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That's a nice Christmas gift. Ketchikan waits anxiously each year about this time, just like the kids do for Christmas morning, to discover what the next cruise ship schedule looks like.

Phillip Dean Nehl, 59, died Dec. 10, 2014, in Ketchikan after a long battle with heart failure.
David Jmmanuel (Keith Gustaf Dahl), 50, died Oct. 28, 2014, suddenly of natural causes at home in Ketchikan.
Frank Chester Leask, 76, died Dec. 9, 2014, in Metlakatla.
Here to help

When disaster strikes, Alaskans aren't far behind with a helping hand.

Severe flooding in Colorado has left nearly 500 people unaccounted for and at least four dead. Heavy rain continued Sunday, which caused search-and-rescue operations to be suspended. Today, Coloradans expected a break in the rainfall.

But it could be weeks before rescue operations reach some of the small towns isolated by the flooding. People in those towns might be going without electricity and other necessities for an extended time. The lucky ones will have their homes — many houses washed away — but the cleanup will take months, if not longer in small and large communities.

The military has responded. City and state workers are on the job. Churches and organizations, such as the American Red Cross, are in the midst of the devastation trying to help with shelter. The Red Cross sheltered 700 people the day after flooding began last Wednesday. It also provides supplies and assistance in other ways, such as getting messages to loved ones outside of the flooded area who are worried about their family and friends in Colorado. All of this and more is what the Red Cross was established to do.

Ketchikan has its participants in supporting the Red Cross. Alaska has a Red Cross office, and Alaskans annually support the Red Cross through volunteering, donating, fundraising and teaching emergency-response classes.

For those who've helped the Red Cross, it's a time to see that help in action. For others in Ketchikan and the surrounding area who want to help the Coloradans or in another disaster, connecting with the Red Cross is one of the most effective ways of doing it. The Red Cross is easy to locate through the Internet. The address is: www.redcross.org.

We're glad there's a way to help — even from way far off in Alaska.