There are people who believe the smallest acts of human kindness can make all the difference in the world.
Nancy Litton, 49, is one of those people.
Since 1998, Litton has served as the executive director for the American Red Cross in Cabarrus County.
"I get to have the mile-high view," said Litton, who volunteered with the American Red Cross since she was a teen. "It makes my work here at Red Cross more directed doing things to meet the community needs as opposed to just doing things. I've really involved and engaged myself in it."
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Litton manages all operations including the budgeting, fundraising, public relations, and she serves as a main spokesperson.
Due to the recession, the Red Cross has suffered from numerous cutbacks.
"We've had to squeeze the nickel till the buffalo barks," said Litton, "We've done a tremendous number of things, but we haven't made any changes in financial community support for disaster relief families and military families."
A Virginia native and East Tennessee State University graduate, Litton is an advocate for health and well-being.
She was a volunteer water safety instructor and first aid and CPR instructor.
She has responded and worked with people through many natural disasters and catastrophes.
One that particularly stood out was Hurricane Katrina.
"If they had picked my building up and sat it down somewhere in Mississippi, I would have been operating the same way," said Litton, who spent her Christmas holiday in New Orleans for 10 days. "It was like being in the middle of the disaster without the disruption of the weather."
Litton described New Orleans as a "contradiction" as she traveled from the lights, music, noise and chatter of people moving around in the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport to very few lights in the terminal at the airport in New Orleans.
"It was a 180-degree contrast. You heard the echoing of your feet as opposed to the chatter of holiday travel," she said.
According to Litton, some streets would look completely normal, but around the corner there would be blue tarps and debris in the road.
She drove through parts of the Ninth Ward and saw cars parked in the medians and homes that were destroyed. There were broken windows, boarded doors and tarps that covered the rooftops of houses.
"You would see where the water and the current either had carried things or had stopped leveling," said Litton. "You could see the grid of a square block with nothing on it. The next block you could see where houses were moved 30 feet."
The doors of houses were marked as a way to note who had done the search, when it had been done and how many survivors or deceased were found on the property, she explained.
Litton spent her time with the mobile kitchen operation. She went into neighborhoods and distributed food to people who were living in homes without any refrigeration. About 1,000 meals were served each day.
Litton didn't expect to celebrate Christmas in the heart of New Orleans.
"To know that I got to do something to let them have the chance to do theirs...it did make it better than a Christmas than I would have had at home," she said.
In addition to her work with the Red Cross, Litton is a member of the Concord Rotary Club and Jackson Park United Methodist Church in Kannapolis. She is also involved with the United Methodist Women, a global mission work group focused on children, youth and women.
Litton lives with her daughter, Katie Short, in Kannapolis.