Barbara Sikorski and Marianne Gaffey recognized at Conn. Women of the UCC's Annual Meeting May 6, 2006
Our church nominated Barbara and Marianne for their work with the Red Cross. Below is the letter submitted. We want to extend our own recognition and thank them for their service.
"The Congregational Church of Brookfield would like to nominate two women from our church that exemplify faith in action and are very worthy of recognition. We must nominate them jointly because their mission took them on a journey together.
Marianne Gaffey and Barbara Sikorksi left their busy lives and families behind to volunteer with the Danbury chapter of the Red Cross in September and went to help in Texas after Hurricane Rita. They, like many amazing volunteers, endured heat and difficult circumstances to help those who suffered devastating loss. But it was not enough for them to just serve in food tents. They sought out opportunities to go in to areas of Texas that were very isolated, to bring help to those who could not come to aid. They found themselves in a community called Fred, Texas.
Fred, Texas doesn't even make it on to most maps - it has a population of less than 500! Everyone in that town suffered great losses. Yet they embraced the volunteers and made the face of the true devastation human and real for Marianne and Barbara. Marianne and Barbara returned to our Town of Brookfield exhausted and changed. After a short time of re-orienting back in to life here, they realized that they were still connected to Fred and wanted our congregation to experience the great rewards of being connected to a community that was in so much need. They involved us in fundraising efforts to help buy needed supplies and assist with the rebuilding of a playground for their school. Marianne networked and found other individuals and organizations who had books the school needed. Marianne also began a quilting project and involved many women in creating more than 60 quilts that went to both Texas and Louisiana. Then, Marianne and another woman in our congregation went back to Fred, not only to bring items but to bring the hope and support from a community in Connecticut that had gotten to know their little town through the efforts of these women.
Marianne and Barbara have been important members of our church family for many years. They both are involved in many facets of our church life, each worthy of recognition for the everyday gifts they bring to us. But this year they served for us, educated us and involved us in true community outreach. They learned about inner strength they did not know they possessed, bonded with volunteers from all over the country, and shared their love, faith and hope with a little town called Fred, and with our church family as well."
Thank you Marianne and Barbara - may God continue to bless you and call you to do his work!