My memories of Mrs. Carey
By Eileen Flood O’Connor, ASF Parent and member of ASF Board of Trustees
If the mission of the ASF is to empower lives through adaptive sports, Moreen Carey’s mission was simply to empower lives. Her life’s work was to improve the lives of those she loved and anyone she met who might be struggling in any way. As a wife, mother, sister, grandmother, friend, teacher, ASF instructor and Board member, she dedicated herself to this work and mission with unsurpassed energy, passion and love.
Moreen or Mrs. Carey, as I knew her, impacted my life in so many ways. She was my mom’s ‘BFF’ as they called each other. Well before these days of instant messaging, they spent much of the 1970’s and 80’s tethered to a landline talking, analyzing and solving all of the world’s problems which on any given day could range from cancer to Cabbage Patch Kids. Anyone old enough might remember these highly coveted circa 1980 dolls. They sold out well before the holiday season one Christmas but Moreen, of course, ‘had a guy’ at JFK who helped Santa come through with flying colors that year.
As anyone who knew Moreen can attest, there was no saying no to her and no mountain too high to help someone in need. When she learned that our daughter Erin, now 18 years old, had been diagnosed with autism and global developmental delays, she insisted we bring her to Windham. I remember when I told her that we were working with all sorts of professionals to help Erin learn how to walk and talk and there was no way she could ski, she would have none of it. ” Don’t be ridiculous, Bring her up, I’ll take care of it,” she said.
Moreen took care of Erin, as she did so many other children and families with disabilities. She opened a door and offered an opportunity we never thought possible for our daughter and we are forever grateful. She introduced us to a place and a program that, just like her, welcomes and celebrates men, women and children of all abilities – and helps them shine. Every single time I saw her suited up in her green jacket, heading out with an ASF student often alongside one of her grandchildren volunteers – it took my breath away.
Moreen always knew what was needed and she made it happen. My mom reminisced the other day that Moreen was the friend (the mom, the sister, the ASF volunteer) who didn’t ask what she could do – she did. She didn’t ask how she could help – she helped. She never hesitated, she jumped right in and made herself a force for good. She loved and lived fiercely for others – but at the same time she took life lightly – and often made her own rules. They are certainly rules to live by. Whenever, wherever however you can, make a difference – just do, just give, just love. We will all miss Mrs. Carey very much and will do our best to carry her mission of kindness, love and service forward.