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Ode to Elizabeth Reiss

Posted: June 9, 2014

Friday was the last day that Elizabeth Reiss worked at Coleman House as our Resident Service Coordinator.  Elizabeth is quite an astonishing person, the absolute model of the quintessential professional who imbues every aspect of her high quality work with warmth, empathy and true lovingkindness.  And while she’s extraordinarily special and unique, this poem written for her by a resident actually does a great job explaining the beauty of the role of Resident Service Coordinator at JCHE.  The author of the poem, Natalie Lichtenstein, read it aloud at Elizabeth's going-away party: 


To My Dear Friend Elizabeth: 


Where to start?  What can I say? 

That will let you know what’s in my heart today. 

My emotions are mixed because you see 

Though I’m happy for Elizabeth that she can retire and be 

A lady of leisure, as free as a bird and can fly 

When and wherever she wants I tell you no lie. 

Seven years ago I came to Coleman House to find 

A place closer to my family and peace of mind.

And yes my life changed and it was traumatic

But I really don’t want to sound too dramatic.

But everyone made me feel welcome it’s true

And we all know I mean the whole staff so I don’t have to tell you

Their names …. But the one person who stood out from the rest

WAS ELIZABETH REISS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


From the moment we met

I knew I could forget

My fear that I would no longer be

A productive, happy, useful woman because I could see

That Elizabeth would become a friend and also make good use of me.

I remember that after a month or so had gone by

I mentioned to Elizabeth that I would like to try

To join a Welcoming Committee, if there was one, and see

If I could help new people feel more comfortable like she had me.

Well in my box next morning she left a note

“We now have a Welcoming Committee and you are it” and I quote.

So you see it’s just a small example of how she’s always on the ball

And no matter what you ever needed all you’ve had to do was give her a call.


I live by mottos like “Attitude and Gratitude” and “Find Joy every day”

Well she’s an inspiration on “Attitude and Gratitude” and as for “Finding Joy every day”,

all I have to say is 

That all I need is a hello and a smile from her and I’ve found my joy for the day.

She’s patient and caring and never makes anyone feel they are in the way

I won’t tell you that she is perfect but she really comes close, it’s true

But nobody loves you if you’re perfect and that doesn’t fit our feelings about you.


We love you Elizabeth and our wishes for you come from the heart.

May you have nothing but Joy, together with your family and friends as you start

Another phase of your life!

For this is not a Goodbye Party but rather a celebration of a new beginning for you

So let me finish by telling you what we wish you to do…………



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