While mother of the year awards aren't uncommon, it was still a surprise when Dorothy Patrick received the honor.
She has no children.
But Patrick is called "Mom" by the hundreds of clients of the Momentum AIDS Project, which provides food, health education, clothing and pastoral care for HIV-infected people in New York City and surrounding areas.
Momentum also provides hugs — lots of them — from Patrick. For 12 years the single senior citizen has traveled by bus to project sites in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan to tend to the people she lovingly calls her children.
Since her retirement as an administrative secretary, the member of St. Peter Lutheran Church, New York, has increased her visits from weekends and evenings to include days as well, serving meals, handing out pantry bags and distributing clothes.
But she's best known for the special attention she gives clients. When Momentum heard that Live with Regis and Kathie Lee was honoring special women on a "Mom's Dream Come True" segment, clients were asked to write letters telling how Patrick has touched their lives.
"When days go bad, she represents all that is good in life," wrote Ken in his letter.
"When I was a new client, I was nervous, uncertain, scared," wrote Robert. "And then a nice woman with a calming voice approached me, smiled, hugged and kissed me. Her words of welcome put me at ease. She introduced herself as Mom!"
When asked what she'd most want for herself, Patrick always says she only wants more funding for her children.
But she secretly dreamed of traveling to Europe, particularly to see the cathedrals in Italy. Her dream came true as Live with Regis and Kathie Lee provided her with a trip — just as Momentum's dream came true when it found Patrick, everyone's mom.
For information about the Momentum AIDS project, call (212) 691-8100 or visit the Web site at: www.momentumaidsproject.org.
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers