“You need to leave this world better than when you found it.”
My dad didn't just say this, he lived it. Dad believed he was given a second chance when he survived his first bypass surgery at 50 years old. He decided to pay it forward by sending one percent of the profits from his business, the Hess Lumber Company in Bellefontaine, Ohio, to the poorest village in the western hemisphere.
With the help of the Catholic diocese and with mom translating, Dad wrote to Sister Alodie, a French nun who worked in the Haitian village of Calvaire, asking how he could help her.
“Feed the starving children,” Sister Alodie pleaded.
Sister Alodie used Dad’s donations to feed the villagers and dig a well to provide running water, latrines, and electricity. Calvaire’s population doubled once word spread about Dad’s generosity. Sister's favorite purchase was a megaphone that she used to keep the children in line (I couldn't help sharing the photo of Sister and her megaphone below!)
Dad enjoyed being a philanthropist, and told a news outlet once that his monthly check to Sister Alodie was the only bill he didn’t mind paying. He believed that the secret to a happy life was to help others in need. His donations to Sister Alodie, local churches, and other organizations were one of his proudest accomplishments.
So what’s with the teddy bear?
A year after Dad passed, Mom gave me a Christmas present “From Daddy and me.” A little apprehensive, I opened it carefully. Inside was this bear, DaddyBear, made from Dad’s shirts.
DaddyBear sits on a bookshelf above my desk, gently reminding me to make this world better. There would be no Heard without Dad. His impact remains.
On behalf of our entire Heard team, I wish you a safe, joyous and beautiful holiday.