EHDA names activity room after former staffer McQueen
Published 10:10 am Tuesday, July 21, 2015
The legacy of Vanessa McQueen will live on forever now that the Elizabethton Housing and Development Agency has named its activity room after her.
“We will never forget her,” EHDA Director Kelly Geagley said. “Every time we walk into this room from now on, we will be walking into the Vanessa McQueen Community Room.”
The agency hosted guests inside the Vanessa McQueen Community Room for a dedication ceremony Monday afternoon.
“If you knew Miss Vanessa, you know she always threw a great party,” Geagley said. “We want everyone to come in, watch the video, eat some food, socialize and talk about memories.”
McQueen worked at the EHDA for 25 years and for the past 13 years was the resident service manager.
“She was always the one in charge,” Geagley said. “We struggle without Vanessa, but we are pushing through.”
McQueen passed away in December of last year. She was battling ovarian cancer.
“It’s a bad situation when someone passes away, but we have come together to honor her properly,” Geagley said. “The employees and the commissioners decided that this would be the proper way to honor her.”
Paul Gabinet described McQueen as his “beloved.”
“We were a couple for 15 years,” Gabinet said. “She’s only been gone for 7 months.”
The relationships McQueen built up at work were comparable to family bonds.
“It’s amazing,” he said. “This group of people all love each other. Whenever we would go for Vanessa’s treatments and surgeries, they would always ask about support. She carried a photo of these people around with her. They all had on T-shirts that said Team Vanessa. All of these people were extremely important to Vanessa.”
Eddie Davis, McQueen’s brother, was inspired by his sister’s outlook on life, which he says she got from her father.
“Vanessa was high energy and extremely positive,” Davis said. “She always played the cards she was dealt without complaining.”
Davis and Geagley could not help but notice that McQueen always worked hard.
“She was either in the community room or running back and forth bringing things to the community room,” Geagley said.
“She loved her job,” Davis said.
The trait Davis said his sister would want to make sure the community knew about her was that she worked hard. She also loved to see people come together and have a great time.
“This is a great honor,” he said. “They are honoring her as being a hard worker. This is the highest honor any working person could be given.”
Once installed, a granite plaque will be on display outside the community room for guests to learn more about the woman it is named after.