January 31, 2014

“One of the Greatest Privileges of My Life” by Sara Byers, Vice President of Lund’s Board of Trustees.

Posted in Board of Trustees Spotlight, Events, Residential, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services tagged , , , , , , at 12:10 pm by Lund

Waking up at 4:55am this morning to meet my board colleagues for our ride to Montpelier, it felt early.  The sun was beginning to rise over the mountains as we made our way south along I-89.  The frigid temperatures were evident as my toes curled inside my boot for warmth.  However, the trip was worthwhile.  We were headed to the Vermont State House to represent Lund.

Opening the broad, heavy doors, we experienced the peace and beauty of the State House during the early morning hours.  As a former page in the legislature, I was immediately transformed to my days in a green jacket, feeling a pull to the Sergeant at Arms office to receive my daily tasks.  However, this time, as a grown up, I headed to the empty coat room to hang my jacket.  One of the most wonderful things about our State House is the ability to just walk in.  It truly does belong to the people.

Making our way up the stairs and into the cafeteria, there wasn’t a whole lot of activity.  Cleaning crews were apparent throughout, and the hustle and bustle of the day’s work was soon to begin.  We got to our destination and waited for a few minutes when our Lund staff team arrived.  They quickly focused on setting up our display, paperwork outlining our work, pins with our Lund logo.  As board members, we stood in awe – it was apparent they were used to this work and very committed to it.  A few other Board members joined us, along with more staff and our executive director, Barbara Rachelson, who was doing double duty as a legislator from Burlington.  As legislators, lobbyists and administration officials began to filter in, they were welcomed with free coffee, desserts and smiling faces.

The room quickly filled up with people eager for their caffeine infusion.  As they engaged in conversation, they were immediately drawn in by our amazing staff.  These dedicated people were able to answer any questions directed to them.  Their passion and dedication was infectious.  They were superstars, dedicating their lives to improving the lives of others.  It is no wonder that Lund is able to achieve the outcomes they do with these individuals working at it day in and day out.  It got me thinking about my own family.  These staff members are one of the reasons two of my young relatives are thriving today.  If there was ever a question about their work, I could validate it.  With a drug problem and nowhere to go, Lund took in a close relative when she was pregnant.  The Lund program was incredibly comprehensive, teaching life skills along with parenting skills, helping her see the light at the end of a long tunnel.  Months later, her children were born free of illicit substances and ready to take on the world.  Today, they are almost eleven.  I can’t imagine our family without their smiles, life and humor.  If it wasn’t for Lund taking her in when she needed it, I’m not sure where these beautiful children would be today…..I shudder thinking about it.  These compassionate Lund professionals cared enough to make a difference.  The individuals who supported Lund with financial help made a difference.  The State who supported many of Lund’s programs made a difference.

As I looked at the crowd of legislators around our table, I was overcome by the attention and dedication shown by our elected leaders.  These individuals truly cared about Vermont and its people, and were genuinely interested in hearing about Lund’s work.  Many legislators were eager to stop by and visit our facilities, others spoke of their personal connection with Lund and some were looking forward to joining us at our Heart of the Community celebration.  The people working under the Golden Dome understood the value of Lund’s work and its place in our greater community.

As the Board Vice President, I was incredibly humbled this morning; humbled to be surrounded by so many people doing amazing work; humbled by our Lund team and their passion for improving the lives of families; humbled to be able to give back to an organization that had given me so much; humbled for the opportunity to represent this almost 125 year old institution.  When the legislative day was called to order, the Speaker recognized Barbara Rachelson, who in turn welcomed the Lund team to the House Chamber.  As I stood to be recognized, the applause was overwhelming.   I was honored, filled with pride and emotion.   The opportunity to work with Lund’s incredible board and talented staff in this wonderful state is one of the greatest privileges of my life.

Sara (second from right) at the Statehouse with board colleagues and staff members.

Sara (second from right) at the Statehouse with board colleagues and staff members.

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