I've got a friend named Kellie in the year-long workshop I'm currently teaching, and her dad (Don) passed away last year.
Kelly wrote this about him the other day in our class forum...
"Dad was president of the Easley chapter of Kiwanis in the 80's and during that time he started a golf tournament to raise money for families in need at Christmas (he LOVED Christmas) and ran it for over 20 years until he retired. Every year the families participating would receive $100 per child to shop at our local Walmart. Walmart waived the tax on their purchases these days. One of the times we were shopping, one of the ladies Dad was assigned to didn't have on a coat. He asked her where her coat was and she explained that her sister had died and she had her three children as well as four of her own and one of the older kids didn't have a coat so she had given the girl her coat. My dad said ok go pick out a new coat for everyone...she paused and said she'd hate to spend a chunk of their money on a coat because they needed other things. Dad said, "Oh no, the coats are on me, they won't come out of your money."
Another time he was out of town at a car auction (he was in the Toyota business) and stopped at a gas station. A man in a van told him that he felt God was urging him to leave where he lived and start a new life...he had been addicted to drugs and needed to start over in a new environment. The man had planned his journey, but only had enough money for gas. He asked my Dad for a few dollars to buy a drink and some snacks and my dad gave him some. He told me after he got back on the highway he couldn't get that man out of his head so he turned around and went back. True to his word, the man was sitting in his van eating a pack of crackers that he had just purchased. Dad went up to him and said, "For some reason I believe your story and I'm going to give you all the cash I have" which was about $1500-$2000. We always fussed at him carrying so much cash because we just knew he was going to get hit in the head one day!
In 2002 he sent John (my husband) back to school to finish his degree. He said John was too smart to not be doing something to use the gift God had given him. He not only paid for school, he paid for us to live for those two years. He graduated with his Chemical Engineering degree in 2004.
I could tell a ton of stories and have you reading all day, but he wouldn't like that...he didn't do things like that to get credit. On occasion some things he gave he only gave under the premise that he would be anonymous. I think you can get the gist of the kind of man he was and why it is important to me to keep his kindness and love for giving alive."
Don would have been 74 years old today, so in honor of that, I'm going to add those two digits together (7+4=11) and give away 11 auditing seats in a past Photographers' Workshop.
As many of you know, I am taking a year off from teaching The Photographers' Workshop in order to work with a group of 60 past students, so these auditing seats I'm giving away will be for a workshop I already taught. Winners will have access to all 45 lessons, 9 assignments, 12 hours of audio, all of the evaluations and critiques I wrote for students, and all of the questions I answered in the forum during that particular workshop. So while this is a past workshop, which has already ended, it's a great opportunity to learn everything The Photographers' Workshop has to offer.
To enter (on behalf of yourself or someone else), all you have to do is perform a Random Act of Kindness sometime in the next week in memory of Don, and share it here in the comments section.
You could buy hats and mittens from the dollar store and hand them out to homeless people, you could ask a local church if they have any elderly people who need the leaves raked from their lawn, you could pay for someone's dinner at a restaurant, you could drop off gift certificates for haircuts and clothing to a women's shelter, you could contact a single mom you know and offer to babysit her kids so she can have a night to herself, etc. You could do anything that would honor the person you're doing it for, and honor Don's memory in the process.
I'll randomly draw 11 winners from the comments section next Thursday (so be sure to leave your email address so I'll know how to contact you if you're one of the winners)!
Let's do it for Don!