A Message from Stephanie Hamlett, Executive Director
A Message from Stephanie Hamlett, Executive Director

In light of the recent and unprecedented events, I have noticed (or maybe just paid attention for a change) what I find to be acts of random kindness. And I wanted to share one or two as introduction to a newsletter that will hopefully provide some information that will help you in the following months.

One notable act of kindness came from someone helping a couple members of my family and persons like them similarly situated. I have two family members employed in the restaurant business. It is no great surprise that there are great struggles for restaurants and their employees. A very kind woman, Lisa Garber, is an insurance broker that has helped the restaurant where my family members work(ed) with insurance needs. But she was also quick to begin helping these young people maneuver the Health Insurance Marketplace and other options as jobs, and with them benefits, disappeared.

But the idea to create a special newsletter came to me when my mother called to tell me that Joe Bergeron (VRA's Financial Services Manager) had emailed her (he had her email from a prior hand off of some dog gear) to offer to grocery shop for her since they live in the same neighborhood. Trust me, my mother has me doing that shopping but the offer lifted her spirits far more than the food I was bringing!

Two small gestures with huge and uplifting consequences. So this newsletter is a small gesture but those of us at VRA hope that our agency partners and local government constituencies and all our friends and consultants will find something helpful in this newsletter.

VRA's mission is to work hard as an advocate for Virginia's communities - and we remain committed to doing that in every possible way moving forward. VRA will always make every effort to help when we can and otherwise to help you find what you need in the event that VRA is not the governmental entity that can provide the assistance needed.

Mostly, VRA is mindful that behind all the municipal finance in which we are involved, there are people, communities and families each of whom are facing struggles in these very hard times. We are with you.

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