On this last day of the year, many people take the time to reflect back upon the past year. I would like to take a few minutes to do so as well.

My first thoughts go to those who were impacted by disasters. Along with my thoughts, my prayers are with them. While we have had some very large disasters, ones that were in the news for many days at a time, I also want to remember the “small disasters.” No matter the size of the storm, to those they affect, they are huge and life changing.

I think of those who volunteered. So much of disaster recovery work is done by volunteers, and most of the time, there is little recognition of them or their efforts. One only needs to look at the smiles of a family able to move back into their home after a disaster to know the value of volunteers and how much they are appreciated.

I also think of those who are part of the Lutheran Disaster Response network, especially the local coordinators. We simply cannot do our work without them as they are the “boots on the ground” that provide the local connections so essential to effective recovery efforts.

None of us knows what disasters will come in 2013; we hope and pray they are few and far between. But when a disaster does strike, we at Lutheran Disaster Response will be ready to provide a measure of help, hope and healing through our network and volunteers.