December 2, 2016

My thoughts keep returning to Carissa, our evening hospitality desk attendant. Since Carissa has been with us, we’ve received more guest thank you notes and special messages on donation envelopes than we ever have in the past.

When we told Carissa the most important part of her job was to make sure that people felt welcomed and comforted when they arrived at Beacon House, she took it to a whole new level. She taught us all how to just open up and let love flow.

She has the biggest smile and gives the warmest hugs. She remembers everybody’s name and is whom everyone seems to tell their story to, about why they’re here and what they’re most afraid of.

A few weeks ago, Carissa got an urgent call to go immediately to England where her husband is stationed in the Army. We don’t know much more at this time, but we do know the diagnosis is Stage 4 Cancer from a Brain Tumor.

There is no Beacon House where Carissa is. And all I can think about is, “Who is comforting her?” There is no “Carissa” to tell her nighttime fears to, and to offer a consoling hug.

In her absence I’m appreciating her incredible love for Beacon House and what we do. And I’m wishing that she could know the same lightness of heart that others have felt after a visit with her. We’re paying it forward, Carissa. We’re walking in your shoes.

Mary Tavernini Dowling, Beacon House CEO

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