Moody Garden staff says goodbye to our long-time staff member who’s battling cancer. She inspires us all.

Hug, tears and sweet goodbyes.

That was the atmosphere at the goodbye party for Ms.  Joann Trahan.

Joann is battling stage-four cancer, and she’s decided it’s time to step down from her position.

The Viewfinders Terrace sparkled with pinks and golds as hotel staff gathered around.

“Make sure you don’t forget us,” said Hotel General Manager Leon Garrison. “Come back any time.”

Joann began her journey with Moody Gardens in 1997, starting as a banquet server. Now, she’s retiring in a management position.

“If it was up to me I would be here forever, walking out on a cane,” she said.

Joann told the story of how everything changed for her during Hurricane Ike.

“That was when I realized the Moody family’s commitment to their employees,” she said. “The people that worked here did not have to worry about a place to live. They put everyone up. I said then I would never leave this place of employment. I was going to stay here and retire here. They would come and sit and eat in the dark with us. We were one big family. They could’ve left us… not given a hoot. But they stayed here with us.”

She encouraged her co-workers to stay committed to the hospitality industry.

“It’s not easy. Long hours. Clients out of control. But don’t give up.”

Her friends and family stood by her side as she gave her goodbye speech.

“I’ve learned to accept whatever God puts in my path. For me, that’s leaving here. But my heart is full. I’m content.”

Joann’s presence and encouraging spirit will be dearly missed at our hotel.