'I love my work'

Alaskan Crucelina "Cris" Vrabel embraces her work with a strong devotion. An operating room nurse with 44 years of experience, Vrabel works in the much-lauded Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage, 16 miles from her home in Eagle River. When asked how she's stood the pressure for 40-plus years on the job, Vrabel replies simply, "I love my work."

But her work in medical facilities doesn't stop there. A Navy veteran, she especially enjoys working with fellow vets - so much that in her downtime she volunteers to care for them not only at her workplace but at a nearby VA hospital.

Vrabel's dedication to veterans health care was recognized by The American Legion's Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Commission during the organization's 2011 Washington Conference when she was presented the division's Outstanding Volunteer Hospital Worker of the Year award. And once she steps away from nursing she plans to spend her retirement years doing more volunteer work.