Letter: Open Hearts Camp will cherish Heller's memory

To the editor:

As so many poignant memories have been shared reflecting on the life and legacy of our dear friend Phil Heller, we wanted to express our own and convey the depths to which Phil left his indelible mark on our niche summer program here in the Berkshires.

Over the span of 40 years, Phil actively participated on the board of directors and provided pro bono legal service for The Edward J. Madden Open Hearts Camp. Phil's legal acumen, intellectual gifts, colorful personality and level head served to enrich our program working with children with congenital issues of the heart.

While Phil helped to sustain our camp's healthy functioning in a constitutional way, it was particularly heartwarming to see his personal exchange with the children when he would come to visit throughout the years. He would share colorful stories, prompt the kids with comfortable questions about their life histories and spark many a laugh through warm

conversations with the children. Our gratitude for Phil's long volunteer service, prudent legal guidance and broad advocacy for these resilient children can not be overstated.

For those of you close to Phil, you will likely take comfort in seeing him in his essence, as he provided the structural story framework for our camp video taken just two years ago. As always, articulate, emotionally strong and lending a context of history, it is very special to see and hear Phil doing what he was well-known for — passionately supporting people and causes that would be fortunate beneficiaries of his authentic and sure-handed touch.

We will forever carry Phil's memory forward here at The Open Hearts Camp. The video can be viewed on our home page at openheartscamp.org.

David Zaleon,

Great Barrington

The writer is executive director of the Edward J. Madden Open Hearts Camp.


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