By Judy Lysne |
Sadly Lifeworks former CEO George Moudry died on June 8, 2018 at the age of 90. His extraordinary ability to connect with people means that he is fondly remembered by many. As we shared the news of his death many of the staff that worked with him remembered a particular kindness or lesson that they received from George.
I remember him for his strong commitment to inclusion for all. He often said that we would never have the resources to fulfill our mission alone. To truly make a difference, we needed to trust and welcome the community into our mission. I must admit that as a young professional with my new Special Ed degree I didn’t fully understand what he meant, however I soon learned the power of broad relationships.
Our plan was to look for ways to get outside of our centers and into public spaces with the goal of broadening the social circles of the people we serve. At the time George joined Lifeworks, many who we served had previously been very isolated in institutions. Success followed as we found employment opportunities for people previously considered unable to work and community inclusion opportunities in clubs, recreation facilities, and entertainment venues for people who often had small social circles consisting only of close family, other people with disabilities and people paid to be with them.
Our annual celebration was initiated by George as a way to invite our various supporters to celebrate with us and meet each other. Each year as I attend this event, I think of George. Where else does such a diverse group get together to celebrate the unique contributions and talents of people with disabilities? I see the people we serve, employers, donors, parents, staff, and supporters alike smiling and reconnecting with people they have met through Lifeworks. And I can’t help but think how George’s notion that we couldn’t do this work alone has grown from an event with less than 100 participants into an amazing network of mutual support for nearly 1,000 attendees. Businesses have gained great employees, people have found new friends, gained new perspectives and everyone is appreciated for their talents. Disability is beside the point.
Thank you George. You were the right person for the time. Your gentle wisdom and mentoring ability brought Lifeworks out of its founding stage into maturity. I easily attribute the success we experienced after your retirement to the strong foundation you laid. May you rest in peace knowing that you made a difference in the lives of many.