This April at the 2022 World Service Conference (WSC) meeting in New York, an exceptional trusted servant in national and international Al‑Anon service, Marsha W., will stand for the last time at the microphone as a World Service Office (WSO) Staff member. It will be a wonderful opportunity for us all to thank her for her extraordinary service as she retires and begins the next chapter of her life.
Marsha has been a Staff member with the WSO in Virginia Beach since 1996. For many years, she held the vital role of Associate Director—International, serving emerging and established Al‑Anon Structures globally. As trusted servants from countries far and wide have shared frequently with me, in that capacity, Marsha forged relationships through which members could expand their connections with each other and the WSO. She helped strengthen their knowledge of the principles of the program, which guided their adventures growing groups into Structures and Structures into General Service Offices.
My understanding is that the position delivered more than a few adventures for Marsha as well. She tells a nerve-racking tale about crossing an armed border in the dark of night with a WSO Volunteer to reach the waiting group of international Al‑Anon members. Oh my!
When the office reorganized in 2016 and a new Director of Programs position was created, Marsha was a natural fit. In that role, Marsha provided her incredible wisdom not only to Department Staff but also to this newly hired Executive Director. In meetings, Marsha was considerate in her contemplation of policy, member, and operational questions, consistently offering a perspective that was compassionate toward all whom we serve and support.
The WSO Staff and Volunteers, along with many, many members around the world, are going to miss Marsha’s laughter and kindness in the office, at Area and international events, and at Conference. Yet, we know we won’t have to go far to find her as she resumes her role as a member, one among many in the circle.
By Vali F., Executive Director
The Forum, April 2022
Feel free to reprint this article on your service arm website or newsletter, along with this credit line: Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.
We met at the IAGSM (Essen, Germany) and next in Poland. Big Hug for you.
Thank you for your dedicated service and words do not hesitate to write for help. Very happy retirement. Betty
Big hug for you
I enjoyed my time meeting you in Finland at the IAGSM and the WSC at Virginia Beach and with your help over email
Thank you for all your service to our fellowship
I wish you a serene time ahead
Love Rose S from New Zealand
Thank you for being there for friends and families of alcoholics. Enjoy your retirement!
Thank you Marsha for all your years of service. I always remember your warmth and humor. Memories of being with you at WSC and New York are some of my fondest.
Hi Marsha, you have touched so many people in our country, you visits and invaluable assistance when we hosted IAGSM in Cape Town South Africa, will never be forgotten. I have laughed and cried with you and you were always warm, kind and willing to share your vast knowledge of our beloved program with us all. I wish you the best in your “new” life and please know you will be with us always we carry you in our heart. Sending you our heartfelt gratitude and love for your service. Love, Gillian x
Thank you for your 25 years of dedicated service. So happy to read this tribute to you and all your work for Al-Anon and its many members.
Hi Marsha as I entered into the wonderful world of service here in New Zealand you were (our) my contact for the IAGSM. You guided me as I again took on another “shoe size” attending an International event where of course all my fears and doubts rose to the surface. Your calm manner and availability to me (all of us) made the transition easy. Fortunately I had the opportunity to work with you on several more international occasions, thanks for your service.
Marsha, Thank you for all your years of service. I met you when I was Delegate, Panel 54 Nebraska. You have always been a pleasure to be around and willing to share your knowledge. I am grateful for all you have done to be a great example of our wonderful program. May God Bless you on your new journey. Many thanks! Jan R.
How blessed are we to have had you among us! Thank you so much for your service and for being a positive example for the rest of us. IL North appreciates your visits to our assemblies. I am personally glad to have met you, served with you, hugged and loved you! Enjoy your retirement. You deserve it! Keep in touch. Much love!
Congrats on your retirement! I hope you are coming home to Roanoke.
Marsha, Thank you for your 25 years of dedicated service in the world office. Congratulations on your retirement!! 🎉
Hi Marsha, you have touched so many people, including myself, with your warmth and kindness and willingness to share your vast knowledge of our beloved program with us all. I wish you the best in your “new” life and please know you will be with us always. 💖
You have served with MN South area in hosting Al-Anon/Alateen meetings at the 2000 AA International Convention here in Minneapolis. You shared your wisdom, experience, strength and hope which I appreciated. You had many tips in dealing with new experiences of that convention for our committee.
Best wishes in your retirement. Thank you for sharing so many years of your life with Al-Anon Family Groups. You are loved.
Mariellyn K., Panel 34 MN South Area
You are an incredible woman and have been a inspiration to me in my service. Thanks for your life, love and support!
Thank you, Marsha, for your love and dedication to Al-Anon/Alateen. Many wonderful wishes in this new retirement phase of your life.
We first met on the phone when you called me about being on a panel at the 2013 International Convention. I got to meet you in person at the 57th WSC. I will never forget your beautiful smile.
Area 16 IL South
Thank you, Vali for your heart-felt, loving words regarding all Marsha has brought to the WSO and more even more importantly, all the spirituality, compassion, and thoughtfulness Marsha so abundantly shares with us. We have been so blessed by her presence all these many years and I wish her continued joy and love as she enters her next journey.
Best Wishes Marsha from a Roanoke, Va member who remembers you when you attended meetings here (1995-96). We’ve missed you all this time, but know you have made an important contribution to WSO.
Marsha, thank you for a fabulous job over the years. It was my pleasure to meet you on zoom when I first joined the Forum committee.
Hi Marsha, thank you for your friendship and service to the WW fellowship.Thank you for your guidance in South Africa. We love you ❤