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I consider myself blessed by God more than I deserve. I find great joy in “the small things,” and love living in a small community. The Y receives gifts that make me proud and very thankful on a regular basis, but recently the Y received a significant gift from a complete stranger and it really made me ask myself why? Why would someone who has never been a member, who never took the opportunity to establish a relationship with us, or take advantage of all the wonderful programs we have leave such a large sum of money to the Y?

I’m going to tell you about a man who made me pause and think about living in a caring community and trying to thank a very generous man when he is no longer living.

I first heard about this man from Grant Selsor, a local attorney, who sat on the YMCA’s Board of Directors for numerous years. Grant told me that a man passed away and was leaving a significant monetary gift to our Y. This man’s name is Richard Dellies.

The first thing I asked was who can I thank. Unfortunately, Richard has one surviving sister who he has been estranged from for many years. In Grant’s words, “Richard was a very quiet, soft-spoken man with a heart of gold. Richard grew up on a family farm, but now was a neighbor of the Ys on 14th Avenue. He drove a sporty red Chevy Malibu. He wanted to help kids! All in all he was a kind and generous man!”

Richard had a best friend named Bob who he shared lunch with many days at Hometown Family Restaurant, Dairy Treat, Taco Bell and other diners in our community. Many other people who worked at or visited these places probably knew Richard too. Now you know another fact about him and like me, I hope you are in awe of the gift he has given.

Richard was not a wealthy man. He had some health problems. He never complained. He lived frugally and he made sure that when his time on earth ended his little nest egg was going to do good in his community.

The gift from his estate will continue to give on an annual basis because he left the Y over $117,000 to put in our Endowment Fund! The impact his gift will have for future generations at the Y will be impactful and his generosity will live on forever.

The reason I wrote this article was to thank Richard Dellies in the only way I knew how. To let the people that knew Richard know what a fabulous gift he gave the Y. I wish I would have known Richard prior to his passing away. He sounds like the type of man that our world needs more of!

I hope that you also have many things to be thankful for. In our busy lives sometimes it takes a special holiday to make us pause, be grateful and enjoy life! If you need a little extra boost discovering all you have to be thankful for, come to the Y on Thanksgiving morning at 8 a.m. to participate in the Turkey Trot. You will leave with a smile on your face!

Terri Falkenberg is the executive director at the Greater Marinette-Menominee YMCA.