As we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of CRF this year, there is one person who has been a part of it all. No one has worked for Christian Relief Fund longer than Karen Talley. She has quite simply given her life to the mission of CRF. And now Karen has decided to retire after working at CRF for forty years! We are sad about this but are excited for her to enjoy her retirement.

If you didn’t know, the founder of Christian Relief Fund, Baxter Loe, was Karen’s father.  As a result, she worked at CRF before she worked at CRF.  Baxter brought Karen to the office to write thank you notes many years before she was ever an employee. When she became CRF’s first employee, Karen was given the time-consuming and tedious job of addressograph operator. She had to hand-type all of the sponsors’ addresses on metal plates which were then used for mailing purposes.  She’s done just about every other job at CRF since then.

Now Karen is the director of our sponsorship programs in India, Uganda, Haiti, Liberia, Ethiopia and Nigeria. She has a special affection and interest in our ministry in India since that is where her dad started Christian Relief Fund.

When I think of Karen, I see her sitting in her office working on her computer connecting children with sponsors. And I see a little poster that she had beside her on her wall. It said “One More Child.” That explains the life of Karen Talley. She has given her life to helping one more child who was orphaned, hungry, abandoned, sick, or lonely.

Everyone’s “big smile memory” of Karen is when she went to Haiti with a bunch of Ole Miss students. She was going to check on her ministry in Benjamin. To get there, she had to cross a big river in a truck. But the truck couldn’t make it. As a result, Karen had to jump into the river and cross it by foot. She not only had to ford the river, but she also had to carry her suitcase and then hike up a big hill to get to Benjamin. But that’s Karen. She was going to get to where she needed to be if it meant helping a child.

We will miss Karen’s hard work, leadership, and devotion. No one has served CRF more than Karen. We are thankful for her husband, Pete, and for all of Karen’s family. They have been the backbone of the compassion of CRF. As we celebrate our 50th anniversary, there’s no better place to start than being grateful for Karen Talley. Karen’s story of the past 50 years will live on as our legacy for the next 50 years.