate because the donor coach comes right to the community. The Holters recently accepted an award on behalf ofEagle s Tracefrom the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center in recognition of the donations made by the community in 2009. Last year, the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center collected over 231,000 units of blood, says Mr. Holter. We were glad to have a small hand in that.

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