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Copyright 2012 McLean County Diversity Project
I've always admired a quote on a small, nearly inconspicuous, plaque at St. Paul's Cathedral in London, England. The plaque is dedicated to the church's architect, Sir Christopher Wren, who was accorded responsibility for rebuilding 52 churches in the City of London after the great fire in 1666, including his masterpiece, St. Paul's Cathedral.
The quote, in part, reads: "Si monumentum requiris circumspice".
Loosely translated, the quote means: "If you seek his monument, look around you".
There's no statue of Sir Christopher Wren or fancy decorations honoring his memory at St. Paul's Cathedral. Just a small plaque directing the reader to "look around you". Bold in simplicity.
Have you ever thought about your legacy? Have you ever thought about what you are doing to make a difference?
I often wonder what will be written about me after I leave this earth.
I've been building wheelchair ramps for over 25 years with the Cornbelt AMBUCS club. We have built an average of 25 ramps per year for the past 25 years - over 600 ramps in the McLean County area and we're still going strong.
We are making homes accessible for people with disabilities, one ramp at a time.
I don't do it alone. I've always got a team of volunteers to help build the ramps. Our AMBUCS club joined with the Diversity Project over ten years ago and the scholars have been an integral part of the success of our ramp-building program.
At the end of each ramp, we try to get a picture of the "maiden voyage" while we watch as the ramp recipient travels up and down their ramp for the first time. There are plenty of smiles and handshakes and "thank-you's" to go around - occasionally a tear or two. The pictures serve as a great reminder that we really do make a difference for people with disabilities in our community.
I know we're not building anything like St. Paul's Cathedral, yet to our ramp recipients, our work truly makes a difference in their lives and such sow the seeds of a legacy.
When I drive around town and see the ramps that we have built for those in need throughout our community, I remember the smiling faces and the people connected to those ramps. I remember the volunteers that helped on the day we built the ramp, last month, last year or 20 years ago.
There are no plaques on our ramps and no mention of who built each ramp - but oh how I remember.
I am proud to work with the scholars from the Diversity Project and I'm proud to be a member of our local AMBUCS club.
It's really pretty simple. What are you doing to make a difference? What legacy will you leave?
"Look around you".
Come and join us sometime and be a part of something that will change the lives of those in need, for years to come.
Thanks Jeff, for leading such an outstanding organization and for the opportunity for us to work together.
I'll see ya' at the ramps!
McLean County Diversity Project c/o Jeffrey A. Schwartz 16043 Dorado Road Bloomington, IL 61705