"I was deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn in 2010-2011. During the drawdown of US forces in Iraq, my unit worked tirelessly to help push American equipment out of Iraq and into Kuwait, where it would be sent home or to Afghanistan. The days were extremely long, the weather was suffocatingly hot, and morale was something our command had to continuously monitor. It was very easy to become depressed and homesick over there. I'll never forget the day I walked into our command tent and saw an American Red Cross volunteer holding a Red Cross dog. The dog's soul purpose was to boost our morale. As an avid animal lover, I could not stop petting and hugging this sweet, friendly dog. It was so comforting seeing a pet there, after going so long without seeing anything other than camels! Not only did it remind me of home in a wonderful way, it seemed to fulfill this emotional void I had. For animal lovers, not having any animals around was horrible! I remember thinking to myself, "I can't believe this woman left our great country to just volunteer her time to support the troops in this hell hole. She must be a saint." I wondered if she and the dog knew how much I appreciated their visits because no words could truly describe how grateful I was. Thank you American Red Cross for all of your efforts, both great and small. You are truly appreciated. Sergeant V. Michelle Woods, 1st Sustainment Brigade, US Army "