One New Year’s Resolution: Hug me like you know me

Story by Lynette Nyman/American Red Cross Minnesota Region

Some people are Natural Born Huggers. Take Jane. During a recent party, Jane came up to me. “You probably don’t remember me,” she said. I sort of did, but not really. It didn’t matter. She opened her arms wide and wrapped them around me. “Hug me like you know me,” she said.

“I want a hug,” said Fonda Buckley, a resident just beginning to recover from the historic flooding in southern Louisiana, who stopped to talk with Red Cross relief worker Lynette Nyman in Denham Springs, Louisiana, August 18, 2016. Photo credit: Marko Kokic/American Red Cross
“I want a hug,” said Fonda Buckley, a resident just beginning to recover from the historic flooding in southern Louisiana, who stopped to talk with Red Cross relief worker Lynette Nyman in Denham Springs, Louisiana, August 18, 2016. Photo credit: Marko Kokic/American Red Cross

After nearly eight years of responding to Red Cross disaster relief operations where I’ve hugged people of all types, and mostly strangers, Jane’s instruction registered deep in the reptilian part of my brain. My rigid self melted. My heart warmed. Conversation lifted. We became immediate friends. I left the party a different person. The cold winter air felt frosty only on the outside. Inside, I was delighted because people like Jane, people willing to risk closeness with the largely unfamiliar, exist.

In 2011, following a devastating tornado in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Georgette Evans, who walked miles to find medical services and safe shelter following the devastating tornado, visits with to Lynette Nyman in Alberta City neighborhood. Photo credit: Dennis Drenner/American Red Cross
In 2011, following a devastating tornado in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Georgette Evans, who walked miles to find medical services and safe shelter following the devastating tornado, visits with to Lynette Nyman in Alberta City neighborhood. Photo credit: Dennis Drenner/American Red Cross

So, this year I’m taking on one New Year’s resolution: to hug you like I know you. I encourage you to do the same. And if, like me, you need practice, serving with the Red Cross is a great way to get it.

Happy New Year!

Make 2016 the year of no more excuses

By Cassie Sage, American Red Cross Intern

Flood survivor Marcia Walsh welcomes hot meals from Red Cross volunteers James Brown; Sherri Brown and Devyn Brown in Missouri, January 4, 2016. Photo credit: Daniel Cima
Flood survivor Marcia Walsh welcomes hot meals from Red Cross volunteers James Brown, Sherri Brown and Devyn Brown in Missouri, January 4, 2016. Photo credit: Daniel Cima

It’s once again a new year and probably 2016 already has seen broken resolutions. This year the Red Cross wants to encourage you to do something that will truly make you happy: help others.  This may be the best way to bring happiness not just to others but to you as well.  Instead of a spin class, maybe a CPR class would benefit the mind, body and soul.

How can you be healthy if you’re not internally happy? It’s supposed to be the little things in life that make us the happiest and by doing something for others, you’re not just helping someone else but inspiring a change for the better in the world. In a time like this there is nothing more important than shining bright with a positive light.

Step One: Donate blood
Donors of all blood types are needed to give blood to help ensure a sufficient supply throughout the year. During winter seasonal declines often occur because of severe winter weather and illnesses, like the flu.  Click here to find blood donation appointments near you.

Step Two: Donate time
Everyone is welcome to volunteer and make a difference. The Red Cross encourages you to volunteer, assisting during home fires responses and other disasters all across the United States. Click here to learn about volunteer opportunities. (Click here to see the latest about volunteers responding to disasters in Missouri and Texas.)

Step Three: Donate money
The Red Cross depends on the generous support of the American public to assist people affected by disasters. Consider making a donation today by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Step Four: Take a class
Next on your resolution list should be taking a Red Cross class. These classes include CPR, First Aid, Lifeguard Training and Disaster Preparedness. We can’t think of a better way to keep a happier you new year’s resolution than to learn lifesaving skills that could help you and your family. Click here to find classes near you.

Make this year the year that you begin taking positive steps that bring happiness to you and assistance to others. The new year brings a new you and finding a resolution that really sticks can be hard, but helping others may be the perfect way to start!