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November 10, 2015

Each year, the Cardinal Rigali Service Award is given by the Archdiocese to recognize a group of long-term employees and volunteers of the Archdiocese for outstanding work and contributions to their respective ministries. For the second year in a row, a Good Shepherd employee was among the recipients.

Denise Ward is a social worker within the Expectant Parent Program of Good Shepherd Children & Family Services. She has been with us for 10 years and, in many ways, Denise personifies the pro-life mission of our agency. She works with women who are pregnant and in crisis, developing a supportive, caring relationship through which she helps them to meet the challenges they face. She meets with clients in their homes, and many of our clients live in extreme poverty in some of the roughest neighborhoods in St. Louis. She treats all with gentle respect and dignity. Perhaps her clients say it best. Following are some quotes from client surveys:

“Denise was such an angel and kept me on track to work through all of my difficult decisions”

“My worker is very well appreciated and I feel very comfortable sharing any and all information with her. She makes me feel safe and ease stress that I never thought was possible. I feel stronger now as a parent now that I have joined Good Shepherd. Thank you Ms. Denise.”

“Ms. Denise is very supportive with decisions and problems that I bring to her. Helps me more than she can imagine! Very sweet lady! Good Shepherd has been a blessing to me.”

“Denise has been such an angel to me throughout the process. I’m so grateful”

“She is a tremendous blessing to the organization and the families she serves. This kind of care, professionalism and effectiveness is very rare these days…”

“My case worker, Denise Ward, was a Godsend to me, her patience, understanding, encouragement were remarkable.”

Denise Ward is a gifted social worker, but what makes her so special is her kindness and genuine concern for the clients she serves. She truly lives her faith and is a model of Christian love to all she encounters. Many who know Good Shepherd would not be surprised to learn that Denise’s boss, Teresa Hayner, was a recipient of the Cardinal Rigali award in 2013. It must run in the family and as we often say, it’s our people who make Good Shepherd so special.