Give back: make a difference that lasts forever
What will you be known for? Will you leave a significant mark on the
world? One person can make a big difference, as a Union third grade
The best legacies are self-perpetuating. Such is the case of the one left by Union’s Judy Thomas, who taught at the elementary school for 30 years ending in 2001 and died in 2004. She believed all children should know how to swim by third grade and left in a family trust money for grade school swim lessons that are now providing Union third-graders this opportunity. In January, for the sixth year, Union third-graders got a chance at two weeks of swimming lessons. They get American Red Cross and water safety instruction from beginning to advanced levels.
For some of the children, it is the only swimming lessons they will ever receive. The lessons will give them a better appreciation of water sports — and could someday save a life or two.
Thomas had the vision, and took action on what she valued. Now her action makes a big difference in the lives of children.
Thomas’ story shows how one person can make a big difference. What does it mean for the rest of us? It’s never too early to begin planning to leave a legacy, whether that is for a person’s own children and grandchildren, or for the community or both. The gift may require a foundation, or estate and financial planning. Or it can be more modest, something as simple and profound as passing along values and a good example for the next generation to live by.
The community should be grateful that people like Thomas have the foresight to leave a legacy that will make a difference for years to come.