In this Sept. 8, 2020, file photo, a Red Cross worker takes details from newly arrived evacuees at the parking lot of the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem, Oregon. Credit: Andrew Selsky / AP

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Lara Clark is the chair of the board of directors of the Northern and Eastern Maine Red Cross. Caroline King is executive director of the Northern and Eastern Maine Red Cross.

As one of the longest and most challenging years of our lives draws to a close — with the promise of a vaccine offset by the gravity of staggering infection rates and devastating loss of loved ones — we would like to take a moment to reflect on the amazing resilience of our Red Cross partners.

The Red Cross, born of a desire to bring assistance without discrimination to the wounded on the battlefield, endeavors to prevent and alleviate human suffering on a global scale. As all of us can attest, there has been no shortage of human suffering in 2020. However, it is in these dark times that the passion and tenacity of Red Crossers shine the brightest.

To this end, we want to acknowledge all who have enabled the continuance of our mission this year. Thank you to the staff who have risen to every challenge that COVID has presented — from creating physically distanced emergency shelters and delivering no-contact meals, to developing nationwide antibody testing and producing an entirely new blood product in convalescent plasma. Thank you to our amazing Maine volunteers who have — throughout the pandemic — deployed to areas ravaged by hurricanes and wildfires, staffed blood drives, responded to house fires and supported veterans. Thank you to our corporate partners and financial supporters, who continued to acknowledge the value of supporting the Red Cross. And, of course, thank you to our blood donors and blood drive sponsors who helped us to secure the nation’s blood supply and recover from critical shortages experienced in the spring.

Indeed, as we reflect on 2020, it is important to look beyond tragedy and hardship and to recognize the tremendous resilience displayed by our state. This was evidenced by the leadership of our governor and public health officials, and by all government workers who continued to execute the business of governing amid numerous challenges. It was exemplified by our health care workers, who unflinchingly stepped into the breach to combat this novel virus, and our educators and students who met the challenges of remote, hybrid and in-person learning. So too, by our essential workers who made quarantine living possible, and by everyone who has been negatively affected by this pandemic.

We are proud of our state and our Red Cross sponsors, donors, staff and volunteers who have persevered through this pandemic. While it may be far from over, the end is in sight, and we have demonstrated that we have the determination and fortitude to see this through. As we navigate a physically distant holiday season, please be safe and well, and appreciate all that we have accomplished and endured.

On behalf of the board of directors of the Northern and Eastern Maine Red Cross, thank you.