Joy and sorrow are inseparable. . .
together they come and when one sits alone with you . . .
remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

I use this quote because joy and sorrow often go hand in hand. Without sorrow you cannot appreciate or give joy. There are those who when confronted with tragedy close up or turn inward. There are those who when confronted with heartbreak fall to their knees never to rise. With the death of Walter and Edward, The Luedke Family experienced catastrophic tragedy and in those losses have eased the lives of so many. John Luedke got off his knees and chose to honor his brother’s memories by offering hope to those in need. Everyone knows about the more public things the WEL Foundation have done, an amphitheatre in Blooming Grove; a park for special needs children in Montgomery; a residence for Hospice in Orange County but it’s the stories that happen every day that make the WEL Foundation and John a integral part of our community.

These stories are just a few examples of the lives changed by the WEL Foundation. At Safe Homes we are honored to have been chosen by the WEL Foundation as a recipient of a grant. They provided a fence and a van for our shelter which in every sense of the word gives us all a feeling of security. It wasn’t just, here’s the money have a good day and move on to the next thing. It has been a constant sense of support working with John, Patti, Nancy Hastings and the Foundation. In trying to find an appropriate expression of thanks for all they do we looked for something unique and different. It’s hard to buy something to express gratitude. So with the gift for the WEL Foundation we thought about their work. Their work leaves a legacy or a memory. With that in mind, we chose a set of wind chimes because the sound carries on like the work you do, like the memories of your brothers. They remain in the air always near us but moving forward on the wind touching all those that hear them. We also chose a blanket or a throw, because like a blanket warms and comforts us, the work you do comforts others when they can’t get warm. We are honored you are here this evening and to, in some small way, recognize and pay tribute to you and the work you do in the name of Walter and Eddie.

Michele McKeon
Executive Director
Orange County Safe Homes Project, Inc


The Walter and Edward Luedke Foundation (WEL FOUNDATION) is a corporation pursuant to section 42 of the Not-For-Profit Corporation Law, State of New York. The WEL Foundation is a New York State approved 501(c)(3) Not-For-Profit Corporation. The Foundation was established to promote, further, and support selected charitable activities through grants, funding, and financial assistance to various individuals, institutions, and organizations.