“I’ll Do It” Spirit Cited At Advocate’s Memorial, Challenging Others To Serve Their Communities


(11-22-19) A close friend of long-time mental health advocate Betsy Greer urged those attending her memorial service yesterday to adopt Betsy’s “I’ll Do It” mantra.

I noted Betsy’s death and tireless efforts to improve the lives of those with mental illnesses, primarily through the National Alliance on Mental Illness, in an earlier blog. Acting NAMI CEO Angela Kimball and long-time NAMI advocate Bob Carolla spoke eloquently about their memories of Betsy. In addition to being honored by NAMI, a sign of her importance in her home state of Virginia was that Mira Signer, chief deputy commissioner of the state behavioral health department, was in attendance.

Betsy’s good friend, Rayna Aylward delivered a eulogy that should inspire all of us.


Rayna Aylward 11/21/19

     Betsy was an exceptionally smart and articulate person, and an accomplished writer and public speaker.   But the words I most remember from her are just three simple ones:     I’LL DO IT

    If there were something that needed to be done, or someone who needed to be helped, Betsy would say:  I’LL DO IT

    Betsy and I were longtime members of the Kol Ami congregation, but I didn’t really get to know her well until about two years ago, when I joined the Kol Ami Care & Concern Committee, which focuses on supporting members in times of need.  

     Betsy was a pillar of committee – one of the kindest, most caring and compassionate people I’d ever met.  She did have strong opinions about the right way to do things, and she could be a bit impatient with those who weren’t doing things the right way. But when someone needed help, she’d say:  I’LL DO IT

    Here’s one example…When I became chair of Care & Concern, I was expected to lead our committee’s efforts.  But the first time I was called on to organize a shiva, I was stymied by the logistics.  How was I supposed to get the meals prepared by various congregation members to the grieving family’s home before the sunset service?

    Betsy stepped up and said I’LL DO IT.  And she did it: she drove around collecting the food and delivered it before sunset, quietly, efficiently, lovingly.

    When Betsy became ill and it was her turn to be the receiver rather than giver of care, she remained kind and considerate.  When her friends would visit, she’d invite them to share the food and play a game of scrabble or read a book out loud.  Until the very end, she was a gracious host and a caring friend. 

    I think the best way to honor our beloved Betsy is to recall her words.  When we see someone in need or a wrong that needs to be made right, let’s say:

    I’LL DO IT.






About the author:

Pete Earley is the bestselling author of such books as The Hot House and Crazy. When he is not spending time with his family, he tours the globe advocating for mental health reform.

Learn more about Pete.