Tribute to the Founder of Hands of a Friend
(Manos Amigas) Inc.
Patricia (Patti) Anne (Pavao) O’Berry
1944 - 2019
Patti grew up poor and under domestic violence circumstances. However, the term ‘domestic violence’ didn’t exist at that time, but you knew it when you saw it.
From her early traumatizing childhood experiences came two positives; 1) She established an enduring relationship with God at the age of 7 sitting outside a church window in her ragged clothes and dirty feet listening to inspirational gospel music; and 2) She had a photographic memory of things and events that were important in her life. Notwithstanding, she continued to live in domestic violence for the first half of her life.
She was very proud of her Portuguese heritage. The Portuguese are known as the ‘smiling people’ and if you were to ever encounter Patti you were most likely greeted with a warm and heartfelt smile that brought joy to your soul. You would have never known from her countenance that domestic violence lurked in her background because she had a glass three-quarters full type personality. But she had a keen sense in recognizing it in other women and had an internal longing to reach out to those oppressed souls.
On July 4th 2005 she had a vision of creating a domestic violence foundation that included a domestic violence shelter. She intuitively knew this project was going to be expensive so she first opened DaZee’s on November 24, 2006 the day after Thanksgiving. But there was a secondary purpose. She knew that women fleeing from domestic violence would need nicer clothes for unavoidable and eventual court hearings to defend their interests and for job interviews.
And through another Godly intervention Genesis House opened on December 2, 2007 through the kind generosity of Jim and Evelyn Olson.
She helped women of all ages from Chile to the United Kingdom. Her rewards on this side of Heaven were letters, cards & phone calls she received especially around Mother’s Day and Thanksgiving. She was a woman of immense talents. The difference between her and others is that she used every one of them. She had the mind of a lawyer; the talent & charm to be an actress; she wrote beautiful poetry; the creativity of a fine artist; and the natural instincts of an exceptional business executive. Money was never a motive for her except to the extent it might make someone’s life a little better or an improvement to the foundation. Her last working day at the foundation was 30 September 2019, sixteen days before her passing.
She never took a dime in salary in all those years.
It was her prayer that the community would continue to support its mission as voraciously as they have since its inception.
To God be the glory.