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Shining moments: Happy volunteer

At the moment, Nancy Watchie is swamped with processing donations made to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina. In one day, she helped process $97,000 in her Red Cross chapter serving King and Kitsap counties in the state of Washington.

Days can quickly stretch into 12-hour shifts as she helps with hundreds of calls from those inquiring how they might assist. Much of her work right now is part of her paid assignment as a human resource manager. But shortly, she will leave her desk responsibilities to help staff one of the 361 Red Cross shelters operating in the devastated southeastern United States.

She's rendered such service before. Beyond her employment, she volunteers more than 1,000 hours yearly to aid disaster relief efforts. "I just like helping people," said Sister Watchie of the Seattle 4th Ward, Renton Washington Stake.

"Nancy has a seemingly endless pool of energy and an unmatched desire to help those in need," said her supervisor, Pam Sanchez. For her efforts, Sister Watchie was one of three recipients chosen out of 30,000 for the Tiffany Award, sponsored by the Red Cross for employee excellence.

"Nancy is what every employer would like to clone," continued Sister Watchie's supervisor. But it's her volunteer work that sets her apart.

"Nancy starts each day by arriving early — before her paid shift begins — as a volunteer to process applications, update the database and perform various clerical duties," said the supervisor. "She then changes hats and becomes an employee. . . . After a hard day of volunteering and working eight hours, she changes hats again and becomes a captain in mass care, often working late at night and on weekends. She has been known on endless nights to have been called out on a rescue or fire to support (emergency personnel) until early hours in the morning. . . .

"She is one of the happiest and most upbeat people I have ever encountered and she has the uncanny ability to brighten even the worst days," said her supervisor.

Said another associate, "Two years ago Nancy had surgery for a heart problem, which stopped her in her tracks for about six months. But she is 1back with a vengeance and giving more than ever." — Shaun Stahle

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