On Friday, July 23, 2010 the City of Minneapolis declared Lorraine Teel Day in honor of her twenty year tenure as the Executive Director of the Minnesota AIDS Project. Board, Staff (both former and current), friends and family were present on the grounds of MAP to surprise her with the proclamation. Billed as Lorraine the Teel 20th Anniversary Celebration, the activities included a brief program followed by the second-ever MAP croquet invitational. The crowd mixed and mingled on a delightful summer afternoon to bask in Teel’s 20-year story of success. Regaling guests with memories of her time at MAP, Teel told a story about her first AIDS Walk after-party. Walking up the stairs to the party, she was surprised to be a tall beauty in a red dress with shoes to match. Unbeknownst to Teel, it was then-board member and well-known AIDS community activist Dick Voss. Teel remembers telling him “I don’t know who you are – but clearly, I need you as my fashion consultant!”
Teel’s advocacy skills have not dulled over the decades – based on a conversation with a recent former staff member of the agency, it may have become sharper! The former employee is in a domestic partnership and his partner was covered under MAP’s policy, but his new employer does not have the same coverage. His partner was covered by MAP’s policy under COBRA benefits when he left. After qualifying for the benefits at his new job, he learned that the COBRA benefits may not be extended to his partner (currently unemployed). In response, Teel took the reins and is currently trying to help the employee find a solution to his partner’s healthcare crisis. It’s just a day in the life for Teel as she tries to ensure that MAP is capable of continuing its long history of progressive and inclusive support of the LGBT community and our needs.
Lorraine Teel is one tough cookie and a force to be reckoned with. Congratulations Lorraine, on many jobs well done!