A Simple Act of Kindness; A Story for Thanksgiving

– by Murray Sawyer, JD, President and CEO

We’ve just come through a divisive mid-term election. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, a time for families to share the love we have for each other and for us to reflect on the shared kindness we provide or should offer to strangers in order to make this a better world.

I am not in the habit of disclosing the identity of our clients, but in this instance am making an exception because the story is so perfect for this time of year, this Thanksgiving weekend. If you just can’t watch another five minutes of another boring football game or spend five more minutes watching another Dumbo float in the Macy’s day parade, I invite you to invest that time in this 4-5 minute video.

When I was an attorney, I represented a delightful Odessa, Delaware couple, Ron and Martha Starnes. In the course of that representation, I drafted their estate planning documents and handled their respective estate administrations when they died in 2002 and 2004. Martha was an educator while Ron was a Methodist minister, a master cabinetmaker and a beloved and respected man-about-town in Odessa.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, a time for families to share the love we have for each other and for us to reflect on the shared kindness we provide or should offer to strangers in order to make this a better world.

During the course of administering the Starnes’ estates, I came to know their son Ben, and he and his wife Margie became Westover clients in 2006. Today, he is the Chief of the Division of Vascular Surgery for the University of Washington’s School of Medicine, and as a Professor of Vascular Surgery, holds UW’s Alexander Whitehall Clowes Endowed Chair in Vascular Surgery. He is recognized nationally and internationally for his work in aortic pathology and vascular trauma. Before he joined UW Medicine, he spent 15 years as a medical doctor in the United States Army, serving three combat tours, one in Kosovo and two in Iraq. Ben and his wife Margie and their daughters live in the Seattle area, so they qualify as the most geographically distant of our U.S.-based Westover clients.

Margie just shared this news link with us which was produced by a local NBC Seattle television affiliate earlier this month. I don’t want to spoil the wonderful story and its uplifting message by telling you too much about it, so I’ll just mention a few words and phrases related to the story to engage your curiosity: Family road trip – Car breakdown – Kindness of strangers – POW war hero – Generational journey of discovery.

Please have a lovely Thanksgiving holiday, and should the political world make you start to feel angry with strangers, then watch this video again to be reminded of the higher purpose to which we all can aspire.

Keep the faith.