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.