by Jennifer Tolle Whiteside
Earlier this week and almost 100 years after their heroic actions during World War I, two soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor. Sgts. William Shemin and Henry Johnson were posthumously honored with the nation's highest award for valor. The recognition for Shemin and Johnson comes after years of advocacy work by both loved ones and complete strangers. It's believed that the men -- Shemin was Jewish and Johnson was black -- were denied recognition for their actions because of discrimination. At the ceremony President Obama told the crowd: “It is never too late.”
Indeed. Legacy matters.
We have lost some wonderful friends of the Foundation in the last couple of weeks. Statewide Board Member John Cameron and fundholders Nan Cullman and Alok Sharma are among them. Their legacies matter. Each one of them had a passion for community involvement and leadership. If you were acquainted with them, you knew what was important to them: family, community, giving back. We are stronger from their work with us, and we are honored to continue their passions for giving through philanthropy.
We have the incredible privilege here at NCCF to talk with people about their legacies. About what matters to them. About how they want to be remembered. About what they have done in their lives that matter the very most to them. These are sacred conversations. I learn something deep and powerful from each and every conversation, mostly about how very wonderful, amazing, brilliant and resilient people are.
So, we know life is short. Joe Biden knows more than most about the fragility of life and the need to live for today.
And to Sgts. William Shemin and Henry Johnson, John Cameron, Nan Cullman and Alok Sharma – your legacies matter.