Kelly was our first born and as with most first born children she was serious about her studies and responsibilities. We never heard Kelly say she couldn't do something. Many times we felt Kelly was taking on too much, but she always managed to do all she set out to do and to do it well. As one ofher friends said, "Kelly knew how to work hard and how to play hard, and she knew when it was time to do each". Kelly was beautiful, but when you met Kelly and talked to her awhile, her intelligence stood out over her beauty. She had an infectious personality, and when she came into the room, she lit it up. One of her greatest assets was her ability to make everyone feel important and special. Project Uplift was very important to Kelly and to her roommate Lisa. They took very seriously their responsibility of mentoring their children, teaching them good manners, helping them with their homework, and also having fun like going for ice cream or skating. Kelly is missed every day, but she leaves happy memories in our hearts and we were proud to be entrusted the opportunity of being her parents for the brief twenty-three years we had her.
When our daughter Kelly died at the age of twenty-three in 1990 we knew that many people would send flowers to her funeral. This was important to have beautiful flowers for a beautiful young person, but we also knew that many people would want to give to something more lasting. We thought about what would really mean something to Kelly and we knew immediately that Project Uplift was perfect. Project Uplift was dear to Kelly's heart. She had been in the program for three years at Auburn, and along with her roommate they mentored the same two boys the entire time. We knew that Kelly would have wanted us to continue the support of Project Uplift, thus the establishment of the Kelly Gaddy Memorial Fund. The memorial fund provides gift cards from local merchants to be given out annually at Easter to children sponsored by Project Uplift. Many of the children and their sponsors send us thank you cards. It is such a continued blessing in our life and it really helps us get through a difficult time. We love the program and the wonderful people that have made Project Uplift so successful. It is with humble gratitude that we can be a small part of this incredible program.
Barbara, Richard & Walter Gaddy
What Project Uplift Meant to Karen Benning - “Karen had a big heart. She always had a desire to help children who were less fortunate than her. When she started attending Auburn University she found a way to help these children through Project Uplift. She created a special bond with a young girl, named Kendra. They were a lot alike, but due to circumstances beyond Kendra’s control she was unable to have things most kids her age had. Karen would sometimes bring Kendra home to Atlanta on weekends. Karen treated her as a sister. They even wore their hair in similar styles.” – Lou Benning (Karen’s dad)
What Project Uplift Meant To Karen’s Family - “Being able to continue to contribute to Project Uplift after Karen’s death was a blessing for us. It not only helped carry on the mission Karen had in mind for less fortunate children, it helped keep the memory of Karen alive. Every time we would receive a “Thank you” note from one of these children for clothes they received through Project Uplift, it would leave a warm spot in our hearts.” – Lou Benning (Karen’s dad)
Mary Beth Goodner
Thanks Mary Beth for all that you have done for Project Uplift. Your kindness, generosity and loving heart will truly be missed.
Last Updated: May 01, 2014