Cathy O'Neal (center, right)
A message from HART's President:
Cathy knew how I felt about her, I loved her. I would often kid her saying that I wanted to be like her when I grew up. What’s that look like? A godly woman who saw the pain of others the way Christ sees them.To care for them when they needed support, to walk with them when they were lonely, to carry them when they could no longer walk. She even set a beautiful example of how to be a good wife, shutting down the clothes closet at noon so she could go home and fix lunch for Mike each day.
When Mike died, we had lunch and I asked her how she had survived first the tragic loss of her daughter and then, her beloved husband. She said grief could defeat her, or she could use it to motivate her. She worked tirelessly, not only for organizations like the Clothes Closet and Food Bank, the St. Vincent de Paul Society and HART, but she those hurting on a personal level. She often paid the homeless to do odd jobs for her, always feeding them lunch afterwards. She took in the cat of a homeless girl so she could go to rehab. She would spend the night - all night - with the homeless during winter sanctuary. She worked with the police to send a young homeless woman back to her mom.
Elk Grove is a better city because of Cathy. To say she will be missed simplifies the tremendous loss of the most selfless, openhearted and giving person I have ever known. While her time here on earth has come to an end, she leaves a beautiful legacy.