The HVO community is deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and colleague, Barbara Edwards. One of our longest serving employees, Barbara began working part-time at HVO in the fall of 1999 and over the years took on many new responsibilities including working with the oral health and wound care projects. She was always willing to tackle the myriad “tasks as assigned” that staff of a small nonprofit inevitably encounter. For many years, Barbara’s was the friendly voice who answered the phone and, after hours, calmly directed callers through the answering system. She also took the lead in HVO’s recent technology update – leading the charge to move HVO to the cloud. She was a willing soundboard, ready to hear new proposals and brainstorm ideas for tackling challenges, always with grace and a sense of humor – and she was ready to offer a sympathetic ear if a challenge couldn’t be overcome. In 2017 she was promoted to Director of Operations.
Barbara was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer in March of last year. She underwent a brutal schedule of chemo and radiation treatments and for the most part continued to come to work on a regular basis through the summer. She was determined that this cancer would not define her and insisted that staff and others not see her as sick.
As HVO grew over the years, Barbara and her can-do attitude took on the challenge of advancing our organization’s technological capacity, expanding her own skills and knowledge to better understand the changing tech landscape and ensuring that HVO would be equipped to evolve as well. Barbara was totally committed to HVO’s mission of training and education and delighted in reading volunteers’ reports of accomplishments in the field. She personified the core traits we so often associate with successful volunteers – flexibility, patience, openness, innovativeness, integrity, and humor – bringing these essential qualities to her work and serving as an example for other HVO staff, leadership, and volunteers.
With the support of her family, HVO is establishing the Barbara Edwards Fund to honor her memory. Consistent with Barbara’s pragmatic nature, all donations received in her memory will be allocated where the need is greatest.
Barbara will be missed by all here at HVO – staff and volunteers.