Today, as I unpacked my husband’s lunch box as part of my morning routine, I came upon a neatly folded up piece of tinfoil. I smiled, and thought of Karen Evertson. Karen was a colleague of mine some years ago. In fact, she was the CEO of Capital Region Mental Health Center. One day as I joined her in her office for a meeting, I spotted her finishing up her lunch at her desk. She was folding up a piece of tinfoil and neatly tucking it into her lunch bag. I was curious about two things, both her reuse perspective and her presumably limited or no use of condiments. I commented on both. She shared her doctor had recommend she avoid high fat high salt condiments, so she did. I certainly appreciated her use and reuse philosophy with the tinfoil.
Karen Evertson passed away in March of 2017 after a battle with breast cancer. I learned from Karen, both professionally and personally. I think of the committees we were on together, the presentation on a mentoring program we rehearsed for together as a group. I always knew how Karen was feeling. She was very open. When I decided to request a mentor for myself within the mentoring program at Capital Region, I secretly wished to be matched with Karen. My wish did not come true. But, I didn’t stop learning from her.
Karen wrote her own obituary. In it, she says “If you think of me and would like to do something to honor my memory, here are some suggestions…” and goes on to talk about many different ways to help others, to give back to others. Karen, today as I make someone smile, I will think of you.