In the fourth edition of She Gives we felt like we must address one of the “She Gives” pioneers in our community! Myrna Raffkind’s legacy of community service will remain in our community forever.
The passion that Myrna Raffkind held for helping others was illustrated in many ways during her lifetime. As an advocate for organizations such as Coalition for the Homeless, Martha’s Home, Los Barrios de Amarillo, Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coalition, and Family Support Services, Myrna educated the public about those in need and what could be done to alleviate those needs. She wrote numerous letters to the newspaper editor as a call to action for others to step up and make a difference.
At first glance, Myrna might not look the part of a super crusader. Small in stature, she was feisty and fun, beloved by scores of family and friends. Myrna enlisted the help of anyone who would listen as she worked tirelessly to help individuals and families who found themselves homeless due to addiction, mental illness, and domestic violence. She was humble and compassionate, treating everyone as her equal.
In recent years, as head of the Amarillo Community Relations Committee, Myrna brought together leaders from across the community to discuss issues facing Amarillo. Her goal was a community that worked together for the benefit of all residents.
Myrna was connected with many funds held at the Amarillo Area Foundation including the Benjamin Gimp Raffkind Memorial Scholarship Fund, established for her son who passed away in 1998. Myrna was a firm believer in the value of education, seeing it as key for success in life.
Celebrated as the Amarillo Globe-News Woman of the Year in 2010, Myrna also received the Dr. R. W. Jones Freedom Fund Achievement Award in 2011 from the Amarillo NAACP. Other honors include the Amarillo Women’s Network Lifetime Achievement Award and the National Association of Social Workers’ Public Citizen of the Year.
While Myrna was known for her ability to bring people together for a worthy cause, it is perhaps her ability to connect with others one-on-one that will be most remembered. She would often send a personal note or make a call to let someone know she was thinking of them. It is these personal connections to others that truly made Myrna special.
Myrna’s passing on January 30, 2017 caused many to pause and remember the many acts of kindness that she carried out daily. Myrna exemplified the Mahatma Gandhi quote “be the change you wish to see in the world” and leaves behind a challenge for others to do the same.