Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Dedicated by Angie Ledbetter

A great man has passed on this week. Fr. Joe was 93 and lived his entire life in service of his church, congregation, and two campuses' worth of students and staff he dearly loved. Daily, no matter the weather, I'd see him shuffling around the large Pre-K through senior high campuses where I work. Even when he felt bad or his old feet were hurting, he never failed to make the journey. He did it every day, he told me, "To pray for all the kids here. Ya know...some of them don't have anyone else praying for them."

Fr. Joe's many kindnesses and selfless actions were admirable and memorable. I asked my fifth and sixth grade students to write a little something about this dear priest yesterday, and was pleasantly surprised by the amount of thought and work they put into their papers. Many mentioned how much Father meant to their lives; his sense of humor; his love of football; but most often, how they just knew he was continuing to pray for them from heaven. What a fine tribute to a man with a servant's heart!

I work with several dedicated teachers and school staff personnel. Among my closest friends are those who give a great deal of time to volunteering, giving to others, and working for causes that move them. My father, President of Istrouma High School's Class of 55, maintains contact with all his classmates and helps organize reunions, get-togethers, and now city-wide 50s functions with other high schools' alums. These, and several more I haven't mentioned, inspire me to watch over the organizations, groups, beliefs, and people I believe in. They role model for me (and others) the importance of being truly dedicated, because none of these people see the fruits of their labors or rewards of their tireless work.

But, like Fr. Joe, their legacies and stories will live on long after their passing. Just ask anyone who had the good fortune of knowing or working with them. I extend my gratitude to these people who stay the course and continue their work long after most people have folded up their tents and gone home. Bravo and amen to you!


Kathryn Magendie said...

Brava! yes...*clap clap* although most would hate my clapping at them, wouldn't they? They don't expect recognition or want it - like someone I know - someone who just wrote a post thanking volunteers and selfless people--someone with the initials A. L....

Barbara Quinn said...

The doers who want to get it done without credit are the best of the lot, aren't they? The world needs more Fr. Joes. Thanks for telling us about him and I'm sure he'll be missed.

Angie Ledbetter said...

The secret dedicated people know is that they always always always get more out of whatever thing or cause they're working for than they put in. Did I say always? ;)

Nadia Mahannah said...

angie ... email me sometime... i'd love to catch up with you - i'm in central texas and mom (wini) is moving down this way. couldn't find another way to email you, other than to leave a comment. sounds like you're doing well. hope to hear from you soon!

nadia (barrick) mahannah

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