Laning leaves a true legacy at Generations

WHEN THOMAS JEFFERSON ARRIVED in Paris, France, in the summer of 1784 to take over from Benjamin Franklin as minister from the new United States, the French Foreign Minister Count de Vergennes said to him, “You replace Monsieur Franklin, I hear.”

Jefferson famously replied, “I succeed him. No man can replace him.”

That quotation comes to mind with the announcement by Plymouth Intergenerational Coalition Executive Director Martha Laning last week that she is resigning her position.

The Plymouth Intergenerational Coalition will choose a new executive director to succeed Laning, but no one will be able to replace her or, more importantly, replicate what she accomplished.

When Laning came on board with PIC four years ago, the Generations center was still a dream – one that had remained unfulfilled for more than a decade.

Laning took charge of the project and, in less than two years, with the support of the community and many, many people, had pulled together enough money to break ground on the center.

But that’s only half the story. When the Generations center opened for business in May 2011, it was Laning as executive director who made this one-of-a-kind vision of services for and across all generations work.

It was a new concept, housing child care, a senior center and programs covering the ages in between all in one building, with the goal of fostering interactions between the groups and ages to the benefit of all involved.

It was a monumental challenge to make that vision a reality, but Laning proved herself up to the challenge and succeeded at it beyond expectations.

Thanks to her – and the many dedicated employees, volunteers and supporters of the center – Generations has become an example that many more will be striving to accomplish and match.

The center is thriving thanks in large part to the dedication and direction Laning provided.

Now Laning is stepping down – reluctantly – due to the press of personal and family obligations.

As she explained it, “Things happen in life and you have to move on. I didn’t have any good choices of what to let go.”

The Generations center will go on and continue to flourish, thanks to the foundation and the groundwork that Laning let down.

Someone will succeed her, and they – and Generations – will succeed because of the path Laning blazed.

But no one will replace or replicate her accomplishment of making a visionary dream a complete and real success.

At issue:
PIC executive director resigning
Bottom line:
A tough act to follow

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