In this column I often extol the virtues of animals and herald the benefits that sprout from pet ownership. Fundamentally, I spend a lot of column inches shouting, “aren’t animals amazing?” They are indeed. This week I was reminded of another truth that sometimes can be harder to see—people are amazing.
I had the pleasure to speak to community members who enrolled in an estate planning series sponsored by the wonderful folks at the Western Nevada Community Foundation (as well as a number of other local charities, including Nevada Humane Society). I was immediately struck by the number and diversity of Northern Nevadans who are participating in this series. It’s not always easy to think of one’s mortality, and, in a roundabout way, this entire subject circles back that that issue. Of course, these individuals are examining ways to establish their legacies and protect their hard earned assets, so hopefully most viewed this from a sunny side of the street perspective. In any event, it was truly heartwarming to see so many of our neighbors looking to the future and thinking about their community, our community. As I spoke, I accidentally caught myself actually listening to myself—I wasn’t prepared for that. I know that might sound a little… something, but I come from a family where anyone who uses one word when they could have used ten is just not trying hard enough.
As I recanted the life-altering legacy gift of Carl and Virginia Mansfield and the world-changing effect it has had on NHS, I found myself really reflecting on that. The Mansfields were humble people who lived modestly and spent a lifetime dedicating their free time to homeless cats. They were heroes as a result of what they did in their lifetimes. They saved countless cats through their actions, generosity, and refusal to “just look the other way.” All the while, they invested wisely and saved their money.
The Mansfields commitment to homeless cats did not end with their departures from this world. Through the Community Foundation they ensured and empowered NHS to save more lives and do ever more. Through their actions while in this world they ensured that their passion and their lives work would continue. Their giving goes on in perpetuity and their legacies as giants in the world of animal welfare in forever remembered. They have, without embellishment or hyperbole, saved tens of thousands of lives.
Living what you say is an admirable achievement. Ensuring what you believe far beyond your lifetime is downright revolutionary. People are amazing.