What do we call people that, with willing hearts, give to their community week after week, year after year, expecting nothing in return? We call them volunteers.

For the Southwest Kansas Red Cross, more than 400 volunteers know the satisfaction of helping others. They know Magic Johnson was right when he said, "You're the only one who can make the difference."

Red Cross volunteers save the day. They provide a place to stay and emotional support when their neighbors are faced with a home fire or other disaster. They teach lifesaving safety courses such as first aid, CPR, babysitting and care giving. Volunteers connect military families, work at blood drives and, in general, take the actions needed to provide relief to victims of disasters and help people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies.

April 18 through 24 is National Volunteer Week, a time to recognize the selfless gifts of time, money and blood the Red Cross has received from the citizens of southwest Kansas. Thank you. Without your gifts we could not fulfill the Red Cross mission.

National Volunteer Week is also a time to invite you to join us. If you are not a volunteer, give the Red Cross a try. Red Crossers are people who are trained to perform extraordinary acts in the face of emergencies. Right now we especially need people who would be willing to carry pagers and respond to single family disasters in our own community. To volunteer, check out our Web site at www.gardencityredcross.org for an application and information about our chapter in Garden City with offices in Liberal and Dodge City.

CAROLYN HENRY,

Garden City

Henry is executive director of the Southwest Kansas American Red Cross.