Prior to coming to Manchester Community College, Tracy Riehl was very involved with the ad litem program in New Hampshire, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). Members of this program actively advocate in court situations for a child whose family is in the midst of a crisis. It is not an exaggeration to say that Tracy has helped children in abuse, neglect, and other hurtful situations. CASA work goes on for a length of time, sometimes months but usually years. She continues this work even as she works to complete her Associates Degree.
This year Tracy became involved with a group of students working on supplying fresh water to rural communities in Ecuador. Two months ago she led a group of students to Ecuador to join with a Peace Corps volunteer to install life straws that now filter the water in five communities. She and her classmates have already begun work for the next trip. It is my honor to support her work and her leadership. While she did not actively seek to lead this group, she has not turned away from that role and is serving as an apt spokesperson for them. She is an inspiring person. I asked her to present about the Ecuador work to the board of trustees for the community college system. Her words inspired trustees to support the work of the group. Through a connection with the local Rotary organization, Tracy is leading the students in an application to Rotary International. To me, she has repeatedly demonstrated her ability to attract people and bring together a group that enjoys working together.
I have no doubt that Tracy will be a problem solver at the local and national level and realize her dream to support children who are in precarious circumstances.
Growing up, my parents actively nurtured in me a profound sense of compassion for others. I consistently witnessed small acts of kindness that left me with a sense of duty to do whatever I can from wherever I am to lighten the burdens of those in need. When the opportunity arose to become involved in the Manchester Community College Global Citizens Club and bring clean water to remote Ecuadorians, I was excited for the privilege. I served as Vice President and then President of our group as we organized fundraising activities and coordinated donations from individuals, businesses and the local rotary. Our recent journey to Ecuador ended in January, however our efforts to expand clean water opportunities have only just begun. Our group continues to work with local rotary clubs to facilitate the acquisition of substantial grant awards that will ultimately provide repairs to a critical reservoir that currently lays dormant. My commitment to this project is unwavering as I am deeply moved by memories of the incredible Ecuadorian people I met earlier this year and their right to have access to life sustaining clean water.