Tonight is a very special night. I'd like to speak about my daughter, Linda Daly.
Linda's Dad, Bob Daly and his wonderful wife, Carole, are proudly sitting here tonight to honor our awesome daughter.
I can remember vividly when Bob and I first met Linda in October, 1966 when she was eight months old. At the adoption home we were shown pictures of this absolutely breathtakingly beautiful child and then they brought her in--The minute we laid eyes on her, she took one look at us and turned beet red and began screaming her lungs out.
We settled her down, took her home, and that evening, we put her in her crib, her thumb frantically planted in her tiny mouth. The next morning, we looked over to see her standing in her crib just staring at us. She didn't cry, and within days, she never put that thumb back in her mouth ever again. She was home.
Each time she met someone new she would again turn beet red and scream bloody murder. When she greeted my Dad that way, who was a sweet, gentle, loving man, he simply said, "I like that, she's discerning." As everyone here in this room knows, that's a trait that she carries with her. There is no one more discerning than Linda Daly.
Linda was not an early talker. She took her time, observing everyone, taking it all in, getting it right--no baby talk for her-- and when she finally did speak, it was in sentences. As we all know, when Linda speaks she has something to say and she doesn't waste words. She used to ask me, when she was very young, why people sought her opinion. She just didn't realize that she is a wise person, an old soul, a rainbow child, someone whose opinion matters to others.
In my early days at Mac Laren Hall, Linda would sometimes come with us when we did our monthly good grooming day. We would watch her sit with one of the children, playing a game, and quietly engaging them in conversation. They trusted her.
Linda became a teacher and worked with children with learning disabilities. She taught art history to teenagers at the Help Group and she taught foster children at Mac Laren Hall. She became a foster mother to one of the teenage girls at Mac and her little boy. She worked with this young woman trying to teach her how to get the resources necessary to get a job and care for her child. Linda learned that once a teenager reaches a certain point, it is very difficult to get them to change. Especially without the resources UFC has developed since then. But that didn't mean she wouldn't try again.
Next thing I knew, Linda was running the volunteer program at her temple; Chairman of the Board of Caring for Children and Families with Aids; traveling to different parts of Africa on humanitarian missions; managing her Dad's Ranch, and parenting two incredible children.
I accompanied her on one of her missions, to Rwanda and Kenya. Watching her interact in her gentle, wise and quiet way, I felt safe just knowing I was with Linda. There are times when I don't know where she ends and I begin--or maybe it's the other way around.
When I became sick, she took on the job of ordering my life, working with Dick on a plan of action, communicating with my friends and family, bringing together her brothers, Bobby and Brian, and their fabulous wives, Krishna and Cindy, and even my grandchildren, Leo, Julianna and Quinn--never showing me her fear and overwhelming emotions as she reassured me all was being covered.
That is how it feels with Linda--she has everything covered. Whether it's raising funds, supporting a girls school in Africa, developing boards, managing a crisis, guiding her children, counseling her friends when they need her help--she just seems to have it covered.
A month ago, I asked Linda "are you sure you want me to introduce me at your dinner?" She said, "Mom, it's a once in a lifetime opportunity." And so it is, my darling daughter. I am so very proud of you. We are all proud of you. Congratulations on this incredibly well deserved honor. Ladies and Gentlemen: my daughter, the 2007 Brass Ring Award Honoree, Linda Daly