Monday, January 8, 2024


                           Connie Hanson                                                                   Cindy Pohlman

When Erin asked me to write a few memories of Connie and Cindy, I initially had a hard time coming
up with specific things that would show how devoted these two women were to the mission of the

It would probably help to write about how LeRoy and I became involved in the first
place. LeRoy has always been the type of person who likes to be involved in helping others. When
he was asked to serve on the Lighthouse Board, he immediately said yes. I was still working full
time, but when I retired, I joined him on the Board. 

It was at this time that I first met Connie and Cindy. I was immediately impressed by their sincerity and total commitment to the mission of the Lighthouse to provide aide and assistance to the homeless and near homeless here in Rusk County.

It is hard to separate the two as they were so much of like mind in their compassion for the those
who found themselves in need of our help. No problem or situation was too big or too difficult for
them to take on. Connie was a remarkable person in her devotion to the Lighthouse. I know that
she spent hours of her own time in seeking funding, and in trying to raise awareness among the
local businesses and citizens. She would readily accept the opportunity to speak to any group,
at any time, about our mission and the tremendous need for our program. Cindy was always
involved in whatever job needed to be done, from creating a Facebook page to coming up with
handouts and flyers to carry our message.

When Connie’s health began to deteriorate, Cindy stepped up to take on some of the duties that Connie could no longer do. When Connie and the board made the decision for her step down as the Executive Director but continue to write grants, Cindy chose to interview for the position, and the Lighthouse Board hired her. She worked tirelessly for over a year to learn the ins and outs of the day-to-day operations, the requirements, and reports needed to continue receiving several of the grants that we rely on to keep us running. 

Sadly, Connie’s health continued to deteriorate to the point where she was no longer able to be very much help to Cindy, who continued to work tirelessly to make sure that we could keep our program
running. Things were finally starting to come together, when Connie passed away. Little did we
know that we would also lose Cindy within just a few days. 

I am crying as I type this as I still can’t believe that two such remarkable women are gone. But I am also feeling confident and somewhat in awe at the legacy they left behind. There are hundreds of people that have been helped by their kindness and commitment to the Lighthouse Homeless Shelter. LeRoy and I are proud to have worked with them both and know that they laid a strong foundation for us to stand on as we begin this new chapter. 

I am excited for what the future holds as I know that we have a new Executive
Director in Erin Webster who will use that foundation to take us to new and successful places that
will continue to help those in need. 

Connie and Cindy will be missed. But I know that they are with us in spirit, and we are grateful for all that they did for the Lighthouse. Rest in Peace Connie and Cindy! 

Judy and LeRoy Opsal

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