Helene Gordon was one of seven women honored by Beth Abraham Sisterhood during their Fifth Annual Women of Valor luncheon. She was honored for her advocacy on behalf of people with developmental disabilities. Helene worked for the Montgomery County Board of Developmental Disabilities for more than 30 years. Not long after her formal retirement from the Board she was invited to join Kris Bergman and some of the residents of Resident Home Association’s Garber Road home for lunch. That’s all it took for her to continue her advocacy and service. She is now a staff member at our Garber Road Home.
During her time with the Board, Helene was responsible for creating one of the first programs in our community that provided opportunities for people with developmental disabilities to volunteer and give back to the community. She was instrumental in volunteers with developmental disabilities volunteering at Miami Valley Hospital, Dayton Children’s Hospital Gift Shop, Covenant House and the Ronald McDonald House. She created Baskets & More, a mini business within MONCO that provided employment opportunities for MONCO employees. She was an integral and valued member of the Board’s Special Projects team that developed and coordinated a wide array of community events designed to promote awareness and acceptance of people with developmental disabilities.
In addition to her advocacy on behalf of people with developmental disabilities and senior citizens, Helene was also recognized for service on the Dayton Jewish Federation Board and for chairing Jewish Family Services. She is a past chair for the Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Memorial Program.) She is an active member of Beth Jacob Synagogue and has served on the board of directors, as well as on its Sisterhood Board. For eight years she was a volunteer advisor to B’nai B’rith girls. She is currently chair of the Federation’s Cultural Arts program.
She is the recipient of a regional Erin Ritchey Memorial Award and the Dayton Jewish Federation’s Past President Award.
In accepting her most recent recognition, she shared with the audience that the most important thing about her years of advocacy and service is not measured in awards, but in the personal connections that have filled the hours, days and years of her life – how her life has been and continues to be blessed – one smile and one hug at a time. Those of us who know her as a friend and shining light know that we too have been blessed – blessed by her smile and her hugs – made better because of her example of openness, full and deep acceptance and radiant joy in having found just where she was meant to be and what she was meant to be doing. She is in every way and in every moment, a true woman of valor!