March 12, 2022 was a cold and snowy Saturday. We laughed, knowing that Nancy Woods would have been glad if the bad weather kept the attendance down at the Gazebo dedication taking place that day in Demarest. As Executive Director Kate Duggan pointed out that afternoon, “Nancy hated the spotlight and being fussed over.”
Of course, despite the weather, the crowd came out for Nancy!
The large Woods family, along with countless friends from Family Promise and elsewhere, were there to honor Nancy. It was so cold and windy that the ceremony had to be moved inside to the Ambulance Corps building. But the dedication went on, and the gazebo in the center of the town of Demarest, where Nancy raised her family, has been deservedly renamed The Nancy Woods Memorial Peace Site Gazebo. We learned that day that Nancy was instrumental in having the gazebo first built back in 1986.
In her remarks, Kate reminded us that even more than the spotlight, Nancy hated injustice of any kind. She fought against it her entire life. She felt responsibility to those who did not enjoy the same blessings that many of us take for granted. “This fueled her passion for politics and social justice”, Kate said. Son Andrew said “Mom was woke before WOKE was a thing.”
Nancy brought her passion to the poor, the homeless, and the hungry. “Few people dedicate their lives, indeed their entire beings, to a cause the way Nancy did. But is for her simple acts of kindness that I will remember Nancy, It is so fitting that this gazebo named for peace is accessible to and enjoyed by all.”
Kate concluded “I want to thank you for every hungry person you ever fed, every child you bent down to listen to, every homeless parent you guided and treated with dignity, and for all of us whom you taught to use our voices and our privilege to speak for those who have neither….there is no better time to dedicate this structure as the Nancy Woods Memorial Peace Site Gazebo and no one more deserving of this honor.”
Now that spring has finally arrived, stop by the Gazebo at the Demarest Duck Pond anytime! It is a peaceful spot to sit, reflect, and remember our dear friend and founder Nancy Woods – a true warrior for peace and social justice around the world.