It Runs in the Family

August 3rd, 2018

Shaun Kelly, son of longtime DLC supporter Polly Keller, has followed in his mother’s footsteps in dedicating most of his adult life to serving the organization.

Polly Keller has devoted almost her entire adult life, nearly half a century, to the support of David Lawrence Center—as a volunteer, as an activist and advocate, as a fundraiser, and as a co-founder.

So when her son, Shaun Kelly, is asked if he even had a choice whether or not to follow in his mother’s footsteps, he laughs.

“Well, I have watched her give her life to DLC pretty much my whole life,” he says. “But I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t want to do it. I wanted to do it.”

By “it,” Kelly is referring to his own three decades faithfully serving DLC as a volunteer—on their Center board (including a couple of years as board president), on their Finance Committee, and as chair of the two supportive housing programs DLC sponsors.

Among his favorite memories of volunteering with DLC are the few years they held a marathon golf tournament fundraiser, back in the early 1990s. Participants would ask donors to sponsor them per hole played, and they would play as many holes as possible in 10 hours.

“Most of them thought we might get in 36, maybe 54 holes,” says Kelly, laughing. “But by the time our third marathon came around, in 1994 at the old South Hampton Golf Club, I played 228 holes. It was crazy out there. We’d hit the ball, drive the cart to it, jump out, hit without even thinking about it, drive to the next one, hit it again. Then, we’d run to the green and putt with whatever club we had in our hand at the time. It was just run and hit, run and hit, all day. There was one stretch where I played nine holes in like 18 minutes. It was a lot of fun.”

Kelly says he’s enjoyed every minute of working with DLC.

“My time spent helping David Lawrence Center has really been a family affair from way back,” he says. “We really need DLC in our community. Out of any two or three families here, someone has been helped by David Lawrence Center. If you’re at a social gathering, there’s probably three or four people who’ve needed their services.

“If you’ve ever got a mental health or substance abuse need, David Lawrence Center will be there for you. Hopefully you’ll never need it, but someday, someone in your family, or someone you know, will need it, and they’ll take care of you. They’ll get you on the right path to becoming functional and thriving again.”

CEO Scott Burgess calls Kelly “one of our most dedicated and amazing volunteers. He has served with us for decades, and he has been integral in our success. We celebrate his passion and support of our mission.”

Kelly is pretty aw-shucks humble about it.

“I just wanted to help out however I could,” he says. “But I haven’t done anywhere near what my mom has done.”

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