I knew of Leah through Thuy since they both lived in McNary Hall at Oregon State University. I’ll admit that I was jealous that they had a tight-knit group that got to experience new things together. I was just getting started learning ballroom dancing, but I had no other friends who did, so I went on my own. Thuy, Leah, and their other friends went together and benefited from exchanging notes and learning from one another. I knew that they would all grow quickly. And they did. They moved up into the performance team not long after. I wished I had been on the team the same year as them.
For one of the OSU dances, I volunteered to work the front desk to greet and take money alongside Leah. It was there we had a chance to talk. My first impressions where that she was very smart, grounded, and joyful.
It wasn’t until I graduated and starting dancing west coast swing in Portland when I got to know her better. I’d dance with her and we’d get to chatting off the dance floor. I remember talking about purchasing houses while the market was good as well as possibly going out salsa dancing.
When I decided to volunteer for the Portland Swing Dance Club as the president, I had the best team I could ever hope for. Leah was my go-to-person. Supremely responsible, innovative, supportive, and energetic, she helped the dances run smoothly and with a great spirit. Even when I became jaded in my second term in office, she always had a listening ear and encouraged me.
One of the duties of the president was to honor an outstanding volunteer in the club. A non-board member is strongly recommended, but I couldn’t nominate anyone with any less heart than Leah.
Beyond all that, Leah has stepped in for anything we needed and things we didn’t know we needed. She’ll cheer Jenni up with flowers, walk with Jenni once a week to catch up and exercise, and cook and clean when our kitchen is a catastrophe.
Leah is a gem of a friend that everyone should have. I truly believe she’s an angel who is humble enough to live amongst us humans. Leah shines a light wherever she goes, pours love into everything she does, and everyone is blessed to have shared even a moment with her.
But don’t show her a Christmas cartoon about Madagascar Penguins. You’ll cry laughing with her.