The Star Thrower
Family of Cindy Worrell, P ’14 honors her life of service
Whenever Geoff Worrell, P ’14 talks about his wife, Cindy, P ’14, the conversation always circles back to this: She spent her whole life giving back.
Right out of college, Cindy taught GED and life-skills classes. She went on to help people buy homes as a mortgage broker, while raising three children and sharing her knowledge and time at schools, church, industry trade groups and more.
The sharing often involved stories. In Cindy’s favorite, a man walks among thousands of starfish stranded on a hot beach, tossing each one back into the ocean. A boy asks why he bothers, knowing he’ll never make a difference for all the creatures. Throwing another into the sea, the man replies, “It made a difference for that one.”
Cindy would often send that story, with a starfish, to people she met.
The Worrells lost Cindy to cancer in 2016. And Geoff and the family — children Lindsay, Ashley ’14 and Geoff, MBA ’14, and daughter-in-law C. White ’01 — were determined to honor her memory by sending one more starfish into the world.
Bonding With Bentley
When Cindy was fighting cancer, she lit up whenever a therapy dog was on her hospital floor, and longed to be home with her golden retriever, Kona. So, earlier this year, the family reached out to NEADS World Class Service Dogs to sponsor an 8-week-old puppy in Cindy’s honor.
Says Geoff: “We named him Bentley because the university has meant so much to us.”
Today, the yellow Lab joins his owner, Mansfield Police Detective Ken Wright, on visits to the town’s public schools. At Wright's gentle command — “visit” — Bentley places a soft, fluffy head in the child's waiting lap. Bonding with the pup helps youngsters de-stress and stay calm, raising spirits schoolwide.
In June 2019, the Worrells were on campus to meet Bentley for the first time. He sat calmly by Wright as the family came down the library steps —Kona, too. Hugging, petting, sniffing and smiles ensued.
“Everyone was so incredibly excited, as they saw a piece of Mom in Bentley’s eyes,” says Geoff. “Cindy is beaming in heaven now.”