Fran Butterfield celebrated her 13th anniversary at GRACE last month. Long a familiar soul to those who volunteered at Donation Station, Franny was generous with her knowledge, her advice, and her helpfulness especially with young volunteers. She was always giving of her friendship and her joy.
This may seem like an “insider story” to some, and not fully appropriate for a public forum like this blog. But since most of its readers are deeply acquainted with GRACE, and many of you have volunteered at Donation Station, this bittersweet story of Miss Fran’s leaving is entirely suitable.
We talk a lot about “the GRACE family” here. Some of you, especially our long-time volunteers, have experienced the feeling of togetherness that comes with being a part of the GRACE mission. Through the good times, and bad, through tragedy and joy, we rely on our small staff and large cadre of dedicated volunteers to keep us moving forward.
Being a member of the GRACE family is to know the compassion we have for all those who come to us for help. It is knowing we respect the courage it takes for someone to walk through our doors and admit they need help to make rent, or feed their family.
It’s knowing that we are committed to giving our very best to those in need regardless of the budget, shortages, economic downturns, or any of the hundreds of risks nonprofits like GRACE face every day.
Franny faced her share over her thirteen years. And she is not alone. Every month at our full staff meeting we celebrate anniversaries. Most are two or three years. But there are a few seven years, eight years, ten years. And like Franny, 13 years—some staff members have served even longer. With all the good we do at GRACE, members of the GRACE family tend to stay together.
The GRACE family cares about one another. We pray together when sickness strikes. We grieve together when the Lord calls a loved one home. We celebrate together when accomplishments are made. We pull together to keep serving those in need.
Our strength is diminished by one—one Frances Ann Butterfield. Yet, as sad as we are to say “goodbye”, we so much admire her reasoning. She is moving to Florida to live with her daughter, Tanya, and her family. Another thing us GRACE insiders know: family always comes first.
Fare thee well dear Fran. Take our very best wishes, and our prayers for a wonderful, fulfilling life with you.