In Tribute: Tonya Hottenstein, SWAN Helpline Lead Coordinator
The SWAN Prime Contractor is profoundly saddened by the death of SWAN Helpline Lead Coordinator Tonya Hottenstein, who passed away on September 12 in Hershey, Pennsylvania. A 20-year employee of the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit, Tonya’s impact on adoptive families was widespread and fueled by her passion for serving others, her personal advocacy on behalf of woman and children, and her deep reserve of love and caring for SWAN Helpline callers and colleagues.
Tonya joined the SWAN Helpline in 2005. In assuming the role of coordinator in 2012, she promised her predecessor that she would ensure the work of the SWAN Helpline would continue in its success and growth. She kept her promise. Tonya had a wealth of knowledge and experience wrapped around a sincere passion for helping Pennsylvania families establish permanency for waiting children. As SWAN Helpline specialists recall, “She set an example for us to go above and beyond to fulfill our mission. She was truly a passionate, caring and dedicated person.” Jan Scherer, SWAN Helpline specialist, has been designated interim SWAN Helpline lead coordinator.
As a colleague, Tonya had a knack for making prime contract staff feel special and supported. Kind and gentle, she shared genuine compliments, was a rock during rough times, and embodied service to others. Those qualities extended to the network, her family, and everyone with whom Tonya interacted.
“Tonya was truly humble,” said Practice Standards Manager Pam Wagner, “Not in the sense that she thought less of herself, but that she thought of herself less.” She will be deeply missed by her staff, the prime contractor agencies, and the entire permanency community.