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Committed to improving the lives of children in East Tennessee

September 8, 2011

Amanda Tillman

We all know people from our past who changed our life.

It’s the person who leaves an indelible impression on us, causing us to change our focus and accelerate toward an achievement or goal. Sometimes that impression is very specific. Other times, maybe he or she created an environment where we were comfortable and secure enough to pursue an interest.

Larry was one of those people, and he left an impression not only on the youth he helped, but also on those of us who worked with him.

East Tennessee recently lost a fierce advocate for children, Larry Plaisance.

A foster parent for teenage boys, Larry and his wife, Nancy, didn’t shy away from difficult youth. They embraced them, and provided a safe home for more than 30 youth during the past decade or so. Ironically, it was Larry’s cancer diagnosis that led to the family becoming foster parents. And in this time of grief, the family, including the three youth living in the home, has become closer.

Foster parents will tell you being a good foster parent isn’t easy. Foster youth remember the bad homes, but thrive in the good ones. And Nancy and Larry’s home was just that. It was a place where youth were comfortable being themselves, a place where the past didn’t matter, only the present and the future.

Larry and Nancy were committed to helping children. There was doubt whether Nancy would continue as a foster parent after

Larry’s death. But Nancy and her biological son are committed to continuing what was started years before.

Nancy told her youth, “When you’re family, you stick together.”

In that spirit, the legacy of Larry continues in this family and these youth, who pursue their future knowing first-hand the love, respect and commitment that one can give to another. And that giving can change lives.

Amanda Tillman
Director of East Tennessee

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