Many companies and organizations give back to our communities tenfold, and I am just astonished at how many of us, myself included, take them for granted.
I often think without such staples in our area, what would we do? Several of them touched me in three distinct stages of my life.
First, being one of three raised by a single mom, money was tight. I remember my mother struggling to make the mortgage payment, not purchasing pantyhose to give us soccer cleats or eyeglasses and wondering what bills could get paid with any given paycheck.
I must admit, my mom could get very creative with hamburger meat and pasta to make sure we were well-nourished and healthy. It instilled a great work ethic in us to succeed.
Yet when it came to sending me off to college, she had a tremendous helping hand. The Clark Foundation Scholarship I was awarded provided the much-needed funds toward my degree goal. Numerous area graduates have been able to pursue higher education because of the Clark Foundation's generosity, and I will always be thankful.
Second, when my father was in medical need while in the final stages of heart failure and diabetes _ a condition that eliminated him from a possible heart transplant on Long Island _ Hospice was there for him and our family.
The work this organization does cannot be repaid, but I do contribute financially to help in its continued efforts. I remember receiving the call from my stepmother telling me that the Hospice nurse said that my dad had a limited amount of time left and to contact loved ones to say their farewells.
Not only did the Hospice make my father's last weeks with us more comfortable, their counseling and shared knowledge were invaluable for us to know what to expect. I will be forever indebted.