Answering your calls with a smile is certainly a simple joy many need during hard times. And those are often the local and area residents who call the Red Cross.
Debbie Engel Peek, front desk receptionist at American Red Cross’ Disaster Chapter, describes herself in three ways: social, introvert and physical, but there is so much more.
“I’m always interested in understanding the spiritual and physical part of the world and myself in it,” said Engel Peek, who enjoys writing poetry based on responses to her favorite book.
“Conversations with God,” by Neale Donald Walsch, was enough inspiration for her poems.
Engel Peek has written so many, at least 100 poems, that she decided to self-publish a book, “Just a Thought.”
Engel Peek graciously shares her work through Facebook too.
All her thoughts have a similar theme: Overcoming personal adversity.
“A lot of my poems are like that,” said Engel Peek. “They start out with some kind of conflict and then it’s working through to the end. It’s resolving the conflict going inside of me.”
Engle Peek has used her poems for more than just herself.
She worked once for the Salvation Army, where she taught a parenting class.
During her sessions, she would incorporate her poems into the hand-outs given to her students.
One example was her piece called, “Unconditionally.”
We vow to love you unconditionally.
It matters not what you say or you do.
Through good times or bad, we’ll be by your side,
It’s LIFE we’ll be traveling through.
You’re the love of our lives, we created you.
What a beautiful blessing you are.
You’re a great gift from Heaven, God’s perfect design,
A wonderfully bright shining star.
Every day we’ll ask God to guide all our words,
To let Love be our ultimate goal.
We love you so much; you’re the joy of our lives,
You’re a part of God’s own special soul.
We thank God for you and we’ll do our best,
To provide you with all that you need,
To grow up the person God planned you to be,
By loving you Unconditionally.
Engel Peek always had a motive for her parenting lessons which she taught.
“Just reminding these people they created this baby,” said Engel Peek. “To love it no matter what (unconditionally).”
Engel Peek has used her poems one other creative way.
“You know what I did one time,” she said. “I wanted to be in the Christmas spirit, and I wanted to go to the malls and appreciate the people there, so I took this one poem I wrote called, “Joy” and I put a $5 bill in it and just put it in a little scroll, and then I went into the Galleria and pretended that I was on a scavenger hunt.”
A scavenger hunt in which she handed out her poems and a little extra: Money.
This was Engel Peek’s way to spread her own kind of joy.
She gave the script to just about any person.
For example, she might go up to someone with distinctive purple hair and explain how she was assigned to hand out this poem to someone with this characteristic.
Engel Peek approached those with a fur coat, hoop earrings and purple hair just to spread her poem.
“I kind of look for the unique people,” said Engel Peek.
She really was spreading the Joy around.
As a front desk receptionist, that’s exactly the type of person needed for the job.
A phone call came through during this interview.
“My apartment caught on fire and now I have nowhere to stay,” said a woman from the other line.
Crisis calls like that occur at Red Cross often, according to Engel Peek.
That’s when someone who can shed some joy on a disastrous situation comes in handy.
Engel Peek is the first and last person employees and volunteers see, and she really sets the tone and represents Red Cross well.