Vail Daily letter: Franciose for coroner
In late October 2009, Sue Franciose manned a wet tile saw in my backyard in the freezing, drizzling rain on several gloomy afternoons. Newly divorced after being married for almost 15 years, I found myself on my own with two young children, a tight budget, and one very old house. Sue, who had much experience rehabbing old houses, volunteered her expertise, labor and time. I vividly remembe her determination and self-sacrificing altruism, standing in the rain, using that wet tile saw, with her fingers cold and stiff. In the intervening years, I’ve seen Sue dedicate herself in service to others in myriad volunteer capacities. Whether it was fund-raising for the Girl Scouts and the Shaw Cancer Center, or just quietly helping a friend or acquaintance in need, Sue can be counted on to go the extra mile, every single time, and then some. She has an amazing tenacity of spirit, boundless energy, and solid, unwavering commitment to her community.
The current coroner has been quoted saying she didn’t want to increase a family’s distress by asking about organ and tissue donation. One of the first myths the Organ Donor Alliance trainers dispel is precisely what the current coroner said. My mother, now 71, enjoys an active, healthy life. Twenty years ago, she was the recipient of a vision-saving and life-altering cornea transplant. My mom can see because somebody had the courage and compassion to ask. During Donna Barnes’ 24-year legacy as coroner, I have personally seen her apply saline-moistened gauze to the eyes of the recently deceased to preserve the corneas.
Nobody wants to meet the coroner. Ever. But for a moment, consider this: What if it’s you? What if you do have to meet the coroner, on the worst day of your life? What if you had questions, or needed timely follow-up? On the worst day of your life, who do you want to meet?
Would you prefer to meet someone who will show up, stand up, stick up, and speak up for you? Who do you want on your side, if you find yourself suddenly alone, scared and completely unsure of what happens next? I’d say somebody like Sue Franciose, who stood in the cold, cutting tile for someone she vaguely knew. The fact that somebody cared to give so much has resonated deeply within me since that time. Sue truly cares about people, and believes deep in her heart that she has been put on this earth to help anyone who needs it. She has accepted the challenge to raise the level of accountability, transparency, honesty and community outreach of the coroner’s office. She works hard, asks smart questions, keeps promises, and, most importantly, exudes true compassion through her words and actions. She has sacrificed a great deal of personal time, family time, peace of mind and general ease of life to run for the coroner’s office.
Give Sue Franciose the opportunity to be best person I hope you never, ever meet.