Tell your story about giving and inspire others to live generously.

I Like Passing the blessing on.

Submitted by Paul Lessard (High Point, North Carolina)
I Like Passing the blessing on.

How saving the life of an ederly woman led to the establishment of a character education project that impacts kids

On April 16th, 1993 at 5:30am in the morning I was on my way to play squash at a local YMCA when I drove up on an accident. An elderly woman, Ella Mae Bowman had driven into a flash flood that had pulled her into rapids (25 ft deep) in which her station wagon was rapidly sinking. Another man and I dove in and pulled an unconscious Ella Mae out of the car and revived her. The rescue was a very close call for all of us, but we all survived. Ella Mae became a second Mother to me and our friendship lasted for another 17 years .

In 1994 we were awarded Carnegie Hero Medals for saving Ella Mae and with the Medal I received a monetary stipend which I realized was not mine to keep. Saving Ella Mae that morning was a divine intervention that I know was orchestrated by God and it not only saved wonderful woman’s life, it also reminded me that we are truly the keepers of our brothers and sisters.

I have always worked with young people and for a long time had felt that our society did not do a great job putting strong positive role models in front of our youth. So in the spring of ’94 with my Carnegie money I established “The Lighthouse Project” that has for the last 20 years exposed our students to nationally known positive role models. To date our speakers have talked to over 500,000 students about character, service and loving others well. All of this was made possible because of our chance meeting with a wonderful lady named Ella Mae Bowman who taught me the true blessing of loving others well…