March 23, 2020

Dear Hope Nation,

One of my favorite books of all time is Middlemarch. Written almost 150 years ago by a woman whose pen name was George Eliot, it tells the story of a small English Midlands town, primarily through the eyes of Dorothea, an orphaned young woman who has an impact on the lives of many folks in the village. Here is the concluding sentence of that masterwork:

[T]he effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”

You are, I am, we are lucky enough to be in contact with a number of folks live faithfully hidden lives, or at least not lives filled with showiness, histrionics or fuss. Instead, the staff members at Hope for New Hampshire Recovery quietly and responsibly make sure that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been.

In no particular order, I want to hold up the staff and volunteers for, if not a standing ovation—for who would hear it but your neighbors—at least a tip of the hat and a prayer of thanks.

First, Bob Mortimer, who’s been with us for about 11 months. Bob is a man in long- term recovery who has been able to expand his understanding of any and all pathways. Also, although he looks much younger than I, he is actually a little older, keeping me from being the lone old man here.
Second, Dawn Desjardins, who started as an employee about the same time as Bob, but who had been volunteering here for more than a year. Excitingly, Dawn has just become a student at Southern New Hampshire University, demonstrating how her recovery has an impact not just on drug use but on opening up options that had seemed closed to her.

Jill Kyzer, a teacher by day and recovery coach by night, has been at Hope since nearly its beginning. Jill is an avid student of the recovery process and provides some of the formal supervision required for recertification as a Certified Recovery Support Worker (aka Recovery coach).

Those are the paid front-end staff, but we’ve also got three practically fulltime volunteers who also performed unhistoric acts like greeting newcomers and oldtimers, making coffee and keeping things positive. I use the past tense of “perform” because none of us knows what the future may hold, but now each of them is chomping at the bit to use the telephone to provide recovery support to our members and potential future members.

Sharon Vertigans has been a Work Employment Program (WEP) volunteer for a few months now. Energetic and bubbly, Sharon is open about her own recovery and has a gift for developing relationships with other young mothers in recovery.

Ashley Papatola just began as a WEP volunteer shortly before the recent events, as did Lissy Mudgett, but both are in recovery and wanting to share what they’ve been so freely given. In Berlin, Lisa Kenney holds down the fort, providing recovery support to members and visitors alike.

Finally, Dave Cote and Karla Gallagher, the smartest and most levelheaded of Hope’s three-person leadership team. Each of them has been with Hope since nearly the beginning, each is a talented professional and each works hard to get things done, Dave with art and social media and Karla with money and personnel and all kinds of things I value but don’t understand.
Please, please, please . . . add these folks to your daily gratitude list—and you ARE physically writing out that gratitude list, aren’t you?—knowing that they are the ones that keep Hope alive so the rest of us can keep hope alive.

You matter. I matter. We matter.



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