KATHLEEN PLANTE is HRU’s first director of development. She is responsible for marketing the agency, growing its individual and corporate supporters, creating community partnerships, social media, as well as writing and managing grant opportunities. Plante is the 2011 YPS ‘Excellence in Leadership’ Award winner, was named one of Massachusetts’ 2011 Unsung Heroines and is a prior recipient of BusinessWest’s Difference Makers award.
lessons learned No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. ~John Donne
behalf. Noted Christin, “Phillip had no family, or anyone else in his life, who believed or invested in him as a person. He had been discarded and abused by the very people that should have been there to protect him and had lost all faith in people.” She worked for years to prove to Phillip that she was there for him, that she cared for him and about his wellbeing, that she wouldn’t walk away from him, and that he does indeed matter. When the state was going to have a lawyer from another city (who had never met Phillip) become his conservator, Christin felt this would be the last straw for Phillip. This would confirm his belief that not one person in his life cared about him. She decided to make a commitment to him, and a promise to herself, that she would do all she could to change Phillip’s perception about people and life. It hasn’t been an easy road, but Christin firmly believes she made the right choice. In her words, “Phillip has complimented my life so wonderfully. I’ve learned so much from him. I have a true friend in him – and in return – he has a family: myself, my family and friends, who care so much about him. I’m really the one who has won!” This was clearly demonstrated a few years back when Christin was critically injured in a motorcycle accident and was confined to a hospital bed for an extended period of time. Getting choked up, she recalls that her friends, family, and coworkers all stepped in to make sure that Phillip didn’t feel abandoned. He had never experienced this kind of “family” before in his entire life. Their behavior toward Phillip mirrored the childhood Christin grew up with; that
nothing is more important than family and family doesn’t have to be the people with whom you share DNA. She considers this part of her life a true testament to her parents’ legacy and to people’s character and not merely people going through the motions of helping out. Recently, on October 29th, a day that began a struggle for many across a vast swath of New England, the Blizzard of the Witch moved up the east coast, hitting central and western Massachusetts especially hard. Christin and her boyfriend, Michael Shea III, a central MA police detective, were among the lucky few, literally, in West Brookfield not to lose power. Demonstrating, once again, that generosity of spirit is an integral part of her personality, Christin and Mike’s home became a haven for less fortunate family and friends. At this writing, a week later, many are still without power in their own homes, so are comfortably ensconced at Christin and Mike’s for the duration of the power outage. Since the idea that “we’re all in this together” comes as a result of her parents’ never ending reinforcement, it brings to mind the phrase “no man is an island”, and since yours truly had never read the whole John Donne poem, I looked it up and, as you will discover upon reading it, realized that this poem aptly applies to the Deremian philosophy of life. That lesson has already served Christin Deremian long and well and, if the past be any example, should serve her and our community well into the future.
LIONESS JANUARY 2012