Loss of a trailblazer

Published 10:42 pm Saturday, August 22, 2009

There are great moments in this job where I’ve come across a topic that proves once again I am not clearly as capable in life as I ought to be.

There are the times when I’ve interviewed great people, who do extraordinary things and have a tremendous impact on their communities without thinking twice about such tasks.

This week saw the loss of what many have called a “trailblazer” in Suffolk, Helen Daughtrey.

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The comments from her friends and family displayed the true love and appreciation they had for her and spoke highly of the love and appreciation she had for her community – Suffolk.

“She had tireless energy in everything she did,” Sandra Knight said in this week’s article about Daughtrey’s death, Knight was described as a friend and one Daughtrey called an “adopted niece.” “She was just totally involved and whatever she was involved in you can believe she put in 100 plus percent to make it happen.”

Knight added, “she was kindhearted, giving and a peacemaker. She had a kind of charisma and we loved her and you respected her because of the way she carried herself.”

Daughtrey, who died at age 80, was a former vice-president of the Suffolk branch of the NAACP and called a civic advocate who took on a number of civic challenges within Suffolk. She served on boards and committees that worked for change she felt was needed.

It is people such as Mrs. Daughtrey that often times gives me cause to reflect on the impact I want to leave on my friends, family and community. And, by reading such stories or being blessed to interview such people myself, it often makes me wonder what will be said of me.

I am too new to Suffolk to talk of Helen or her impact on Suffolk. I have to rely on her friends, family and colleagues.

And from those alone, I can tell I missed out on an opportunity to meet a great person and a great champion of Suffolk.