Growing up in Defiance, Ohio, I was not touched by the poverty and hardships of other human beings until I was sent to Vietnam with the United States Marines in 1970. In Vietnam, I was assigned to a Combined Action Platoon (CAP). A CAP was a twelve-man Marine rifle squad and U.S. Navy Corpsman. Our objective was to provide security and assist the Vietnamese civilians in the area. We lived and slept in the villages with the civilians during the day. At night we would setup ambushes to protect the villages from the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army.
CAP’s also provided humanitarian services such as medical care, building fresh water wells and food providing to the civilians. This was my first introduction into caring and compassionate activities to help other human beings in need.
After my discharge from the Marines, I attended college and became a CPA. Throughout my personal and professional life, I have tried to focus on giving and helping others. I have been a member and leader of many civic organizations including the Arts, Education, Environment, Health, Religion, Social Services and Foundations. The involvement in these organizations gave me the idea of asking my wife Peggy and children Jared and Janna to give gifts to others at Christmas rather than material gifts to me. I also asked them to write letter to me about the gift. That idea has provided me with countless unforgettable letters about gifts of generously and caring from my wife, children and grandchildren. I wrote this book to encourage other parents and grandparents to start similar traditions with their children.
I believe children should be aware and understand the benefits of philanthropy. Parents and grandparents should be role models by showing children examples of philanthropy from their own family or community experiences. The children should be included in planning and participating in family projects to help those in need.
During my research for this book I found a quote I believe is very appropriate.
“No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” (Calvin Coolidge)