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Introducing the WSECU & KIRO Radio Hometown Hero: Verneda Obrien

SPONSORED — Verneda Obrien, Patient Services Coordinator at the Swedish SCI Thoracic Institute located on Seattle’s First Hill has the reputation of having an amazing work ethic and a caring heart. However, her colleagues were recently surprised to learn just how far beyond her generosity and kindness went, in addition to what they see at work.

Coworkers discovered that Obrien spends the majority of her lunch breaks distributing meals to the nearby homeless community. She starts each day at 3:00am preparing meals that she will distribute later on her lunch break. On Fridays, she packs extra food to help get the recipients through the weekend.

When asked about her motivation for giving back, Obrien said, “I remember growing up with very little to eat, and I would say that when I grew-up, I would help as many people as possible. Lunchtime is ‘my time,’ and God has blessed me with a roof over my head and food for my table, so I wanted to give lunch to others who are in need.”

When she arrives at work each day, Obrien plugs in her crockpot and starts a batch of soup or noodles. The meal is ready at 11:00am and she distributes this hot dish, as well as a lunch bag with a sandwich, fruit bar, cookies, etc. (paid out of pocket, of course).

“I was raised by my Grandmother, Helen, until I was 12 years old. Even though we had very little, my grandmother would always give back…she would always remind me that we don’t know everyone’s story,” said Obrien. “It was not our place to judge and the most important lesson is to give from the heart not for recognition.”

Obrien’s humble generosity is a gift of hope to the many people that she directly serves, and her consistency in serving others each day is inspiring not just to her colleagues but to her greater community as well.

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