My wife Susan and I both grew up in relatively large Catholic families in which she was one of seven children and I was one of five. We both lived fairly simple lives; however they were filled with love and support from our families. We were always taught that helping others was a core value and a requirement for true happiness.
When the two of us met in the early ‘90s, our lives became enriched not only by our association with each other and our mutual children, but also by the relationship we developed with our priests, Father Chris Michelson and Father Ragan Shriver. Through the guidance and wisdom of our priests, we learned that there were various ways to express appreciation for our many gifts and blessings, not the least of which are our children and grandchildren.
However, the two of us had a real challenge in as much as our careers were consuming us and not affording us the personal time we wanted so we could actively participate in charitable organizations in a meaningful way. We had, however, become blessed financially and had begun to share some of our gifts with a broad range of organizations.
Over the last few years, we have been enthralled by the efforts of Father Ragan and the many accomplishments that were being made within Catholic Charities and decided to become more involved. Susan actually joined the Board for a term and became incredibly moved by the various programs within Catholic Charities that were reaching out and helping those in need.
Earlier this year, we had the opportunity to sit with Father Ragan and Freddi Birdwell to discuss Samaritan Place and their challenges in both housing and feeding the homeless elderly during these turbulent economic times. We were both so moved at listening to the story and the need that we chose to assist in providing financial support to cover a year’s worth of food costs at Samaritan Place.
We cannot begin to describe the many joys we have experienced as a result of participating. We truly believe the rewards we have received in return have far exceeded the monetary gift we provided to Catholic Charities. It is our strong hope and prayer that our children and grandchildren will learn by our example the value in providing for others in need, and that they will continue our legacy of caring for others.
Bill and Susan Varner