Monday, August 24, 2009

Make it Happen Mondays

All over the USA, Seniors are using their years of experience and knowledge in a servant leadership capacity in their communities. They are volunteering their services when needed. On Mondays we are looking forward to sharing the stories of some of these "make it happen" senior volunteers along with interesting volunteering opportunities.

Daily Giving

Ann Morrow Lindberg said, “To give without any reward, or any notice, has a special quality of its own.”

Today I would like to feature a lifelong volunteer. Through the years Rich Thomas has been available in so many quiet, supportive ways.

He grew up in Boys Town. He was a fine athlete, an allstar, playing football, basketball and baseball. He traveled all over the United States with Father Flannigan (that’s right the one that Spenser Tracy portrayed). He often helped care for the children smaller than himself, including his twin brothers.

This man has not done the kind of volunteering that gets you parades or medals. What he has done is serve in the Armed Forces in Korea (his first daughter was born while he was there and she was 8 months old before he saw her), work hard at the same job for many years, help create a strong, healthy family of five who have now given him nine wonderful grandkids.

Countless hours of babysitting, miles of driving people back and forth to the airport, soccer games, baseball games, to special events, to the hospital.

Rich volunteered as coach for his oldest son's 7th and 8th grade football team at St. Francis school. They won the Catholic School City Championship. His son Rick was telling him that just this week he had run into one of the men Rich had coached during those days. This man told Rick Jr. how important Rich's coaching had been to him. He said, "He believed in me when I didn't believe in myself."

The golfers at the Overland Park Golf Course where he has served as a Marshall have benefited from his quick smile, helpful tips and constant words of encouragement. An avid golfer all his life makes his tips and words of encouragement all the more meaningful.

He is 84 and right now his knees and back are giving him a bit of trouble. Keep this fine man in your thoughts and prayers. No one deserves it more, as his young nephew knows!

A hug for my Uncle Rich!


Anonymous said...

I'd love to meet him!!!

Anonymous said...

That's my Grandpa!! You did a great job describing him! Love you, G-pa!

Mandy (all the way from Springfield)

Anonymous said...


You too are a treasure

He lit up like a christmas tree


Doey said...

Hooray!!!!!!! We are so proud of you Uncle Rich!


Bill Witcher said...

congratulations Rich....your post set a record for the most comments posted. You're like a rock star (and deservedly so)


Heather said...

Uncle Rich, We love you so much and are so lucky to have you and Doey in our lives!!!

Anonymous said...

Did you write this, mimi? That's so nice! my grandpa's the man!


Anonymous said...

I wrote it with Doey's help. He is in fact, and indeed, the man!

Anonymous said...

What a great story, what a great smile, what a great person. I remember our visit to Boys Town along with many, many, many, many other happy Rich moments...including your big slot machine win in Vegas with you holding court with your new found fans in front of the machine as the bells and sirens were blaring forth. Billy

Anonymous said...

Mimi: this was a fitting tribute to the most successful man I know. His success is easily measured by his outlook on life in general and his life in particular. His is not headlining grabbing stuff and it's not life and death, it's more important than that!

Anonymous said...

My granda rocks!

Anonymous said...

This is truly the man who selflessly drove me and put his hand on my back to guide me as I waddled down the hallway to have a sonogram everyday during the final month before the boys were born! and who sat in the rocking chair between their cribs and just grinned at their two little faces.
And in his ever so Honest way,said as he walked me down the aisle as I married Dan, " You got it right this time, honey"