By Bill Crawford
Make A Difference Day” was Saturday. I’m not a fan. What if George McLean had only made a difference in Tupelo one day a year? Or Haley Barbour waited ’til Make A Difference Day to respond to Hurricane Katrina?
Saturday was also the birthday I allow Haley and others to share with me. So, allow me a little personal privilege.
“Make A Difference Every Day”…that should be the slogan. When I think of this, two people come to mind.
One was among the regular folks who step up, help out, serve, and give every day. A rare article about my grandmother appeared in the Madison County Herald April l966. It was headlined amp”Nursing the Sick as Long as She Can Rememberamp” and said she had been amp”helpingamp” at Kings Daughters Hospital in Canton since it opened in January 1929.
The second was among the more successful folks who choose to leave difference-making legacies. G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery is known for his lifetime of public service, 30 years as Congressman and 10 as State Senator. But he also left lasting legacies. He gave his assets to The Montgomery Foundation to provide grants that make a difference. He gave his name and leadership legacy to The Montgomery Institute to support projects that make a difference.
Let me name some more.
Phil Hardin was a Meridian entrepreneur who built Hardin Bakeries into a successful business with plants in Meridian, Jackson, and Tupelo. From this success he created The Phil Hardin Foundation. Another was Frank Day. A successful banker from Aberdeen, Day rose to chairman of the board and CEO of Trustmark National Bank. In 1978 he formed the Luckyday Foundation. Businessman Robert Hearin amassed a fortune, including co-ownership of Mississippi Valley Gas and substantial ownership of Trustmark National Bank. He established the Robert M. Hearin Foundation. Innovator Jim Barksdale, former CEO of Netscape, and his late wife Sally established the Barksdale Reading Institute.
These legacies make a difference every day for Mississippi’s students and educational institutions.
George and Anna McLean of Tupelo left a legacy that became the CREATE Foundation. The Riley family in Meridian, the Crosby family in Picayune, and the Gilmore family in Amory created charitable foundations that built hospitals. When those hospitals sold, the proceeds provided resources for The Riley Foundation, the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation, and the Gilmore Foundation. Dan and Margaret Maddox formed the Maddox Foundation that serves northwest Mississippi.
These legacies make a difference every day for people in the regions they serve.
So, here’s to the regular folks who make a difference every day in someone’s life.
Here’s to those successful folks who generously leave legacies that help out others every day.
Making a difference should be an every day thing.
Bill Crawford (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a syndicated columnist from Meridian.