The Lindsey Lifetime Leadership Award presented to Brenda Myers
Updated: Oct 11, 2021
The following are the remarks spoken by Hannah Lindgren presenting the 2021 G. Dean Lindsey Lifetime Leadership Award to her mother, Brenda Myers, at our 22nd Annual Home Sweet Home event.
Hello everyone! I’m Hannah Myers Lindgren, and I have the pleasure of presenting the G. Dean Lindsey Leadership Award. Dean Lindsey founded the Interfaith Hospitality Network in Greater Indianapolis 27 years ago, and this award is given to someone who for many years has worked across all parts of the organization—like Dean did—to help further its mission to help families who are experiencing homelessness.
For as long as I can remember, there’s been a consistent presence in my life, and my family’s life. That presence is called... “The Rotation.” (Hopefully some laughter here.) Long before I understood what Family Promise was, or even before I could really comprehend what homelessness was, I knew “The Rotation” to be a regular part of our life, coming around several times a year, like clockwork. I knew that this meant longer Sundays at church, waiting as my mom sat at a table in Fellowship Hall and recruited people to sign up for meals, or overnight stays, before and after each service. I knew this meant we’d go over to the Ministry Center and eat a meal or two, and play with other kids. I knew this meant that when my sibling and I were finished with a game, or a toy, or a gadget, we’d probably wind up seeing them again during “The Rotation.”
It meant frequently seeing Mom pack an overnight bag and pile it at the door with her pillow. It meant Dad would be called over to drive “The Van” because Mom didn’t want to. We have a project to complete for Scouts? Why not IHN? The list goes on. I’m sure you get the point.
All of these things were present in my life because 22 years ago, my mother got involved with the Interfaith Hospitality Network when Castleton United Methodist Church signed up to be a host. 15 years ago, she became a co-coordinator with her friend Mary Ann.
Beyond just “The Rotation,” she has been on the Family Promise of Greater Indianapolis Advisory Council since its inception. She helped recruit partners to start the newest affiliate of Family Promise in Hamilton County. She’s procured more than $10,000 worth of items for the organization’s silent auctions, and has been a monthly donor, along with my dad, for the last three years, giving one of the largest amounts of any donor. More recently, I remember showing up for a socially-distanced driveway visit with my parents during the first part of the pandemic, only to find their garage completely full of donated furniture... all for Family Promise.
But beyond all of these incredible contributions, the logistical abilities it takes to pull off a rotation, or the sheer number of overnight stays she’s done in the last two decades, there is simply a woman who cares. I have witnessed her navigate the complex relationship between host and guests with compassion, empathy and grace countless times. On multiple occasions, I have hidden in a closet with her and stuffed stockings on Christmas Eve, both of us giggling and, to be honest, getting a bit weepy. I’ve watched her continue to educate herself and others about homelessness, in an effort to be even more of use to the families and to Family Promise. I can’t even begin to guess the number of people she’s gotten involved in one way or another, by getting them to donate items or volunteer.
My mom will tell you she doesn’t deserve this award. That she was just doing what all the other volunteers do. (Mom - I’m saying it before you can!) But those of us who know and love her, know that she goes above and beyond for this organization - not just through her actions or through her treasure, but in her heart.
And so tonight, it is my absolute privilege to present the G. Dean Lindsey Leadership Award to my mother, Brenda Myers. Would you join me in welcoming her to the podium?