Al Campbell - Use this One

Managing Editor Emeritus Al Campbell

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It's easy to spend someone else's money. Between time on the treadmill and in the shower, thoughts form that help me spend vast sums that belong to other people.

Consider the latest horse race to become a presidential candidate. All who profess to represent the "common man (or woman)" are, as some might say, "Fairly well off."

As I watched the seconds fly into minutes on the treadmill, I pondered what I might do if I possessed obscene wealth, like some of the folks who are trying to get the vote to change their address to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

One thought came to mind: Instead of spending vast amounts of cash to win votes to put me where I'd hate to be for a four-year sentence, I would reach out to as many charitable institutions as I could, and ask for a proposal how they would spend $5 million. (Or any other number bigger or smaller, depending on my wealth.)

After I gathered them and decided which ones would get my loot, I would then announce my candidacy for office, and add, "Now that I have told the public my desire to ask for their vote, I hereby declare that no more money will be spent seeking that office. It is my intention to distribute (let's say a total of $500 million) among charitable institutions in each state. Further, having assisted those places, I would fully fund a four-year college scholarship to two outstanding students from each state."

Having done that, I would maintain a public presence but would refrain from the nation's airwaves and mailboxes with advertisements attesting to my humble roots and my ability to achieve greatness. Instead, I would watch what the money, otherwise spent to publicize me, could do to benefit thousands of people across the land.

Think about what generosity did and can do. Consider Milton S. Hershey and what the man chocolate made famous and wealthy did with his estate.

In a recent edition of the Herald, there was an announcement that the Milton Hershey School was recruiting students from Cape May County. The event will take place March 10, at 6 p.m., at Castaway Cafe, 301 Bayshore Rd., Villas.

Those who attend will learn how Milton Hershey School’s pre-K through 12th-grade education offerings and home life structure could create a brighter future for children. The session will explore the technology-driven education and hands-on learning opportunities.

Milton Hershey School is a cost-free, private, coeducational school in Hershey, Pa., for children from families of lower-income. Surely, there are plenty of them in Cape May County.

It provides a positive, nurturing home life year-round, so children have the skills necessary to be successful in all aspects of life. Students of all ages can participate in a variety of leadership and extracurricular activities – at no cost to their families.

One of my 4-H leaders was a product of that school. The values it instilled and the lessons learned carried him through a long, productive and satisfying life. Along the way, he imparted his skills to young people, who in turn, have carried on to others.

His life was proof that the caring, life-changing decision of an extremely wealthy man, who realized he couldn't take his money to the grave, but could make the world a better place one life at a time.

Imagine, for a moment, what such a selfless attitude could do to change the face of those who seek to oversee the nation for four years.

Could such a person be elected? Who knows? Regardless, it would be said by many who were helped by that individual when he or she is long gone, "What they did made a positive impact on my life."

In my book, that would be better than any president has done regardless of political party. 

For information and to register for the Milton Hershey School event, call 1-800-322-3248 or register online at mhskids.org.