Friday, July 13, 2012

My Mom Talks "Gifts From Others"

It was the world renowned business investor Warren Buffett who once said, "Tell me your heroes and I'll tell you how your life will end up".

It's a great quote with lots of truth to it and I think we all can admit to having heroes in our lives that we've looked up to and admired at some point.  It could have been a specific trait they possessed you valued, perhaps it was their approach to living that struck a chord with you? Or maybe they simply performed some remarkable feat that you admired.  I can say for myself that I've had people in my world who've displayed qualities I thought were worth emulating but they didn't quite make the cut as far as being a hero in my books.

That spot has always been exclusively reserved for my mother who was the real hero in my world.  When I look at the example she laid out through her daily living, it doesn't come as a surprise that I'm doing the work I do or that I've written a book like "Gifts From Others"

Winnie Marshall originally immigrated to Canada in the early 70's from Kingston, Jamaica in the West Indies  with a dream in hand of creating a better life for her four children.  After a variety of jobs, she eventually found employment at a seniors nursing home in he heart of downtown Toronto called, St Thomas House.  She worked as the head cook and was there for over 20 years until the home eventually closed down.

She took her cooking skills, good nature and distinctive laugh to the local Salvation Army church our family attended to help start up a community outreach program almost 25 years ago.  The program is still going strong today and my mother can be found at the helm preparing and serving meals to 400-500 people every Thursday on a weekly basis.

It's estimated that during her time with outreach program, she's joyfully served over 450,000 meals to hungry people from all over Toronto and her compassion for people has never wavered.

She recognizes the kind of impact we can have on one another through the process of giving to others and she looks to do so continually.  I remember her humbly telling me once after her efforts were publicly acknowledged that, "These hungry people are coming with needs and I'm doing my part in my own little way to help"

I had to correct her by letting her know that what she's doing is not little.

She's had quite a run with the outreach program and I'm constantly inspired by her dedication, perseverance and commitment to people despite times when she was tired or not feeling well.  Much of who I am and what I've done can be attributed to my mother so after giving her a copy of   "Gifts From Others" I decided to call one morning and get her thoughts on a book she helped influence to write.

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