Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is a time of year for giving thanks.  That’s such an active phrase, isn’t it?  Giving thanks.  And yet, the way we typically express it is more introspective than that…a silent moment of gratitude in between fork-fulls of turkey and dressing!  A feeling watching the news at night that we’re so lucky to be living here and being alive.  Moments of reflection.  Quiet gratitude.  But, at Banyan we have so much to be actively thankful for.

We look forward to doing our work everyday.  Knowing the work matters, knowing that we’re helping to improve people’s lives is an amazing gift.  We are so grateful to each person we work with as clients for trusting in us and allowing us the freedom to explore.  Your knowledge and insights make our work more creative and make us better at everything we do.  Thank you.

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And, we love the process of “getting there.”  Being able to collaborate with teams of people who each see things in a unique way and express their ideas differently is enervating to the core!  Our staff and our clients come to the table with their very best every day.  Each of us is surrounded by people who think creatively, are passionate about doing great work, and are willing to strive far to get the right results.  Being around great people makes us think and act with greatness.  Thank you.

And, I am humbled by our own staff in that they truly bring their words of compassion to action by donating cans of food to the poor and running in charitable marathons throughout the year.  Now, we’re raising money to give to food banks for the holidays — all inspired by our Banyan team. Thank you.

Enjoy this wonderful holiday season with your loved ones, friends, families, colleagues, and pets. We truly do all have so much to be thankful for.

 

Thank You, Veterans

My family tree is dotted with those who have served our country: An uncle who was a pilot after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy. A grandfather who served in World War II. Another in Korea.

I remember interviewing my grandfather about his time as a medic in Korea for a project, part of my former life as a journalism student. It was the only time I ever heard him talk about his service. The conversation didn’t last long. Even with 50 years standing between his time on the battlefield and my questions, the memories were too painful to discuss.

It’s a certain sort of incredible person who serves our country. I’m honored and humbled to be related to those brave enough to fight and fortunate enough to come home.

And I’m in good company at Banyan. Turns out a lot of us are related to men and women who served in our armed forces—nearly 40 of them, in fact.

They are our husbands, fathers, grandfathers, cousins, uncles, great-uncles, aunts, great-aunts, and brothers-in-law.

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Time spent in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq. A Royal Marine, a Marine pilot, an Air Force captain, a paratrooper who received a Purple Heart three times over. Not to mention those who are currently serving in conflicts today.

So today seems as good a day as any to say “thank you,” for what our veterans have done and still do to keep all of us safe. It’s inspirational change for good—the good of our country—that makes all of us proud.

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Change for Good | Boys Town

A couple of weeks ago, I spent a Friday in Omaha, Nebraska. Home of Godfather’s Pizza and Father Flanagan’s BoysTown. We were here to see the latter.

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Before we even arrived I knew this trip was going to be a memorable experience. Banyan’s working relationship with BoysTown spans decades…longer than the sum of my whole professional career.  And the work they do to heal families and help youth is inspiring. It’s been a joy to work with this organization, and it was an absolute privilege to be able to represent Banyan on BoysTown campus.

I truly was not prepared for what I was about to see.

First, we passed the school buildings, beautiful mid-century modern structures spread across scenic surroundings on a crisp fall day. Some kids were going to and from classes. It could have been any private prep school.

Next, we observed The BoysTown National Hotline call center, answer phone calls around the clock from all across the country.

As we drove through campus, we saw some of the 70 homes that host at-risk kids. A host family – usually a couple, sometimes with their own children – runs each house. BoysTown creates a safe, stable, and nurturing environment for kids who really need it the most.

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We also spent some time at the Hall of History. The entrance of the museum illustrates that the problems of abused and neglected children are not new to society. The museum takes you on a journey of how BoysTown came together; you can see a model floor plan of one of the host homes.

You can also see Spencer Tracy’s Academy Award for the 1938 film about BoysTown, starring Mickey Rooney. Another award on display is a national Emmy that Banyan helped win on behalf of BoysTown in 2000.

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Finally, we visited the chapel and the tomb where Dr. Flanagan is laid to rest. Did you know there’s an effort to get this man canonized!? It’s a lengthy process for sure, but how cool would sainthood be? I was beginning to wonder if he could’ve envisioned what BoysTown would become, when he took in those first five orphaned boys. Whatever the vision, I think it was big.

Speaking of which, did you know BoysTown hospital is a world leader in hearing research? Neither did I. Some of the more recent additions to campus include a behavioral health center and a brand new hospital!

There’s still acres to spare at BoysTown, and I’m sure it will continue to evolve. Hopefully I (we) can play some small role in creating that kind of change for good.