June is off to an enormously sad start. Many of us knew from talking with our incoming President-Elect Heather Lanier at April’s conference in Memphis that she was going to have a procedure. She let me know afterwards that she was waiting for results and told me that we were all going to think positively. We learned at the end of May she was seriously ill with cancer and given only two months to live.
Unfortunately for us who have been blessed to work with her as a colleague and friend, it turned out to be far less time than we wanted. I know some of you only learned of this recently. It was a shock to learn someone so vibrant and enthusiastic, and who we were all looking forward to working with in the coming year, is now gone so unexpectedly. It’s quite a change from where we expected to be as we move on into a new year for TLA. I had been really looking forward to working with her in the coming year. I know it would have been a wonderful, fun, and challenging experience for all of us.
Many of us have contributed to her gofundme account to help her family cope with the costs of hospice and other expenses. Two charities were also identified as places she supported and wanted to donations to go to instead of flowers. I was able to attend her visitation on and talk with Susan Earl of the John P. Holt Brentwood Public Library who shared with me about how the organizations, ShowerUp and the Beesley Animal Foundation, were near and dear to Heather. Here are links to everything if you would like to honor her memory with a contribution:
Our TLA Public Relations Committee is launching their blog this year and it has been decided to make the first post a memorial to Heather. If you would like to share stories or have ideas, photos to share, etcetera. Please email them to email@example.com
In the midst of all this sorrow, we have had to consider what to do for the upcoming year. Our Executive Board has decided it would be best to follow the precedent set previously in which Susan Jennings graciously served two terms as President. It was approved that I stay on for another year so Jill Rael could have her year as Vice President. I know we all realize that when I promised Heather to support and be there for her this year as she served that this is not what either of us had in mind. I hope to work with everyone to make this year a year of service in her honor.
Heather served on our Restructuring Taskforce with Ruth and Richard. They put 3 years of planning into this project and the implementation of it begins on July 1, 2018. I will be working with our Advisory Council and Executive Board to put their project into action. This will be a big change for our Board. It’s something we are determined to do and carry forth with in honor of her memory for our association.
Sometimes the lights that burn the brightest burn the shortest but we are warmed by our memories of it’s glow and have the opportunity carry the inspiration forward. I am always honored to serve our organization. I do realize this is not the year I was elected to serve and as suggested by a member, Heather Lanier will be listed on our website as the TLA President for 2018-2019 and I will be listed as the Acting President for the coming year. I will do my best to keep this year a reflection of the efforts Heather has made on the behalf of our organization. Towards that goal, if you have ideas as to ways in which our organization can recognize her efforts and honor her memory, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org with a subject heading Honoring Heather so your email is not missed by me.
My gratitude to everyone for their support of Heather’s family, the Brentwood Public Library staff and Heather’s favorite charities.
Jeffie Nicholson TLA President 2017-2018