Anna May Day!

DESK Uncategorized, Uncategorized

Today, we honored Anna May Suraci, DESK’s longtime bookkeeper and friend, on the occasion of her retirement. Words cannot do justice to the gratitude we owe to Anna May for her years of service to DESK … but we tried anyway! Click this link here for the presentation to Anna May outside her home in Hamden, where she was surrounded by family, friends, and the warmth of community.

Here is the transcript from the event:

  • 00:25I’m Scott McLean, the Board President of the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen Welcome to our recognition ceremony for Anna May Suraci.
  • 00:42Anna May is one of those long-serving people who have been associated with DESK. She has been our long time accountant and bookkeeper for the organization and we want to recognize all those years of service.
  • user avatarUnknown Speaker01:03(unknown speaker)
  • user avatarScott McLean01:06So I want to just say thank you from the bottom of my heart.
  • 01:13I have been a volunteer for 20 years and Anna May has been bookkeeper for 18 years.
  • 01:15Good!
  • user avatarUnknown Speaker01:18Unknown
  • user avatarScott McLean01:21So I wanted to just thank you for all the work.
  • 01:28And yet there’s so many ways you make a difference, that people just don’t see every day way. That’s because you’re someone who is behind the scenes and it’s the people behind the scenes that allows a great organization to thrive and survive.
  • 01:46And Anna May, you’ve definitely been part of that DESK story. I want to give a thank you from the whole organization. Now our Treasurer Tim Opstrup has some words for you.
  • 01:57Tim Opstrup: When I was thinking about what to say, the first thing that came to mind
  • 02:01was Proverbs 31 about a woman of character, and it goes like this:
  • 02:08Arriving over “A woman of noble character…is worth far more than rubies.” I’m sure know the verse. “Her children are blessed; her husband also; he praises her and many women do noble things but you surpass them all.”
  • 02:15″Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to the praised. Honor her for all her hands have done.”
  • 02:21″Let her works bring praise at the city gates.” Today we stand here at the city gates and we do indeed honor and praise you, for all the work that you have done. You walk in faith walked out your faith and in love for God, by supporting the vulnerable people in New Haven, through your service to DESK and we so appreciate you for that.
  • 02:35Not only did you give your time and talent, but the way you did it, was amazing.
  • 02:43You were prepared, every single week, kept me informed that I can do my job. But, even more importantly, which I think is so cool, is that you literally had a place ready for us at the table. Just so all you are aware, but we would come in this house, the glass of water, there would be Hershey’s kisses for us [on the Finance Committee]
  • 02:57There would be a whole table full of snacks. And I still looked forward to those meetings. And so, in addition to doing a great job, HOW you serve, is so amazing.
  • 03:07So although we’re sad to see you go, we understand everything has a season. And then, in the Coast Guard (and I believe your grandson is in the Coast Guard).
  • 03:18And I was also in the coast guard and, at the end of retirements, we always have the saying that “Today we stand here shipmate. The Watch stands relieved — relieved by those you have trained and guided and led. We have the Watch.”
  • 03:31And DESK is a better place, because of you.
  • 03:39And I always want you to be my “standing date” at every Breaking Break [fundraiser event] every year.
  • 03:42So I will come back and pick up to go there, next year. Well done, good and faithful servant.
  • user avatarUnknown Speaker04:06Amen!!!
  • user avatarTim Opstrup04:08So please accept these flowers from DESK.
  • user avatarTim Optstrup04:20Anna May: This is unbelievable. You, I could call you anytime. DESK is very, very, very special. To have an organization so dedicated to feeding the homeless is very, very special. Not only that, one of the highlights of my life I will never forget, was when you accompanied me to Breaking Bread.[inabudible]..we would pass by people at the table and I would ask ‘what is your connection to DESK?’ And I spoke to one woman and she said ‘I bring my grandchildren to serve food at DESK at Christmas time, to help feed the homeless’
  • user avatarunknown04:25———-
  • user avatarAnna May Suraci04:36Anna May: And I said to her, ‘Do you realize what wonderful things you are doing for your grandchild? To take a child, and have a child be happy serving others! This is absolutely incredible. And what a fantastic world it would be if everyone was busy serving and helping others.
  • user avatarUnknown Speaker05:01————
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  • user avatarUnknown Speaker05:40Amen!
  • user avatarUnknown Speaker05:42Right on, Anna May
  • user avatarAnna May Suraci05:50And to see the dedication and the progress that you’re making.
  • user avatarUnknown Speaker05:56————
  • user avatarAnna May Suraci06:00Geting another building, and exapanding and so forth. I see the Lord blessing these efforts. It is wonderful and I am very honored and I learned a lot, by working with such wonderful, dedicated people.
  • user avatarUnknown Speaker06:07[APPLAUSE]
  • user avatarScott McLean06:34Anna May You are a blessing to DESK Thank you for this. I personally wanted to thank you for all the things you set on the table for us at the Finance meetings. I would come to your house and find all the wonderful things you set before us. You don’t know how much it meant to me becaue for years I tried to break the habit of eating fig newtons, and now I’m fully addicted once again — so thanks for that!
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  • 06:59And Now I want to turn things over to Mr. Steve Werlin our Executive Director at DESK, who has a presentation to make for you.
  • 07:06———-
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  • 07:20Steve Werlin:
  • 07:22Just a few words. The bill by the way, Scott, is coming to you soon for the fig newtons you ate. [laughter]
  • 07:25Steve Werlin: we are going through a time of transition right now at DESK, with some uncertainty some anxiety, with a little bit of fear.
  • 07:32And no less so, with this transition. We have to transition to something new.
  • user avatarSteve Werlin07:41First off, I want to thank you for shepherding us through this process.
  • user avatarSteve Werlin07:45..For Making it happen, for being there for the past year, and for being so gracious. For meeting with our new accountants and for being so gracious with them.
  • user avatarUnknown Speaker07:52————
  • user avatarScott McLean07:56STEVE WERLIN:
  • 07:58Still, I don’t have any uncertainty for fear about the skills they will bring to this. They will be fine, and open to what you did, in terms of technical side of accounting.
  • user avatarSteve Werlin08:05But, what I do have some fear and some anxiety about, is that they will not be able to bring the softer stuff you brought to the job: The love, your heart, the fig newtons [laughter], but I think that is going to be the hardest part of this transition.
  • user avatarScott McLean08:11—————
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  • user avatarSteve Werlin08:33I thank you so much for bringing that, to this job. For you, it was more than a job than a job of course. It was a mission. So much more than anyone has ever brought to this job before.
  • user avatarSteve Werlin08:38Thank you so much.