An Ode to Kristen Murray
I’m sure most people reading this are familiar with the famous line from Forrest Gump- “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.” Our Nightwatch family recently got a chocolate delivery that is truly bittersweet. Our beloved Downtown Program Director, Kristen Murray, happened upon an opportunity to pursue her dream of opening a bed and breakfast and has courageously ventured on to make her dream a reality this April. While we are ecstatic for what the future holds for her, we cannot deny that Nightwatch is losing a uniquely talented member of our family in the process.
Kristen began her faithful service with Operation Nightwatch as a volunteer in our medical room back in 2013. When Sean Meehan stepped down as our lead health care volunteer, Kristen did not hesitate to step up to the plate. It is without a doubt that our health room is the sustainable, thriving program it is today because of her years of hard work and selfless dedication. With her uncanny organizational skills, her sharp eye for cost-saving measures, and her ability to recruit volunteers with her irresistible charm, we are blessed with an exceptionally well-ran first-aid room- a legacy that will continue long after her departure.
We had the absolute pleasure of officially hiring Kristen as our Downtown Program Director in May of 2017, and for the past year she has excelled, providing the best hospitality Portland has to offer to our Downtown guests. Anyone who has seen her in action cannot deny that her motherly nature and no-nonsense attitude creates an atmosphere that truly does feel like home.
On a personal note, we as staff will truly miss what she has brought to our little family. Even on days when we were running on empty, when everything seemed too much, Kristen’s endless energy and love would bring us back to life. She is truly an unstoppable force of nature, and she will be greatly missed by staff, guests, and volunteers alike.
As sad as we are to watch her go, it’s hard not to be happy to see where she is heading. After 5 years at Nightwatch, she is moving on to open what will undoubtedly be the best bed and breakfast in the country. She has assured us she will stay in touch, and will stop by to visit often. Even though she may not be here to greet us at the door every night, a bit of her will certainly be here with us. Someone cannot give so much of herself to a community for so long, and not leave a bit of her spirit and love behind- she is an inextricable part of what Nightwatch has become, and for that we are grateful.
Happy trails, Kristen. We wish you all the best.