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Brenda Rothwell is very special to The Ottawa Mission for a number of reasons. She is a generous long time donor, she served on our Board of Directors for four years, and she made the decision to become part of our “Legacy Circle” by leaving The Mission a gift in her will. And, when you hear about why she is so committed to The Mission – well, it’s an extraordinary experience.

She tells us about her family – her strong Mom, her siblings, and her Dad Austin. Austin was a WWII veteran, master brick-mason, and loving father of four who suffered with alcoholism. His battle ended 50 years ago when he passed away. During his years of struggling with his addiction, Austin was often separated from his young family and living on the streets – and he spent many nights at The Mission. The kids always loved
Austin unconditionally, did what they could to help him, but worried about him all the time. As Brenda says, “The love never goes away.”

Brenda recalls that the children’s anxiety about Austin hit especially hard during the winter months when they often didn’t know where he was. But whenever any of the kids expressed their concern, her Mom would say, “Don’t worry – Dad’s safe and warm at The Mission.” And the children took great comfort in that.

Back when Austin stayed with us at The Mission, there was not much available beyond food, shelter and clothing, but it was known as a clean, caring and compassionate place, as it remains today. Over the years, Brenda has seen the organization grow to become a vital part of our community offering a full range of programs to help people in need like her Dad, and this has strengthened her commitment even further.

In leaving us a gift in her will, Brenda is, as she says, “paying it forward” in loving memory of her Dad, and the care he received so long ago, and with hope that The Mission will be around for years to come to provide people in crisis with the support they need to move on to a better life.