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December 13, 2017

          Yesterday it was my pleasure to be a guest speaker at the annual meeting of the J. F. Smith Company. That's the outfit that advised Emporia State on our recently successful “Now and Forever” campaign where we raised over $58 million.

          My talk was titled "Giving from the Prospective of a Donor."

          While Bobbi and I were "donors” in the campaign my talk in Alabama wasn't all about us, but more accurately about my dad and mom as “role model donors."

          I shared how my dad was denied the opportunity to attend college at Emporia State because his family was losing its' farm and he was needed as the oldest son to stay home and help. I shared how years later after working his tail off to succeed he honored his wife and my mom by making the lead gift for the Sauder Alumni Center.

          Mom held a Teaching Certificate from KSTC but wasn't with us at the dedication of the Alumni Center. She had moved to the Presbyterian Manor suffering from Alzheimer's disease. She passed in 03 after 13 years at the Manor.

          Dad asked me to help him with his remarks at the dedication. My question was "what are you feeling?

          His response: "I feel lucky to be able to do this!"

Dad told the Sauder Alumni Center Dedication crowd "Like baseball player Lou Gehrig he felt like he was the luckiest man alive."

          Pretty cool! A man denied a chance to attend this school and a man whose life was being turned upside down by Alzheimer's Disease felt “lucky.”

          It's an example many remember and mention to me often.

          My dad learned about the joy of giving and shared that with us.

          It was my great honor to share his story yesterday just like I do annually with the kids who are Earl Sauder Athletic Scholars at ESU at their yearly luncheon.

          My hope now is that this story might inspire you to be a donor too. During the Christmas season, we have many opportunities to give and feel lucky.

          Some opportunities like our KVOE Mitten Tree are finished for this year, but many others still exist. Like the “Beyond the Banners” book as a gift for a veteran. The United Way Drive is ongoing of course and the Salvation Army's Red Kettles are everywhere. If you look you can find someone in need.

          Twice in the past month, someone has paid for my breakfast while in line at McDonald's! That’s a small gesture but makes a big point when done by a stranger.

          My dad's most famous line was undoubtedly "Don't give until it hurts, give until it feels good!

          It's the Christmas season folks and a great time to feel good and lucky in one effort!

          Happy giving!

          I’m Steve Sauder.