At the Dansant on Dec. 3, 2017, the Presidents’ Council was honored for over six decades of leadership. Angela Laterza, president of the Presidents’ Council, gave these final remarks about a group whose contributions will remain an important part of our advocacy roots:
Question – how many of you have seen the film, “Sunset Boulevard?”
For those of you who are familiar with the movie, perhaps you can recall the scene where William Holden enters Gloria Swanson’s house. She is a former silent screen star. Well, there she is on the stairway — very soignée, long cigarette holder in hand.
He looks up at her and says, “Hey. I remember you. You were a star. You used to be big.”
She looks down at him very haughtily and says, “I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.”
So, I take this opportunity to say to you, AHRC is big. It’s the Presidents’ Council that got small.
There was a time when a monthly meeting had upwards of 25 or more members around the table. We’ve dwindled down to six to eight people in attendance, each month.
As we all well know, to everything, there is a season. Seasons come and go and the season for Presidents’ Council is over. I’m an optimistic sort. The wonderful thing about seasons is they return. Who is to say that Presidents’ Council may not come back at another time in another form. Some innovative brainstorm may hit someone and the AHRC Foundation and board of directors may find a new group emerging. At least, I like to think that’s a possibility, although at the moment, it doesn’t seem to be a likelihood.
To be honest, it hasn’t always been a joy. We’ve had our “sticky moments” — our differences of opinion, but I’ll tell you what it has been. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve on this board. At times, “an honor and a privilege” smacks of a hackneyed and overused phrase, but often it rings so true.
Agnes Mendes often used the phrase, “We are all sisters under the skin.” True, our circumstances in life attests to that. I want to take this moment to pay homage to those members who did not — or do not — have a child with an intellectual or other developmental disability.
They took our children to their hearts and worked alongside us. My fellow board members, I’m sure, join me in taking this moment to pay tribute to the late Elli Drescher. As Ellie did, and currently there are others like her, who give of their time, their talents, their innate kindness — and, let’s not forget their pockets. Generous people all, in every way.
We also wish to acknowledge the assistance and guidance of staff members, Mary McNamara, Jennifer Apelian and Karen Harris throughout the past years.
At our final meeting, this past Tuesday, the board members presented me with a lovely bouquet of fall flowers, made up at our greenhouse. The note read, “Thank you from all of your friends on AHRC Presidents’ Council.” That note means so much to me because I carry away from my Presidents’ Council experience exactly what the note says — a bonus of wealth in friendship.
Presidents’ Council may no longer exist as a group, but we will continue in our own individual way to support the works in progress and the work on the horizon of our foundation.