Lisa Niles would have loved this morning. Her very good friend, Lu Lucas, received the Leadership Saratoga program’s highest award, which is named in her memory.
I am happy and sad at the same time. So is Lu.
Lu was nominated for the Lisa Niles Distinguished Leadership Award honor by her longtime colleague Rich Ferguson, who at this morning’s Leadership Saratoga breakfast ran through an exhausting list of Lu’s current volunteerism. She is actively involved in so much, on top of a full-time job and personal responsibilities. And, as Rich noted, she does it without fanfare, never wishing to draw attention to herself.
Lisa was the same way.
I became friends with Lisa as colleagues in Leadership Saratoga’s initial Class of 1986 and as sisters in the fledgling Soroptimist International of Saratoga County, along with Lu and Lisa Schroeder Bevis, one of the founders of the thriving service organization. For years the four of us would get together for monthly dinners.
Lisa passed away on July 7, 2001 at the age of 45, way too young. She was the first president of the Leadership Alumni Association, hence the award in her memory.
As the latest recipient of the Lisa Niles Distinguished Leadership Award, Lu is in good company with other alums of the program who continue to volunteer for the betterment of the community. That would have been honor enough. But the award means even more for Lu, who shared in her brief remarks how Lisa was a personal friend, mentor and role model. I couldn’t have been prouder this morning as Lu was recognized for her community service in the name of a friend whose spirit clearly lives on.