I have spent the last 23 years working with a wonderful and gifted woman, Mary McHugh.
I was young and biting off more than I could chew and she helped guide me and nurture me along my path. She was a gift given to me and I cherish those times. She taught me to be humble, give to others with no expectation of getting anything in return and just do it.
Mary's favorite line when trying to get me to do something was, "We have to do this." She would quietly and deliberately get you to do it. When Mary got mad it was about the inequities associated with the treatment of people who were less fortunate than others.
Mary died on July 18. As I talked to Mary in her final days, she told me what she wanted Racial Harmony to continue to do. She wanted to keep our youth programs going, mentoring, counseling and tutoring at-risk students and try to work on solutions to our racial issues that are creating fissures in our communities.
Mary had more energy and drive than anyone I have ever met. This continued right up to the month before her passing.
Another saying that Mary had was, when thanked for doing something, "I didn't do much." Mary did so much. She could be a lamb or a lion when it was needed. No one will come close to filling the void she left behind, but we all will try to carry her message forward.
Paula R. Jones