Sometimes an opportunity just lands in your lap!

          Case in point was a lunch with retired banker Ken Buchele and Becky Jeppesen the new CEO at the Emporia Community Foundation. It was planned as a get-acquainted lunch, but we found a neat opportunity.

          Seems my parents left an undesignated fund at the Community Foundation. The new CEO was curious if we had a plan. In the 11 years since my dad passed the fund had made a couple of gifts, but nothing else.

          Bob Agler, the Execrator of dad's estate said, "Earl didn't want this fund to be permanent  - he wanted activity!"

          Lord knows dad would not have approved just letting the money sit!

          So, we have decided to put these funds to use.

          We have created the Stelouise and Earl Sauder Youth Assistance Fund to benefit youth organizations in Lyon, Coffee, Greenwood and Chase Counties with the stipulation that the recipient groups need to be predominately made up of kids 18 and under.

          We have no preconceived notions as to what will qualify except for being located in the four counties where my folks lived and or worked and the age qualification. We hope youth leaders will use their imagination in making requests.

          We aren’t interested in replacing fundraising for these groups, but will be willing to help if the group has some skin in the game.

          Our numbers aren't huge, but big enough to offer assistance.

          We are going to administer the fund through KVOE with assistance from the Emporia Community Foundation.

          The Application form is on the KVOE website and also available on the Emporia Community Foundation website.

          There are no deadlines. A committee of me, Jamie Sauder, Erren Harter and someone from the Community Foundation will make all decisions. There will be an allocation each year that when spent will shut the fund down until the following year.

          Like I said we have no preconceived rules, so we encourage any and all to check this fund out. We have some money and a desire to help.

          It's the Stelouise and Earl Sauder Youth Assistance Fund with applications at

          Merry Christmas, I'm Steve Sauder.

          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.

          Lately, I've been experiencing an event that isn't fun and at times is embarrassing. Recalling names - especially names of sports figures has always been easy for me. But over the past year, I've noticed an increasing inability to call out names.

          My mom and her mom were victims of Alzheimer's Disease so that's always on my mind, but Paula my first wife and a learned student on Alzheimer's told me "if you can figure out a way to discover what it is you can't remember that's not Alzheimer's, it’s CRS - can't remember stuff."

          I have a lot of CRS, but always know where to look so Alzheimer's doesn't concern me yet.

          I suggested to Bobbi my current wife and a Registered Nurse I was experiencing Dementia. She said my situation is more likely Brain Fog, which is also defined as Brain Fatigue. Brain Fog is commonly caused by; lack of sleep, stress, neurological disorders, menopause, diabetes, nutritional deficiencies, and side effects of medicines.

          I am not sure what or why, but I know my recall has slipped and at times it is embarrassing. I try to make notes to cover myself, but that doesn't always work. During Talk Shows on the radio is a bad time for sports guy to forget a home run hitter's name.

          Fortunately, Bobbi is a student of these things and is helping me cope. I'm doing a sleep study in a few days - not my first one, but with the knowledge that poor sleep might be causing my memory lapses here, I come again.

          Next Wednesday, December 6th, Bobbi will be our guest on the On-Air Chat to discuss new medical findings of how bacteria in your gut might be a clue to problems with your immune systems, brain or other far-reaching areas.

          I recently read an article in my Rotary magazine that said there is a strong case for increasing creativity even as we get older. There are two types of human intelligence: fluid intelligence which does degrade over time and crystallized intelligence which is our overall bank of knowledge and only gets larger as we get older.

          Ah ha - if I can stimulate my brain by sleeping and eating better and reducing my stress I might just start getting smarter and more creative!

          Getting older isn't for sissies and evidently, there are ways to cope with aging. Wish me luck!

          I’m Steve Sauder


The article in this week’s TIME is titled: Making prayer safe.

          Someone who just woke up from a long sleep might ask: Are you kidding me?

          As TIME says: The violence (in Sutherland Springs, Texas) was all the more horrible because it felt so normal.”

          Institutions like malls, theaters and schools are working hard to find ways to defend themselves. Now with churches added to the list, we are asking: Are you kidding me?

          Efforts to develop ways to protect the masses became a priority during the Obama administration with training to combat active shooters at the top of the list. The Trump administration is carrying on these efforts and ramping them up, but how and what – exactly do we do?

          Big churches often have the resources to create security measures, but most congregations are strapped to just keep their doors open let alone hire someone to protect them.

          And, even if the resources are available what exactly is a security person going to do? One shot and everyone is vulnerable.

          Some suggest members of the congregation should carry guns and they actually do in some places, but while that might solve one problem it might create others. Evidently, none were helpful in Sutherland Springs.

          Lord help us if we have to start carrying guns to church!

          While I used to hunt I’ve never felt the need to have guns for protection in my home. Asked once why I didn’t have a pistol? I answered: because I might have to use it!

          Let’s return to the original question about making it safe to pray. It appears to me it’s an amazing oxymoron if we need to have security on hand in order to pray. I hope, no make that I believe my faith is stronger than that.

          Please, Lord, we don’t want to live in a world in which we need armed protection in order to assemble to praise you and hear your Word. Please give our leaders and all of us guidance in this area. We need your help.

          Amen and Amen!

          I’m Steve Sauder

          Sunday marked the 50 years since  South African Dr. Christiaan Barnard successfully replaced a man's heart with one from a lady.         

That operation took 8 hours with 19 medical professionals involved. The news spread quickly around the world as the heart started successfully beating.

          Unfortunately, Louis Washkansky fell ill. and Dr. Barnard’s logical assumption that his patients’ body was rejecting the new organ was incorrect so administering drugs to shut down the 53-year-old grocer's immune system to fight the rejection proved fatal and he died after 18 days with a case of pneumonia. 

          Since 1967 we've progressed in an amazing way in medical transplants according to TIME magazine!

          Today in the United States around 30,000 patients receive vital organ transplants each year with about 116,000 on the waiting lists. Twenty people die each day waiting.

          All types of transplantable organs are in short supply. Close to half of American’s are registered as organ donors, but unfortunately, only a fraction of the organs can be used.

          From the good news area, more than half the heart transplant recipients now live over 13 years with that number increasing on a regular basis.

          Also, animal organs and artificial hearts are coming into play making the possibility of eliminating waitlists realistic.

          Pig hearts offer the best potential because doctors have been able to edit pig DNA to improve these animals' health.

          Here are the annual numbers performed and the number still on waitlists.

  • Kidney transplants 19,858 with nearly 98,000 waiting.
  • Livers 7,841 with 14,127 on the lists.
  • Hearts 3,209 transplanted with just over 4 thousand waiting.
  • Lungs replaced 2,345 with 1,412 on the waiting list.

“The single best decision of my life”—that’s what living donors said. “When I donated to my friend John, it’s not because I was feeling reckless or that I was uninformed about possible risks. Instead, I felt as if I were being given a shot at making a real difference—perhaps save a life. I’d never had that chance before. Unless you’re a doctor, policeman, fireman, or lifeguard, few people do”.


Also, over half transplants today come from living donors!

          I'm Steve Sauder and there's something to think about!

          Lee Nelson passed away last week at the age of 90. He is best known as the founder and proprietor of Bluestem Farm and Ranch which he and his wife started in 1961. Today I share some memories of Mr. Nelson and end with something he is credited with doing that changed Emporia’s future in a very positive way!

          Bluestem may well be Emporia’s number one tourist attraction. It would be hard for me to count the number of friends and business associates I had in Emporia who demanded time to visit Bluestem while in town.

          Rick Tidwell shared this story: He was testifying before a Senate Telecommunications Sub Committee in Washington D. C. and when he introduced himself as being from Emporia, Kansas Senator Conrad Burns from Montana interrupted him to ask “Emporia, Emporia, Kansas – is Bluestem still open?”

          Lee Nelson was a good customer for things like telephones, long distance, and radio advertising. Rick Tidwell and Lee were friends making things easier, but Lee still asked the most penetrating questions of any of our customers.

          Lee was a long time and active member of the Emporia Rotary club. I have to admit I used the opportunity to sit with Lee at our weekly meetings often to lobby for radio advertising.

          Obviously, the rural community was important to Bluestem’s success and the Nelson’s returned the favor with strong support for 4-H and Extension activities. Memorials for Lee are to those groups.

          Longtime Emporian and former Mayor Dale Davis and I were talking just a few weeks ago about Lee Nelson. Dale suggested and I agreed that Lee is an unsung hero in our city for his opposition to the proposal to build a federal prison on the old College of Emporia campus.

          In case you don’t remember the C of E campus had been occupied by the Way College International since the school closed in the seventies. After the death of the Way’s leader, the school lost favor and the campus was about to go on the property tax roles. A federal minimum security prison was proposed and Emporia was giving this idea serious consideration - enough in fact that a city-wide referendum was called for by the city commission.

          While it was never confirmed it was believed that Lee Nelson was the chief supporter of the effort to vote “NO.” The proposal lost by a significant margin.

          Dale and I agreed if Lee was the leader of the opposition he did Emporia great favor.

          Lee Nelson was a good man, good family man, a veteran and good citizen - and in the final analysis a very interesting person.

 Rest in peace old friend, rest in peace.

          I’m Steve Sauder


Last week at the Annual Meeting of the Emporia State University Foundation it was suggested calling Allison Garrett the “New President’ was not proper as she has now been on the job for a year and a half.

Whatever we call her President Garrett is gathering steam as her leadership and planning are starting to take hold.

A friend I used to play poker with would say “you have to take a step backward before you can go forward!”

That’s good description of Garrett. She followed one of the most successful and charismatic presidents in ESU’s history and has been challenged with keeping the ship moving in times where budgets cuts are common and students hard to find.

This year’s news that enrollment at ESU was slightly lower than hoped for was not surprising, but after hearing President Garrett speak last Friday I’m convinced she’s ready to lead a revival.

There are lots of good things happening at the school where state support has dwindled to 33%. Tuition accounts for 37% so grants, philanthropy other sources have to be found to fill the void.

Allison Garrett started her higher education career after spending ten years as a corporate lawyer with Wal-Mart. Often her corporate thinking pops up to help make good decisions in times of stress.

A campus initiative giving faculty a chance to suggest and plan new programs with potential for rewards is about to produce its first result - not only exciting, but good for morale.

The ESU Foundation has topped the hundred million mark with assets now listed at $107 million!

Emporia State recently was the only school in Kansas sited by the Colleges of Distinction with three programs singled out for special recognition: Business, Education, and Nursing.

ESU graduates were placed in jobs at a 98% rate in a recent survey upsetting both KU and K-State who reported 94% success.

Our school continues to be a bargain as U.S News indicated Emporia State graduates left school with the second lowest average debt in the midwest!

The groundbreaking on Saturday for a new residence hall on Market Street is not only the first new structure on campus in 15 years, but the result of an ongoing partnership with the Foundation which acquired most of the ground for the new dorm. It won’t be long before the same team breaks ground on the new home for the university’s president.

The speed of the leader determines the speed of the pack and Allison Garrett seems to be picking up speed daily. Add exciting leadership from Deans in most every department Emporia State is poised for long-term success.

Stingers Up and absolutely “Something to think about!”

I’m Steve Sauder

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