By Juanita Gambrell Floyd
“To whom much is given – much is required. I feel it is my duty or responsibility to give back.” These emotionally charged words were spoken by Dr. Ed Ivancic as he accepted the honor bestowed on him for his vision in the establishment of CATCH Kids. The organization was born with the mission to make accessible, comprehensive, high quality care available at no cost to children who have trouble obtaining needed care due to poverty or other access barriers.
Marian Wright Edelman said, “I’m doing what I think I was put on this earth to do. And I’m really grateful to have something that I’m passionate about and that I think is profoundly important.”
I listened to the remarks of CATCH Kids Executive Director Valerie Long as she lauded Ivancic for his countless hours of dedication and volunteer involvement with the clinics. She told about the thousands of children who have been seen by medical personnel since CATCH Kids’ inception. Dr. Charles Robertson spoke of his gratefulness for this young doctor and family moving to Tupelo to join his practice and Ivancic’s passion of aiding children. Robertson said, “He’s made a significant difference in the lives of children in this area.”
Dr. Linda Southward highlighted some of Ivancic’s professional achievements on a national level. She told of their working together on joint committees. She said, “Who would have guessed that he was my only child’s pediatrician more than 25 years ago and now I am here tonight to help honor him!” She summed up her presentation by asking if anyone remembered the movie ”It’s a Wonderful Life.” Southward said, “In whatever role you know him – friend, colleague, pediatrician, family man, community and church leader – what would not be available to you, your children…to the children and families in this community and surrounding areas, the state and the nation, without Ivancic.”
I immediately recalled how the movie “revolves around an angel (Clarence) who helps a man (George) by showing what life would have been like if he never existed. Clarence wisely shows George how much his life has mattered, all the lives he has touched and the contributions he has made to his community. And eventually, George begins to understand the differences his absence made. Clarence said, “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives, and when he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he? You see, George, you’ve really had a wonderful life. Don’t you see what a mistake it would be to throw it away?”
I began to look around the room at the different people attending the event to pay their respects to the good doctor for his service. Many of those I know personally have made significant impacts in our community. Not only did I think about Dr. Ivancic’s gifts and all of the presenters’ gifts to our communities, I thought about the people in my own community who contributed to my growth and the growth of our community. I thought about my dear sweet mother who only had an eighth-grade education, yet she has significantly impacted and touched our family’s lives and the lives of others through her own life. What if she had not been born?
Have you ever wondered if you have fulfilled your purpose in life or if you have made an impact on the lives of people? Have you ever wondered, “what good am I doing?” Have you ever thought that you have been put on this earth to be a blessing to others in some capacity?
Many times we don’t think that what we do makes a difference – but it does. Our life does matter. When we were born, the Lord had plan and purpose for our lives. Aren’t you glad you were born to make a difference? You be the judge.
Juanita Gambrell Floyd is vice president for Finance and Administration at CREATE Foundation. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.