- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
For many who ever had heard of LifeStyles of Maryland in La Plata, most of them knew Dana Harty.
As the program director and working with LifeStyles since May 2006, he had become an asset to the organization and the community it served.
He coordinated the Safe Nights program for the past four years, from working with homeless residents who needed emergency shelter, to communicating with host sites for the program, to volunteer recruitment.
He was known for his warm smile, his humor and his fairness toward clients.
Dana passed away unexpectedly April 4, and his death can be felt throughout the community.
He was known from the White House to the homeless tent cities. As the doors of the office opened that Thursday, many of the clients whom he had assisted over the years called or stopped by to pay their respects, many in disbelief. His respect for the clients was reciprocated by the respect he received from the community. His humorous spirit was always helpful when he was assisting clients who were on the verge of being evicted, to handling disputes between clients and to communicating with other agencies to assist clients. He was a joy to be with and to be around.
LifeStyles is a human services agency that was founded in 1998 to meet the needs of our community, with everything from food, clothing, financial assistance, transportation and other gap-filling needs.
Dana understood the philosophy of the organization, which was providing service through service. On many occasions, he was known to give up a weekend, or an evening, to ensure the needs of clients were met, even if it meant making sure clients had furniture available when they moved in, or keeping the office door open so that people could receive food or help after hours. He was a kindhearted person who forever will be missed.
He epitomized what it meant to give of oneself for the sake of others. As in everything, God only makes one of a kind. While we can never replace him, we can, however, always look to him as an example of service and caring. Please know that LifeStyles grieves for his family, our loss and the loss to our community. We will never forget our fallen colleague.
Sandy O. Washington, La Plata
The writer is the executive director of LifeStyles of Maryland Foundation.