2017 Pat Hazel Award Winners, Pt. 1

By Diane Holloway
Communications/Volunteer Coordinator

We are excited to present two Pat Hazel Awards for extraordinary service at this year’s Barbara Jordan Celebration. Father Pat, as he was lovingly known, was Trinity Center’s spiritual benefactor, a priest at St. David’s who dedicated his life to serving homeless people – especially in our little corner of downtown. Our honorees this year span Trinity’s  past, present and future!

By the way, the 2017 Barbara Jordan Celebration will be Tuesday, April 25 at 5:30 in St. David’s Bethell Hall. Tickets are on sale NOW!!

Long overdue will be a salute to our founders, Diana and Doug Bell. You will read about this awesome duo soon.

We also will honor a truly dedicated group of volunteers: the National Charity League’s Lake Austin Chapter. Receiving the award will be Lorry (Mom) and Avery (Daughter) Carlson, one of many mother-daughter teams who spend summers and other school vacations keeping us afloat and loving every minute of it.

Avery, a junior at Westlake High, has been volunteering with us for five years, originally with her older sister Mackenzie. Most recently she conjured up and executed a massive project to clean out, rearrange and re-supply our women’s closet. What seemed like an overwhelming task was accomplished in one Saturday with several other mother-daughter teams assisting.

Any time there’s a school holiday, Avery and Lorry show up – serving food, cleaning, shopping with the neighbors on women’s days, doing manicures, whatever is needed.

“I just love the sense of community that Trinity Center provides,” Avery says. “And for me, it puts a face on homelessness. Getting to know people on a one-on-one basis made me realize we have tons of similarities – our aspirations in life, where we would like to be, even our backgrounds. Some of us are very similar.”

Including her mother-daughter stints with her older daughter, Lorry has been with NCL for nearly a decade and especially loves Trinity Center.

“When you walk in here, you just feel the love and the sense of community,” Lorry says. “When we first started with Mackenzie, we did all the coffee and dish-washing, so we were exhausted when we left. But we loved it. It’s that eye-to-eye contact that just makes it wonderful.”

Although they have volunteered just about every day of the week, Avery and Lorry both look forward to women’s days.

“I do have a special fondness for the women,” Lorry says. “It’s been remarkable to see how the women surround my daughters and offer lessons to them, share their stories, their dreams, even their advice on dating – they really care for them.”

While some teenagers might find the work challenging – or even depressing — Avery says she has been inspired.

“It is hard to grasp just how severe the difficulties are that these people face, and it can be hard hearing them say they’re having a really bad day – because you want to help,” Avery says. “But I always feel great after I come here. It has taught me compassion and made me think about how I can help people in the future.”

Lorry says her older daughter Mackenzie was particularly touched by mental health issues she noticed and is now pursuing a degree in mental health counseling in college. Her younger daughter has been similarly affected.

“What I’ve noticed about Avery, who is a science-and-math girl in school, is that she’s become very interested in women’s health. Maybe she will go into medicine or social policy. This has touched her on a personal level, and it’s given me the opportunity to see her grow, especially her strength as a leader. That’s been really wonderful.”

We look forward to honoring and thanking these mothers and daughters on April 25th, and we hope you will join us for the Barbara Jordan Celebration!