Memorial Day

“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”           by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Yesterday, I celebrated Memorial Day and this is my fourth Memorial Day Post. Seems each year Memorial Day grows more and more significant for me. The general Post message over the four years is the same. And, the message should be. We need to remember freedom is not free nor a gift. And, we need to remember those who paid for our freedom with their lives. Let’s Remember!

Now, mostly during these same four years, much of my family’s history has come to light. We now can reach back to the mid-1700’s and substantiate our earliest known ancestor, John Broddy (Broady). Much of what we now know about John, our 4th grandfather, relates to the American Revolutionary War. We also know that John was a slave owned by General William Campbell and General Campbell led the famous battle known as the Battle of Kings Mountain. John was present with General Campbell at the time of the battle and was later given his freedom in part

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Arthur, Loretta, and Patricia (sister)

because of his loyal service to his commander during the American Revolutionary War.

The photo was taken during the recent dedication of a marker (October 2016) placed at Kings Mountain National Military Park in South Carolina. The marker commemorates John’s presence together with several other Afro-Americans during the famous Battle of Kings Mountain. Most of the credit for the marker goes to Ms. Loretta Cozart, Regent of the Colonel Frederick Hambright Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, who spearheaded a seven year campaign to procure and erect the marker.

As a proud veteran, I am very grateful for the service of all veterans who served before me and those who have served after me. I enjoy my relationship with many of my veteran friends. However, there is a very special place in my heart for those friends who served during the Vietnam War and died during their service. It is my honor to share their names each year and to help us not forget them or their sacrifices. Three of the four played high school football with me and were very close friends. All four men completed high school and volunteered for the military immediately afterwards. Let’s Remember them…and all the rest who served and never returned to civilian life. 

This Memorial Day, I again salute Danny Watkins from Meadowview, Virginia; Michael Charles and Kenneth Delaney both from Bristol, Virginia; and Frank Campbell from Chilhowie, Virginia.

This Memorial Day was also special because my commVietnam Veterans Memorial Oct 15 2007   unity had on display the traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. This is an awesome and humbling visual accounting of the enormous loss of human treasure. This is a time of remembrance, honor, and respect.

While we are doing some remembering, I wish to add to my list of veterans my long time personal friend Curtis (Duck) Montgomery who recently passed away. You “Friends” have become aware of “Duck” from my Posts Veterans Day highlighting his military service.

Marty

Cousin Marty

Curtis Montgomery

Curtis “Duck” Montgomery

Duck was that “one of a kind” type and truly blessed with a long and fruitful life. He certainly saw and experienced much in his life-time including war. He passed away at age 101 having lived a life certainly deserving of honor, respect, and remembrance.

I can also add to those being remembered on Memorial Day, my cousin Marty. He was a wonderful family man, devoted son and brother, who lived a life full of compassion and love for those with special needs. He passed away on Memorial Day last year.

We Congratulate Angela

Great job getting that Masters! “Friends”, although Angela has spent much of her time in Costa Rica since obtaining her undergraduate degree, she continued

Angela Graduation.png

Angela at Graduation

pursuing her Masters Degree through the School of International Training focusing on Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. She made it and this is a very strong testimony regarding Angela’s character and intellect.

 

Recall “Friends”, over three years ago when the Learning Center decided with our help to employ a strong and dedicated Executive Director to lead the Learning Center to a higher level of operation. Angela was selected as the right person to take on that challenge and was successful. “Friends of Copey” has for three years now provided financial support for the Executive Director’s position.

Angela will be returning to Costa Rica this week and to get things ready to lead the guests to the doorsteps of Emory & Henry College. When she returns our guests to Copey, she will depart the country once more to take on a summer faculty position at Brandeis University.

“Friends” once again it is very obvious we are a part of so many different things going on around us.

Finally, I leave in the next couple days for Virginia and Tennessee. The trip will be very special since it will include attending a Trustee’s meeting, visiting kids and grandkids, spending time with Angela, Ana Yancy, and the Copey students. It will also include visiting my four wonderful aunts including the now very famous Aunt Katherine, and even attending a Broady reunion.

Yes, just another typical day in my life!

 

 

 

“Friends…Bring the Gift of Joy”

“I cannot even imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy.”         By Chuck Swindoll

“So far my experience in Costa Rica has been nothing but enjoyable and an enormous blessing” are the words written by Melody after spending her first week at the Copey Learning Center as a Emory & Henry College student volunteer. She is obviously experiencing the joy and sense of satisfaction both Casey and Xavier shared with us last year when they were volunteers at the Center. Melody has a student Blog set up to periodically document her experience in Costa Rica.  She and I both invite you to check in on her at times and learn about her experiences.  http://melodyincostarica2017.weebly.com/

Angela and her husband traveled back to the US last week to attend Angela’s graduation. She has received her Masters Degree and is sharing this wonderful educational achievement with her husband and family. She will then return to Copey to get ready to take on the “Pathway Project” and lead our guests to the US on June 10th.US Flag.2

Wondering how the “Pathway Project” fundraising campaign is going? The official end date for this campaign was May 20th. Last week I reported in my Post we had raised 38.9% of our goal. The same day, the amount jumped to 70.4%.  At the official close of the campaign…. Drum Roll Please!

 

We are now at 83.9% or $435.00 short of our goal. However, my sources inform me there are still funds not yet accounted for. Consequently, it is full steam ahead and we look forward to another successful experience.

Tracking 5.

As you recall, about 20 selected college friends and affiliates were called on to help raise the funds to support the “Pathway Project” in 2017.

As of today, there has been about a 60% response rate. This is noteworthy as far as fundraising goes. And, I am deeply appreciative for the obvious generosity demonstrated in support of this project.  Those who have responded to date…Thank You!

I hope everyone among the “Friends” clearly understands the significance of the “Pathway Project”.

The “Pathway Project” is providing life-changing experiences for two more young students. Fatima and Adriana are soon to leave their rural community to travel to America. They will bring with them the thoughts and prayers of their families, their friends, and their community. They will have experiences while in America most in their community may never experience. Many Copey moms and dads do not speak any English and most likely have not ever been to North America. It is impossible for us to imagine what it must feel like for these moms and dads seeing children from their community leaving for America. Under these circumstances, it could only happen with the “Pathway Project” and the involvement of “Friends”.

fatima

Fatima

Last year, when Noelia and Celeste returned home from America, they returned home as inspirational and motivational leaders. Noelia and Celeste shared their experiences with other students and have been very helpful preparing Fatima and Adriana for their trip.

Dr. Gaia and many others on the E&H College campus have done a remarkable job getting everything set up and in place for their arrival. The students will have a week of recreation including hiking and biking, visiting interesting sites, concerts, and many other activities.

Their second week will be attending the Summer Scholars Institute and Leadership Program on campus. They will meet many American students their age and spend their time sharing and learning. Just as the students last year, Fatima and Adriana will return home living proof that great things can happen to you when you really work at being excellent students.

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Adriana

The “Pathway Project” is all this and certainly more. Such experiences cause students to dream and to hope. In fact, we believe the entire Copey community is being transformed by this project.

 

By calling on selected donors to support this, it also serves as an invitation to share in the excitement and success of a very worthwhile, extraordinary, amazing, productive, and successful experience.

Please make plans to join in on the time Angela, Ana Yancy, Fatima, and Adriana will be on campus at E&H College. They are expected to arrive June 12th and depart on June 24th. I will be with them during the week of June 12th.

Based on last year’s experience, you will not be disappointed.

 

 

 

 

 

Mom…Life’s Bungee Cord!

“My prayer was, ‘God, let me do well enough to be able to take care of my mother.’ I was able to do that ’til the day she died.”     by   Tyler Perry

We just spent the weekend celebrating Mother’s Day and this allows me to reflect on the great memories Mom left me. I certainly appreciated Mom during her life but it seems I have grown to appreciate her even more since her passing. Her influence seems to continue especially with the ongoing support for the Anne G. Broady Scholarship Fund (AGB Scholarship Fund).

Anne G. Broady Scholarship Fund

The AGB Scholarship Fund has provided us the opportunity to help others in Mom’s name and provide both family and friends a meaningful avenue to honor Mom’s memory.  At times, a “Friend” will write me a note saying, “I am sure your Mom would be proud of the work you do with the Learning Center”. Such a compliment is warmly received by me and I am sure Mom would feel deeply honored and humbled that she is associated with an effort to help another…especially a young person. Since the inception of the AGB Scholarship Fund in early 2014, more than 70 students have received financial support.

This same financial support has played a part in the education of our students selected to travel to the US both last year and soon in June. These recipients of the AGB Scholarship Fund have successfully learned English and now have a more promising educational future waiting on them. I do not have words to express how wonderful it was to converse in English with Noelia and Celeste last year. Without the Learning Center and possibly without the AGB Scholarship Fund, neither Noelia nor Celeste would have learned to speak English and certainly would not have traveled to the US at such young ages.

The Pathway Project Update  

We continue to make progress on the fundraising campaign to cover the travel expenses for our four guests coming to America in June. We have a week to go to hit our goal of $2,700.00. We are tracking behind our schedule some but the journey for our guests is not in jeopardy. The “Progress” chart indicates the funds received so far. However, there are funds promised but not yet received.   As “Friends”, we are taking on a major responsibility to get the students here for a visit. Being accountable for raising the funds to cover the airfare, hotel rooms, meals, rental car and fuel to support four guests is a big deal when the plan is to rely on the generosity of a few selected friends for support. We even go a step further…! We want the students to experience some of America; our country’s capital, some of our famous tourist sites, engage in some recreational activities including hiking, biking, and other fun events.  Our goal to raise $2,700 translates into $675.00 per person and this is a real bargain. Our 23 selected donors (all Emory & Henry College affiliated) for this effort will meet the challenge.

The New Learning Center Update

The paperwork to initiate Stage 2 is getting minimum attention at this time while I continue working my various community service projects I am committed to during this time of year.

Recall, when I announced our decision to move to Stage 2, I also announced the very serious work on this project would be delayed until the summer. This is by no means an unimportant project waiting on the sidelines for us to undertake. We have a lot of very hard work ahead of us to get this new facility moved on to Stage 3…construction!

On this note, thanks for your ongoing patience. This will be a true test of will and determination. I have grown to know the heart of the Copey community and I look forward to the potential and the promise the new Learning Center offers all of us involved.

Stay connected!

Give To What you Believe in…Believe In What You Give!

“Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have…give I to thee!”                   Peter   Acts 3:6

As I mentioned last week, things are very busy and this week is no exception. Based on my understanding, all of the current volunteer staff at the Learning Center have completed their commitment and are moving on. This break in the volunteer support is naturally a disruption in teaching services but an unavoidable one while being

Daniel

Daniel at work

dependent on volunteers.

We thank Daniel, Lashawn, and Katie who are now moving on to other challenges. As with all volunteers at the Learning Center, the time spent in the Copey community and with the Learning Center students provides life-long memories and sense of accomplishments.

Katie and Lashawn

Katie and Lashawn

The good news is that Melody, our Emory & Henry College volunteer is now at the Learning Center to provide some much-needed assistance. I am waiting to hear about other potential volunteers who may be also on site.

Coming to America

The special fundraiser to help cover the expenses for the four travelers; Fatima, Adriana, Ana Yancy, and Angela is officially underway. We got off to a great start last week by

Tracking

receiving donations representing about 32% of our goal. What is unique about this specific fundraiser is that primarily only E&H College affiliated “Friends” requested to support the “Pathway Project”.

In 2016, only 23 requests were sent to only former graduates or other E&H College affiliated supporters. The goal was to have the very first “Pathway Project” completely funded by E&H College folks. These college “Friends” responded in great style and exceeded the goal by almost 60%. This spoke very highly of both the quality and worthiness of the “Pathway Project” and the great generosity of those connected to my college.

This year, the official request was sent again to 100% E&H College affiliated “Friends” and as anticipated, positive responses are arriving. In addition, a dear friend and brother in Honolulu has made a donation to the travel fund. So, this year we expect to have a mostly E&H funded “Pathway Project”. We have only two weeks left for the campaign and I trust we will have similar success as last year.

For the record, the “Pathway Project” is unique and not duplicated by any programs I am familiar with involving international students or exchange student programs. We are reaching deep into a rural community with very limited resources to provide another two high school students an academic related trip to an American college campus. The short and long-term impact on the lives of these students, their families, and the community are beyond measuring.

Next week, I will provide the second of four updates on our fundraising progress. So please keep a watchful eye.

The New Learning Center Update

As we all know, the official start of Stage 2 has not begun. It will start soon and likely in July. There are things going on behind the scenes even now. In keeping with my promise to continue providing some updates on this emerging project, consider the following.

At times I look back on old Posts. What I sometimes find is very surprising to me. First, the reality that we have come this far (many but not all of us) without much more than the identity of being “Friends”. I also find that we truly do move along with a lot of faith and dedication. I am surprised to see some of the quotes I selected and the titles of some of my Posts. Both of these seem to come at a time when I am really inspired or feeling very emotional.

I wrote a Post titled “Are You a Possiblitarian” on February 28, 2016. I never had used that term “Possiblitarian” before and I am not certain where it actually came from. However, it has remained with me along with the words that followed:Copey Learning Center Exterior Perspective View 001 (2).jpg                “My Friends, we are surely “Possiblitarians”. I enjoy the positive messages Dr. Norman Vincent Peale provided over the years. He encouraged “raising our sights and see possibilities-always see them for they’re always there.” 

The Learning Center along with “Friends” represent the thinking and imagination of “Possiblitarians”. You being a “Friend”, qualifies you as such.”

Who in their right mind would believe that a New Learning Center could be built in a small and rural town such as Copey, Costa Rica? The location, the distance, the financing, and a host of other obstacles all provide plenty reasons to take on far less demanding projects. The question regarding who would entertain such a project is a great question. The only possible answer is…a band of “Possiblitarians”.  You know…those people who dare to raise their sights and see possibilities! 

Back on February 28, 2016, I asked if you were a “Possiblitarian”? So far, the evidence based on our accomplishments suggest we are. Stay tuned!

 

 

 

Oh…To Reach Beyond!

“Vision – It reaches beyond the thing that is, into the conception of what can be. Imagination gives you the picture. Vision gives you the impulse to make the picture your own.”        by Robert Collier

Greetings my “Friends”. Wow…we are truly moving into the very active time of the year for us and for the Learning Center. In addition to the daily educational efforts being performed by some very talented volunteers at the Learning Center, there are a number of other activities under way which are exciting as well.

This is the week Melody will board the plane heading to San Jose where she will be met

town of copey

The Copey Community

by members of the Learning Center and transported to Copey. Upon arrival in Copey, she will be introduced to her new host family who will provide her both food and shelter for about 5 weeks. She will also meet the staff and the children as well as the community. Last week, we kicked off the official fund-raising efforts to support the travel costs for Fatima, Adriana, Ana Yancy, and Angela. I have called on my friends who are affiliated with Emory & Henry College to support this activity.

The Learning Center is experiencing newer and broader interest from within the Seidycountry. I am providing the Copey Learning Center’s Facebook link. There, you will find a couple Costa Rican television interviews (April 19th and April 4th) with Seidy Rodriguez. Seidy is the founder of the Learning Center. These television productions discuss the success of the Learning Center and reaches a very broad audience within the country. Look for Canal Altavision Video reference for the dates listed above.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/CopeyLC/posts/?ref=page_internal

To put this in perspective, a small rural community of 500 is now attracting the interest of television producers because of the work being done at the Learning Center. It is produced in Spanish so you will need to have your Spanish speaking skills up to date to get the full effect. However, please…please take the time to find out one way or another the message being provided. THIS is very important and will be very useful in our efforts to obtain funding for a new facility. You seldom have an opportunity to hear a member of the Copey community speak… this a great opportunity.

The New Learning Center Update

My intentions are to provide some information about the New Learning Center in several of the upcoming Posts. This week I want to share the vision we have for this new facility as we prepare to move this forward.

Under the current Learning Center concept, it is primarily an educational resource for the Copey community. Its vision is to help students learn English while fostering concepts in conservation, restoration, and recycling. This is aimed mostly at young students although some adults are also learning English.

The new and emerging vision of the New Learning Center plans to continue the original vision while it expands its interests in other related social and environmental areas. Subject to some modifications as we move along, the New Learning Center has 5 classrooms included in the current design. In conjunction with teaching English, we believe some space can be devoted to the development of a cultural resource center serving as a key destination point for neighbors around the region, throughout the country, and tourists visiting Costa Rica.

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There is interest having a facility that could accommodate “distant learning” opportunities using classroom space for students being taught post secondary courses by off-sight professors and instructors using Skype type technology.

Finally, the New Learning Center’s additional classroom space may also provide local economic opportunities as it attempts to develop interest in being the site for incubation initiatives related to “sustainable living” and “eco-tourism” concepts.

Once built, we all can envision that over time, the New Learning Center will have evolved into a multi-purpose facility serving the educational needs of a local and regional student population while becoming one of the key cultural centers for the region and maybe the country. And, the new facility is serving the Copey community by providing economic development opportunities while becoming the “Center of Excellence” for new “sustainable living” technologies.

Certainly, this is a “BIG” vision but each part is worthy of both consideration and effort. From my experience, Copey is a very special community with some extraordinary people willing to do the “BIG” stuff. As “Friends of Copey”, we should be all in on this one. Thanks to all.