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Michele Neff Hernandez

Michele Neff Hernandez was widowed at thirty-five when her husband Phillip was killed in a cycling accident in 2005. Finding herself struggling through unknown emotional territory, she set out to find other widowed people and to ask them a set of fifty practical questions. What she discovered over one year of interviewing widowed people across the United States fueled the creation of Soaring Spirits International, an inclusive, secular, nonprofit organization whose mission is to foster resilience and support grief recovery in the widowed population.

Michele is a content expert and speaker in the areas of resilience, bereavement, adapting to life challenges, nonprofit leadership, and women’s issues. She is the creator and director of the innovative Camp Widow program. Michele has worked with the families of fallen firefighters, the widowed spouses of members of Special Operations units, surviving spouses of Covid-19 patients, and widowed people from all walks of life. She has won numerous national and local awards for her work with grieving populations and was named a 2021 CNN Hero

Michele is the CEO of Soaring Spirits International and the executive director of Soaring Spirits Canada. She also acts as the director of the Soaring Spirits Resilience Center located in Kerrville, Texas, whose mission is to research resilience and create practical tools for building resilience in the bereaved.

Michele’s grief experience has expanded her heart and increased the love she has for her awesome kids, her huge, wild family, her incredible tribe of friends, and her kindhearted Aussie husband.



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