Thursday, July 3, 2014

An AmeriCorps NPRC Farewell

Well folks, the time has come. Today marks the end of my AmeriCorps NPRC term. I can honestly say that this has been one of the best decisions I have made in my 24 years of life. 11 months ago, I arrived in Bakersfield after a long road trip from Indiana. I didn't know a single person here except for one of my now greatest friends Amy Mayer, who I had only spoken to over the phone and through email. Two days after my arrival I found myself in the Fresno office, sitting in between my colleagues Veronica and Amitai. We were bombarded that day with numbers and goals to reach, and at that point the three of us were a little intimidated, yet up for the challenge. The next day we were in airports, headed to DC for training and some team bonding time...and boy was that fun! 
Since our return from DC, time has flown by. I've been asking myself in the weeks leading up to the end of my time here, "Where has the time gone?" From the early morning Team Firestopper community canvassing events, to the fire safety seminars, to Save-A-Life Saturdays, to spontaneous DAT calls, to community outreach events, to almost 100 presentations here in Kern county - okay, I guess I can see how the time flew by. There was never a dull moment. I'm finishing my term with so much experience, and feelings of great accomplishment and gratitude - gratitude to all of the people who have supported me, guided me, made me laugh, and made me feel like this was my home away from home.  

Just a few things before I say my final goodbye:

A HUGE thank you to the Kern Chapter Staff - Each of you know how much you mean to me. I feel so lucky to have been able to spend my time here with you ladies. You've been my second family, and you will never be forgotten. All of the support, guidance, laughs, good mornings, and see you tomorrow's have helped in making my time here so rewarding. Both personally and professionally, I love you all.

Another HUGE thank you to all of the volunteers. It has been such a pleasure getting to know each of you both personally and professionally. I've learned so much from you guys. The passion each of you has for the American Red Cross and volunteerism in general is astounding, and something I will carry with  me for the rest of my life.

To my supervisor, Alex - I'm pretty sure Veronica, Amitai and I were the luckiest of all AmeriCorps NPRC members in the country. You put up with the three of us for 11 months! My sincerest apologies for all of the gray hairs, eye rolls, and screams into your pillow. You pushed each of us, allowing us to see what we're capable of. I've learned so much from you, and this experience as a whole, and I can't thank you enough for allowing me to be a part of the Central Valley team. Also - on top of being the best boss I've ever had, you can quote as many lines from The Office as me, and I think that's pretty darn cool. 

Last, but certainly not least, a thank you to my fellow AmeriCorps members Veronica and Amitai. When I look back at my time as an AmeriCorps member, I will think of you guys first. We've been through a lot together. We've laughed, we've cried, we've argued, we've competed, and together we've achieved so much for the Central Valley Region of the American Red Cross. We had our moments, but in the end we made one heck of a team. You guys have shown me the importance of teamwork, the importance of service, and the importance of laughter. You each have such bright futures, and I can't wait to hear all about the fantastic things you guys are going to do. Both personally and professionally, I love you.

Way to go Prep Squad! Thanks for the memories!!

Love, Sam

Samantha Minks
AmeriCorps NPRC 2013-2014
Preparedness Coordinator
American Red Cross
Central Valley Region

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