June 14, 2013 — During a company meeting one of our staff members asked to read a brief but very touching speech that was given recently at the National Settlement Services Summit in Cleveland, Ohio by Mr. Dave Heine who is, as many of you know, the Vice President and co-owner of closemytimeshare.com. Mr. Heine’s speech was given in response to his being given an award for philanthropy by October Research, LLC.
So here’s the Scoop: As everyone on team ‘Gate’ listened closely to what was being read we were all deeply moved. When the reading ended and we all discussed and debated the issues we ultimately agreed to be more than just people with an opinion and instead to do two things that day.
One, we all pooled together and donated what we could immediately spare right then and there and sent Bill over to a local charity that deals with our many, sadly, forgotten and neglected neighbors; and the other is that we are publishing Mr. Heine’s speech – word for word – with the hope that others in the timeshare community will follow suit – do what they can today – and lend a helping hand anywhere they see a need.
And that shout-out also applies to you ‘boot-strappers’ too, because as many of you really know, deep down inside, there are a lot of people – some right down the street from you – who have no boots at all let alone any straps to pull up!
So, without further ado:
When we hear the word, “philanthropist,” we are likely to think of billionaires who are dedicated to making the world a better place by contributing to charities and important research to find cures and preventions of life threatening diseases. We salute those people for their generosity and concern for the human condition. Just as important in the world of philanthropy are the millions of people who dial a toll-free number to donate $10 to relief in areas that have been hard hit by storms and other life changing disasters.
My wife and I have been extraordinarily blessed by success in business which enabled us to support some very special charities. Some of those include:
Deliver the Dream, a charity that provides three day retreats for overwhelmed families dealing with a member struggling with serious illness. These families are given an opportunity to relax and enjoy a vacation they could not otherwise afford. We support this program with funds that help them do this vital work. That’s philanthropy.
Then there is Christel House, a worldwide program for children that takes a holistic approach — not just for food and clean drinking water — but also for quality education, adequate housing, and social awareness. One hundred percent of the money we give to Christel House goes directly to the children, and that’s philanthropy.
Our support of the Lupus Foundation is especially dear to us. My wife is among the one and a half million people in the nation who have been diagnosed with this debilitating disease. After every Friday night’s chemotherapy, we spend the weekend at home because she is so sick from the treatment. By Monday morning she can return to her work as a G. I. nurse, helping others. We give funds to the Lupus Foundation because it is so dear to our hearts. That’s philanthropy.
We also support the ASPCA in its efforts to save helpless animals from abuse and neglect. That, too, is philanthropy.
That, however, is only a small part of philanthropy. It is an important part, to be sure. But philanthropy is much larger in scope, a fact that began to dawn on me on 9/11/2001 when I traveled to New York City to work at the outreach center where my role was radio communications and assisting the families of police and firefighters to cope with the loss of their loved ones. In many cases the family member lost in that tragedy was the sole bread winner, so we worked to help them find the resources to meet their bills and put food on the table. The literally thousands of people who came to New York did not come with fists full of dollar bills. They came to help. That’s philanthropy.
The 9/11 story has repeated itself recently in Newtown, Connecticut… along the Jersey Shore… in Moore, Oklahoma. People have gone to those places to help when the death and destruction have been overwhelming. That’s philanthropy.
Just one more thing. Philanthropy need not be something grand. The other day my wife returned from shopping and I saw on her face that something had distressed her. She told me that while standing behind a desperate young mother in the checkout line, she overheard the woman begging to buy three disposable diapers out of a package with the only three dollars she had. Of course, my wife bought her a package of diapers. Explaining the situation to me, my wife said that seeing someone in that position “hurt her heart.” It was a small thing, but that’s philanthropy.
I am humbled by the nomination for this award and want to thank Erica and the staff at October Research for the effort that goes into this conference and evaluating the many submissions. I thank my family, friends, and business partners who make everything I do possible. And I want to leave you with words of wisdom I received from a 21-year-old young lady who said to me:
“I don’t give because I have a lot. I give because I know what it is like to have nothing.” That’s philanthropy.
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