If you are very lucky, life hands you someone special who forever changes for the better the way you live and think. The Neighbor Brigade community has been extraordinarily lucky in that way. Our beloved Founder and Executive Director, Pamela Manikas Washek, passed away on December 2, 2012 at the age of 47, but not before inspiring thousands to answer her call: “help your neighbor next door.”
In thanks and in keeping Pam's legacy forever in our hearts, please give what you can.
A note from a Franklin Neighbor Brigade volunteer:
Every once in a while we need a nudge to get us going. A nudge to start a healthier diet, to stop smoking, to send a friend an encouraging note, to get off the couch and start exercising! Ten years ago I decided to run the Boston Marathon. It was something that just came over me and I just had to run it. But the training was grueling and the actual run itself was the most difficult thing I’ve ever voluntarily done - including childbirth!! If it wasn’t for the “nudge” of a very good friend, I wouldn’t have made it to the finish line. My friend jumped in at the halfway mark and ran the rest of the race with me. When I was tempted to stop, she put her hand on the small of my back and gently pushed me forward. She literally kept me going. A lot has happened in the last ten years and because I was at the finish line of the marathon last year, I am now training to run it again this year. I need to be part of the comeback! It is exciting but again...it’s grueling!!
I think that story is a good picture of life actually. So often we are tempted to give up - we are faced with grueling circumstances and we don’t know how we will get through it. We need someone to gently push us forward - to come alongside and help us limp along. Thankfully, Neighbor Brigade is that “friend” we all need. We never know when we will be faced with excruciating, life-altering situations. So we need to ask ourselves how we can build community around us so we can care for others and be cared for by others when we are in need.
Neighbor Brigade is the product of a very special woman’s vision coming to life. Pam Washek began the organization when her dear friend was going through cancer treatments. Shortly after her friend’s diagnosis, Pam was also diagnosed with cancer. This cause is very near and dear to me because Pam was a very important part of my family - she was married to my husband’s cousin but she was always like a big sister to me. I knew and loved Pam for the last 30 years. Some of her most beautiful traits were her generosity and her compassion. I truly admired her for so many things - not the least of which was how she began Neighbor Brigade out of sheer love and concern for others. What a legacy she has left. Unfortunately, cancer took her from us last December, but now her family and friends are more motivated than ever to continue carrying the torch she lit many years ago.
So I want to encourage you all to please consider joining us on October 5th for Pam’s Run. Perhaps you can’t physically run the race, but would you consider financially supporting a runner - or volunteering that day - or helping to make phone calls - or working with the event planners - whatever you can do? This event is going to bring our Neighbor Brigade Volunteer community together and further the cause so more neighbors will begin helping their neighbors and no one is left alone in their darkest times of life. Will you rally and come alongside to help others persevere through their own personal struggles by committing to getting a little bit more involved?
Thank you for taking the time to read this note of encouragement. I hope that you now consider yourself “nudged”!! Cindi Mitchell