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Give a hug and remember Rep. Wallace

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By Bernadette Lauritzen

I’d like to take this opportunity to break from the planned column of the week just to speak about relationships, which is what assets are really all about.
The particular relationship I’d like to speak about is my relationship with State Representative Jeanette Wallace.
In 2000, I was hired as the Maternal and Child Health Council Coordinator. The job was to look at the issues of women of childbearing age and their children. I assumed, since I interviewed at 8-1/2 months pregnant for the job, I was a shoo in, but we’ll never know if that was the case.
At one point the councils were in jeopardy of losing their funding and we rallied the troops (all state coordinators) to the Roundhouse, for an “Educate the Legislature Day.”
We baked tons of apple pies, put little mom flags in them and served for several hours.
Rep. Wallace was always booked in a variety of meetings throughout the day. I decided, with a gaggle of gals, to take the pie to my representative’s office.
Needless to say, the staff was thrilled with the delivery, and even though I can’t recall who the others were, her fellow representatives bathed in her glow, since they were her office mates, we were willing to make a special delivery to them, too. Our bill passed, by the way.
Eventually we were tasked with expanding the MCH Councils to include the entire community and the Community Health Council was born.
At our annual state meetings I was always thrilled  when they told the coordinators to make sure their legislators knew about their work, I could say that mine sat as a member of the actual council.
When Rep. Wallace couldn’t make a meeting she read every word of the minutes and would send me an email so I knew that she was still there.
It was as a member of the 2007 Leadership Los Alamos class, and I had the chance to hear her as one of the guest speakers. It changed my outlook forever.
She spoke about her tireless efforts on behalf of our community and others. What I took with me from that day was when she said she liked the different communities, but what she loved about her “Valley” consituents was that they always hugged her when they saw her.
She loved to visit with them and speak with them because she loved to be hugged and it didn’t happen in Los Alamos.
From that day on I tried to hug her anytime it was appropriate. You see I’m a hugger too; dogs, kids, friends, doesn’t matter, I love to hug.
So I encourage you this week, in the memory of Jeanette Wallace and not just once, but at least more often that you might now, give somebody a good squeeze and give thanks to Jeanette for touching so many lives.

Bernadette Lauritzen is the Assets In Action Coordinator for Los Alamos. Assets In Action is sponsored by the Juvenile justice Advisory Board and the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce.