By Beth Morrison, HAVEN CEO
In the past few days our community lost two amazing women, Eleanor Josaitis and Brenda Vesprini. Eleanor helped to transform Detroit during a time of chaos and destruction, lifting individuals and families out of poverty. Brenda quietly helped survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault find hope. Both women courageously fought and lost their battle with cancer.
Many knew Eleanor Josaitis or at the very least certainly knew of her and her significant achievements but Brenda played a much less public and prominent role.
Brenda was one of HAVEN’s amazing volunteers. For several years she assisted at the shelter and worked our 24/7 crisis line. She was the calm in the storm for so many. But Brenda was more. She never failed to light up a room, with her infectious smile and enthusiasm for life. As a survivor herself, she too had experienced the depths of despair but she also had the joy of discovering a life without fear. Brenda gave of herself with the hope that someone else might find that same peace.
Brenda not only brought hope to those HAVEN serves, she also brought confirmation to our staff, myself included, that the work we do is valued and needed. She gave each of us, her joyfulness for life and her positive outlook. We all grew because of her.
Eleanor Josaitis is quoted as saying, “You won’t change a thing sitting in front of the television — you have to have the guts to try something.” Brenda would have loved this, she certainly lived it.
HAVEN expresses our condolences to the families and loved ones of these two incredible women. May we all find inspiration in their legacies.