When I hear the words service and leadership, I immediately think of my Grandma.  Her name is Mrs. Diane Erhard and I am not the only one who feels this way. In November, she was honored for her service and leadership by the Rockaway WISH organization.  This organization is devoted to Women In Service and Help and is a volunteer group that serves the Rockaway Peninsula. The WISH selected my Grandma because of her humility and service.

      Diane Erhard, my Grandma, grew up as one of four kids in Brooklyn.  She goes to church daily and prays to God in church, in her room, and even at family parties.  I remember at one party, she had all 25 of her grandkids, saying, “We should know God, love God, and live as He taught us!”   My Grandma lives in a basement apartment in my house so I’m always able to see her in action. She constantly demonstrates her belief that the best way to live your life is to live it with Christ.  Although she just turned 80, my Grandma participates in many service activities and is a leader in my family and in the Rockaways.   

     My Grandma is always doing some sort of service for the parish and our local community.  She serves the community by reaching out to nursing homes and people in need. She brings communion to the local nursing home.  She always goes out of her way by bringing cupcakes or some other sweet treat to the residents. She makes them so happy! She feeds their hearts with Christ and their tummies!   “Service is necessary for the community because in this world which isn’t perfect, there is always a need,” says my Grandma. She serves the parish by being a eucharistic minister.  She also belongs to many parish groups and she attends the Right to Life March every year. My Grandma says, “I see Christ in all of the world and in all people. ” She serves our parish actively in the St. Vincent de Paul Society and in the Bereavement Group, as well. 

     My Grandma is a leader in so many ways.  She is a leader in my family and in our parish.  She is a leader in my family because she has six children and as I mentioned twenty-five grandchildren.  As you can see, she is our role model. At every family party we have she always tells us how much she loves us.  She says prayers out loud in front of us telling God how lucky and blessed she is having all of us as her family. Meanwhile we are really blessed to have her! My Grandma is a leader in our parish because she always goes to mass.  Other people see her doing this so they think they should try it too. She is also a leader in our parish because she talks to everyone she meets. She is nice to everyone and truly listens to whatever they have say, including listening to their troubles or their successes.  My Grandma defines a leader as “someone who understands what the situation is, who is involved, and what needs to be done.” This statement sums up what a leader is. Leaders can handle the situation and knows what has to be accomplished. “I think everyone should try to do their best whether it is to be the leader or be the helper. But always lead when it is a choice between good or evil,” says my Grandma.  My Grandmother was a Catholic School teacher and teacher’s assistant for many years. She also served as a volunteer Reading Mom at SFdS in the 1970’s by pulling out struggling students so as to assist them. Education was a priority for her as she was attending school at night while raising her own children and instilling the value of a Catholic education in each and every one of them. 

      In conclusion, my Grandma is the person who I immediately think of when the words service and leadership are spoken.  She is a great example everywhere at any time. She will never let you down, like a good leader would do, and she will help anyone who needs it, just like a person with a great heart would do.  If you met my Grandma your life would definitely change. She is such a positive, caring person when all we hear about nowadays is sadness and fighting. I love her with all my heart and I wish the whole world could see what a great person she is.  Leadership….service…my Grandma.