2011 Women of Inspiration: Jerilyn Brusseau
The Seattle Storm is proud to announce our 2011 Women of Inspiration presented by Moss Adams LLP. As part of our commitment to the community and to inspiring women, four exceptional leaders with remarkable stories and achievements, have been selected to be honored at the Storm game on Aug. 5, 2011. Find out more about Jerilyn Brusseau, the founder of PeaceTrees Vietnam and one of this year's honorees.
When faced with unspeakable loss, Jerilyn Brusseau turned anger and grief into hope and healing. Inspired by the loss of her brother in the Vietnam war, Brusseau is the founder of PeaceTrees Vietnam, a project that promotes friendship and healing with the people and the land of Vietnam. PeaceTrees removes landmines left from the war, builds homes and provides medical treatment for the people of Vietnam. Thanks to Brusseau’s tireless work, almost 50,000 landmines have been cleared so far.
What was your reaction when you heard you were selected as a 2011 Woman of Inspiration by the Storm?
When Karen (Bryant) called to tell me the good news, I was deeply moved. In fact, I think I stopped breathing for a moment to take it in. The Storm is reaching out their arms to embrace the work of healing and building bridges in the community and the world. What an honor ... after working 16 years in a remote province of Vietnam, to be invited to tell the story in a new way in our own hometown. I was moved to tears and called Mari immediately. She was so excited to think this all through as she said, 'The Storm is acknowledging my Mom for PeaceTrees work in Vietnam ... and my friend Karen Bryant calling her to tell her about it. Wow!'
What does it mean to you to be named a Woman of Inspiration?
To be named a Woman of Inspiration by an organization with the Storm's national, global, cultural, community reach is a tremendous honor. The Storm's embrace of our humanitarian work in Vietnam is deeply meaningful to us, and acknowledges the power of grass-roots bridge-building to strengthen relationships between former adversaries, within the community and between nations.
This award underscores the possibility that ordinary people can transform the ravages of war into strong relationships of trust and understanding, and work together to heal the land, to build community and to plant futures of healing and vitality.
What motivates/drives you to be your best?
What motivates me to be my best, what gets me up in the morning, is the possibility of healing what seems the most impossible to heal, to be of service in building community spirit at home and around the world and to carry a vision for service far greater than self.
Who has inspired or does inspire you?
Who: Anne Stadler, Wangaari Mathai, Karen Brusseau, Karl Marlantes, Queen Noor, my mother Rae Cheney, Eleanor Roosevelt, Muffy Davis, Dr. Gary Lagerloef
What inspires me: Imagination, tenacity, thinking outside the box and Sir Winston Churchill's quote: 'Never, never, never give up.'