The spirit of Safe Passage’s founder, Hanley Denning, will carry though the lives she touched

As I was nearing completion of this essay on my work with Safe Passage, I was shocked, and deeply saddened, by the tragic death of its visionary founder, Hanley Denning, from a motor vehicle accident in Guatemala.

In reflection, I see my every past encounter with Hanley – hear every word spoken and understand every thought raised – in a new way, and with so much significance. I feel blessed and privileged to have met Hanley in Guatemala, and to have shared a small part of her selfless and compassionate world.

As was displayed during her memorial service in Yarmouth, Hanley wanted to have others see through her eyes. I am so fortunate to have done so. The people of Guatemala called her the “Angel of the Dump” and I think it’s because she saw beauty, potential, and good in everyone: a true angel of hope.

Hanley cared about all the children of Safe Passage as if they were her own. Seeing the photographs of the children of Safe Passage, crying in despair, let the world know that they too, deeply cared about her.

The people of Safe Passage, and its volunteers worldwide, will keep it on track with its mission now, more than ever. Hanley’s dream will continue, and her compassion, and guidance will carry through the lives that she touched.

When others see through Hanley’s eyes, I know her vision for Safe Passage will continue.

As we left Hanley’s memorial service, my nine-year-old daughter Emma opened a red foil wrapper from one of the chocolates left for the attendees. (Hanley loved chocolates.) The words on the inside of the wrapper were eagerly communicated to me as we walked away: “See How Much Love Your Heart Can Hold.”

Emma and I looked at each other in wonderment, and I then knew for certain that Hanley’s good will keep going!

How to help

Donations in Hanley Denning’s memory can be made to:

Safe Passage

Sustainability Fund

PO Box 663

Yarmouth, Maine 04096

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.