Deirdre Ryan has been a VIP volunteer for over a decade including attending a trip to Malawi in 2011. Her years of volunteering have been spent serving on numerous committees, helping to organize events, and writing Thank You letters. Whether you know Deirdre personally or not, many of you have received one of her renowned Thank You letters. For years VIP staff have heard praise from recipients of her letters raving about how touched they were to receive a personal, handwritten Thank You note. If you have ever been the recipient of one of her letters then you know how truly touching each one is. She puts thought into personalizing every note to highlight how important each recipient is to VIP.
What is just as touching as her letters, is the story behind how she became a volunteer Thank You writer. Deidre writes all of her Thank You letters at a desk that was once her father’s and was built by her grandfather. After her father passed away in 2003, she had the desk shipped from England to the U.S. When asked about her father Deirdre said “My Father was a great person, a soldier who fought in France and Germany throughout the Second World War and liberated Bergen Belsen concentration camp, he loved God and his fellow mankind”.
With her fondness for her father in mind, she decided the desk would be a perfect place to keep all of her VIP Thank You items. She expressed that her father would be so happy to know his desk was being used in such a meaningful way.
Deirdre’s process for writing Thank You notes is heartwarming. She first sits at her father’s desk and prays before she starts her writing. She admitted that she never writes more than seven letters a day. This way each letter keeps its personal touch. She has also kept a template of every Thank you note that she’s written at the desk.
The desk will always be a reminder of her father, but it also symbolizes the meaningful relationships that are made, and the lives that are touched with the help of volunteers like Deirdre. A desk that keeps her connected with her father, has helped her connect with and touch so many lives among our VIP family. To the VIP family, Deidre and her Thank You letters have become a symbol of gratitude. She represents how every person’s contributions are helping to build God’s kingdom among our brothers and sisters in Malawi as long as we have never-ending hope.