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Rest in Peace, Lisa Reed

Much of what we post here is the public-facing news and information about the Coast Guard Foundation's programs and projects, and how they benefit the men and women of the Coast Guard, and their families. We like to keep the spotlight on the people we help, and not broadcast the internal goings on of our office.

Today, though, we share with you the story of a dear friend and colleague, who lost a courageous and fierce battle with cancer this week. Her name is Lisa Reed, and although many of you didn't know her, she worked day in and day out as a tireless advocate for the men and women of the Coast Guard, always committed to working hard and raising funds to support the Coast Guard community.

Lisa_Reed_salsaTo say that it's a huge loss for us personally and professionally is an understatement. Our thoughts and prayers first and foremost go out to her family as they deal with this tremendous loss. Lisa started at the Foundation in 2009 as vice president of individual giving, and over time, took on the role of working with and coordinating our board of directors. Her efforts centered on working with donors who wanted to give to specific projects, and seeing those plans to fruition.

She was a fantastic researcher and writer, and she was great with people, because she was the most genuine person I have ever met, who asked thoughtful questions and truly cared to hear your answers. Lisa also had an amazing memory. She could recall the name of someone she met once at a reception several years earlier with ease. As a friend of the Foundation said, upon learning of Lisa's passing, "She was the nicest person I've ever met."

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Here are some of our favorite moments we shared with Lisa.

We're a small staff of 12 people, 10 of whom work in the Stonington office. We are more of a family than an office. We spend a lot of time in Stonington, and on the road at our special events, smaller receptions, boat and trade shows, and donor visits.

Whether it was Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C., New Orleans, St. Pete, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Seattle, Oklahoma City, Traverse City, San Francisco, San Diego, Houston, Annapolis... Lisa was there. I will particularly treasure the great memories of the times we shared at the Annapolis Sailboat Show. As a team, we worked hard, and had a ton of fun together.

Throughout her battle with cancer, and especially these last few months when her health wasn't great, she worked hard to carve out time to come to the office and contribute what she could to our team. "Lisa," we'd say, "it's okay, we can do this. We'd rather have you here with us, but we can do this."

But Lisa would have none of it. She wanted to know what was going on, who we were seeing next, and how the programs and projects were progressing. And how she could help.

I never once heard her complain.

Rest in peace, Lisa Reed. You are gone far too soon from this earth, but you will forever be in our hearts.


Comments (6)

  1. My thanks to Jen for putting into words what the rest of us cannot. Well said. Our hearts are heavy with sadness, but our lives are better and brighter for having her in our lives.
  2. Thank you so much for sharing your words and photos. It is so hard to lose one so loved.
  3. When I first joined the Board of the Foundation, Lisa immediately made me welcome. We spent a delightful afternoon exploring Savannah after a reception aboard "Eagle". She was genuinely interested in what had brought me to the Foundation, what I did at Channel Shipyard, who my family are, where I was brought up and where I call home. She was always available to visit when I was in Mystic. I will always treasure the wonderful afternoon we spent visiting her home on Fisher's Island and racing IOD's. The Foundation is fortunate to have benefited from her talents, and my heart aches for her family and friends. The world would be a better place if we had more Lisas.
  4. lisa cook reed is my cousin. though i now live in atlanta, ga and have not had the frequency of visits and time spent with lisa lately that you'll at the foundation have had; it pleases me so to hear of your thoughtful and accurate descriptions of my dear cousin. she and i have known each other all of our lives, having grown up together in darien, ct; and i know she would be greatly humbled and even embarrassed by the wonderful words you have written about her. she was one of a kind and i know a great loss is felt by all. thank you coast guard foundation family.
  5. I never thought, reading this text during a time of tremendous grief for so many, that I'd end up laughing. I worked with Lisa for 10+ years and then our friendship continued until now, 20 years. I can't even count the number of times - in the 100s, maybe 500 - Lisa and I would be together, she'd point out a person, and say, "Oh! There's (fill in the blank)!" I'd look at her with a confused expression, and she'd say, "You know! She came up to us three months ago when we were walking down the street and introduced herself. She used to be my neighbor's wife's cousin's friend's mother after I moved from Higganum!" (or something similar) My jaw always dropped at her memory of literally every human being who came into her orbit. This piece truly brings Lisa's extraordinary qualities to life. Thank you for that.
  6. Thank you for the great words in tribute of Lisa and the wonderful assortment of photographs. Lisa was a very special person. With her innate charm, sense of honor, and unique generosity of heart she put each of us at ease. We’ll all miss her and if there’s any rhyme to karma we’ll make the world a better place for having known her.