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CASA remembers Jerry Taylor with gratitude

The CASA Board of Directors and staff would like to pay tribute by recognizing the recent passing of Jerry Taylor, who served as a mentor and benefactor to CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children).

In 2017, the board reached out to Jerry and Jeannie Taylor to ask if they would serve as honorary chairs of our Give a Child Hope! Campaign. We were blessed when they agreed. Their dedicated support helped secure and purchase a larger building with room to grow, and also helped children in our community experience hope as we were able to recruit and train additional staff and volunteers.

Jerry and Jeannie opened their home and their hearts to CASA and the children and families for whom we advocate. They have been known to embrace and become part of projects in which they believe. Learning of the loss of Jerry this past week has affected all of us deeply.

Jerry’s footsteps will always echo in the hallways of CASA, as we remember his many visits, walking through our office while learning, seeing, asking about our program. During one visit, he stopped at the white board in the case supervisor’s area, where stats are updated daily. He asked questions, wanting to know what the numbers, percentages and facts meant. If there were truly 430 children on the waiting list, what did we need to do to change that?

We did indeed change that, with our current wait list at 178. Jerry was invested not only with his heart, but with his expertise in numbers and strong ability to lead.

Attending an “I Am For the Child” fundraising luncheon in 2019, Jerry was moved to tears by the story of a 6-month-old CASA child, who had been delivered to foster parents at 2 a.m., in a car seat, wearing only a dirty diaper. The morning of that luncheon, the child, then 2, was legally adopted by her foster parents and proudly pronounced her new last name up on the stage to the joy and celebration of the audience. Jerry commented on that beautiful moment at the end of the luncheon, then called hours later and doubled their personal donation.

Jerry and Jeannie have always been a foundation of support in this community. We cannot express how honored we are at CASA to have had the opportunity to know Jerry, to have him share his vision with us and to be such an intricate part of our mission. Thank you Jerry, for helping to build a supportive, well-lighted path for children in our community. You will always be remembered.

Jennifer Mylenek is executive director of Court Appointed Special Advocates of Jackson and Josephine Counties. She wrote this on behalf of the CASA Board of Directors.