In honor of the beautiful holiday of Thanksgiving I want to share a story about saying "thank you". Have you ever had a friend that simply made you want to be a better person just by knowing them?  Laura Carmichael was that person for me.  Ms. Laura was my role model for living a purposeful life, enjoying each day, giving back in small and large ways and always saying “Thank You”.

Laura had the corner market on writing “thank you” notes.  Her notes were legendary, no sooner had the gift been delivered, than she was at the post office with her thank you note ready to mail.  Ms. Laura probably had heavenly choirs singing each time her delicate fingers hit the typewriter keys.  She penned her notes until her hands had such a tremor that at age 101 she couldn’t write legibly so used the trusty Royal. 

For over 60 years Ms. Laura clipped the good news from the local newspaper, accomplishments by ordinary people, and sent them a...

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Generosity as Legacy

Image Above: Laure Carmichael at her 100th birthday party at Haven Hospice

Leland Kaiser said it well: “Great compassion and unconditional love can change the world; they are the only things that can”.  I’d like to share with you the stories of two people whose donations of time, influence and money, along with great compassion and unconditional love, changed our community and left a legacy.

Retired bank teller Laura Carmichael had no children; widowed at 65, she was know for her legendary thank you notes, she clipped out the photos of brides in the newspaper and mailed them to the newlyweds, she drove the same Buick for nearly 20 years, and sent a crisp $1 dollar bill to every child chosen as “Student of the Month” at the local elementary schools. Generosity was in her bones.

Laura lived near the local hospital where she volunteered and was on their board of directors and on the hospice board where I was Executive Director. When we began...

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