I recently came across this newspaper article about my Great-Grandfather, Dr. William L. Bendel and I wanted to share with you as I think it encompasses a few really important ideas on leading by example and volunteering. The article is from the News Star, Wednesday, January 26, 1983.
While my great-grandfather passed away years before I was born, I heard so many stories about him from my family and during our yearly trips to Monroe, LA to visit my great-grandmother. it was apparent from these visits, that he was well known, well liked, well respected and a pillar of the community. My recollection is that everywhere we went, my great-grandmother was greeted warmly and people always wanted to share a story on how they knew my great-grandfather and how much they respected and admired him.
I was originally compelled to share this article because it is evidence that we lead by example however, something else jumped out at me as equally important.
The basis of the article is around inducting my great-grandfather into a local high school Hall of Fame in recognition of his support for the local sports teams, serving as a team doctor for local high schools.
“We couldn’t have made it without him,” said former Neville coach Bill Ruple, himself a Hall of Fame member “None of the schools in our area could afford insurance on our players, but Dr. Bendel never charged for treating them.”
My Great-Grandmother, Marie Bendel notes “Twenty-five years is a long time for people to still want to have him honored”. And that is the part that really struck me about the article, the impact we have when we help others has no expiration.
I believe my desire to volunteer in the community is a direct result of hearing about my family’s dedication to giving back. One thing I have learned though my own volunteering is that helping one person is just as important as assisting many, meaning you don’t have to look for an opportunity that you think will impact many people because sometimes helping one person will have a deep and meaningful impact too.
I’ve been working on a campaign to help some kids in SE DC and I am humbled by the generosity of my neighbors and friends. I was delighted to see the little girls in my neighborhood contribute some of their lemonade stand money to purchase items like backpacks, socks and jackets not only because of their generosity but in seeing how happy they were visualizing a young boy or girl getting a new coat or backpack this year. I get it! I love to visualize the smile on even one child’s face when they are presented with something needed and new that makes them feel valuable and special.
I hope this will inspire you to lead by example and find a way that you can give back to your local community and if you have kids, please incorporate them into your activity!