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David's Speech - 2014

Good morning, I am David Martin and I am a graduate from the class of 1983. I am here today to talk about the annual Thanksgiving drive. But before I do, I need to say it is awesome out here this morning. Isn’t it nice to be here at assembly and not have sweat run down your back or drip off your brow?  This weather can only mean one thing. Fall is here and the holidays will be upon us soon enough. We have a lot to be thankful for this time of year, we get a month or two of comfortable weather, the football team is having a great season, and it’s just the right time of year to be thankful and take some time to celebrate.

There are some, though, who don’t have a lot to celebrate this time of year. Some people are at home right now trying to decide whether they are going to pay the electric bill, buy medicine, or buy groceries. There are many less fortunate than us.

While no one’s life or situation is perfect, all of us have much to be thankful for – thankful for our families, our friends, teachers, coaches, the hot lunch or dinner we will have today. Many people right here in our city, right here in this neighborhood need our help today and many other days throughout the year.

This year our Thanksgiving drive will touch more than 450 families. That is no small task, and it is something that each of you should take pride in. This could not happen without everyone’s help and generosity.

But why do we do it? Why do we set aside time and money each year to do this? Some of you might say you do it to get out of class in order to deliver the baskets….that’s great. Congrats. Always nice to get out early…right?

We, my class, do this for two reasons. The first, the obvious, is to engage in our community and help those who need some assistance. And that’s a great thing. The second reason, and in my opinion an even better reason, is so that you can see and think about and understand how you as a Jesuit High School student and a simple Thanksgiving basket can directly, positively impact someone’s life…..even if it is just for a day. Our hope is that as you become more aware of your place in the community, as you continue to develop your own thoughts and opinions as to what being a ‘man for others’ means to you; that basket delivery day gives you the opportunity to see how you…as an individual, can make a difference. That is a powerful thing!

Our wish as a the class of ‘83 and as a part of the Jesuit community as a whole, is that  by the example of providing turkeys for the drive, we will  help open your eyes to see the need, to become engaged, to find your thing. Our thing is turkeys. Happened almost by accident. It certainly wasn’t on purpose, but we have identified with the need and have stuck with it. What will your class’ ‘thing’ be? Which class will continue the Jesuit tradition of service long after you have graduated? Will it be the seniors? Will it be the pre-freshman? Will it be one of the classes in between? Hopefully, it will be each of you and all of you. Find your ‘thing’, your cause, and go with it. When it comes to being a man for others, there really is no wrong answer.

As Christians, we are called to give. We are called to give back to the community….blindly.

Yes, I’ve heard some of the feedback. Some of the baskets get delivered to homes which have nicer things than you or I have at our homes. Some people take the baskets without offering a simple ‘thank you’. Others expect to receive the baskets as some sort of inalienable right. That’s ok. Don’t expect gratitude. Don’t expect a ‘thank you’. Don’t judge whether you think someone is deserving or not. That is not our job.

Our job is to serve as Christ served….blindly and with humility.

So today, I challenge each of you who have the good fortune of delivering a basket, to look each person in the eye. Remember their faces. Not to take pity on them. Not to make yourself realize how fortunate you are in relation to them. Not to have a face to which you assign prejudices and stereotypes. But rather do this and remember their faces because none of us knows what the face of Christ will look like today and none of us knows what the face of Christ will look like tomorrow. 

In closing, my hope is that in years to come you will remember those faces and remember some of the lives you touched and made just a little bit better, even if just for a day. And that one of the classes here, a group of you, some of you, or just one of you will hear the call of service and carry the 'men for others’ torch into the future.

God bless all of you and happy Thanksgiving.

Class of 83 Thanksgiving Drive -> Project 83

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