As the Thanksgiving weekend approaches, we are feeling incredibly grateful for the Eastern New York volunteers who fulfill the Red Cross mission here at home and around the world. So far this year, our local volunteers have traveled to Texas, California, West Virginia, Louisiana, and more, all to provide care and comfort in the face of devastating disasters.

When a Red Cross volunteer embarks on a disaster relief deployment, they leave their homes, their jobs and their families behind for at least two weeks at a time. They give selflessly, but as we hear over and over again, they gain something, too. Here, just a few of the local Red Crossers who’ve deployed this year share some of the moments that have meant the most to them: