There are examples aplenty of area movers and shakers approaching the later years of their lives and still making the region better in myriad ways.
Pulverman manufacturing founder Randy Mark is just the latest example, having made a substantial contribution to help Wilkes University create a new, state-of-the-art engineering center. Indeed, our area colleges and universities are awash in buildings, schools and facilities that memorialize such people. Businessman-turned-philanthropist John Passan donated money to both Wilkes and Misericordia universities to further their health care programs, for example.
The list is long, at institutions of higher education and elsewhere. The Kirby family has showered the area with a wide range of support in health care and entertainment, the late Al Boscov helped the region in many ways while alive, and that work continues this fall with the “Blanket from Al” project collecting new blankets for those in need.
That people who owe their success to what the region gave them decide to give back is not new. It is the way things should be, on scales both grand and sublime. It’s natural and noble to want to repay those who helped you get where you are, and to pay forward to those who, you hope, will do the same in the future.
That’s a big reason to celebrate events like the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce’s third annual Young Professionals Awards handed out Tuesday before a crowd of more than 300 people. All 11 awards went to people under the age of 40, making them in many ways quite literally the area’s future.
It is heartening to see people in their 20s and 30s being acknowledged for everything from philanthropy and education to volunteering and community advocacy. Having all those youthful faces smiling on the pages of Wednesday’s paper makes it easier to believe things will keep getting better.
“It’s very important for the Chamber to get young professionals involved in the community,” Chamber chief operating officer Lindsay Bezick said, offering an observation as fundamentally true as it is important. “For us, seeing what they are doing and hearing how they are making an impact is important.”
Absolutely, and the Chamber deserves credit for making that happen.
It’s grand that there are already so many who accomplished much in the region and used their success to give the next generation a head start, or to give back to the community through support of the arts and other philanthropic endeavors. It’s a tradition that needs to continue for Luzerne County to continue to improve. Encouraging young people to do the same is essential.
“It’s huge for young people to get involved in their community. There were a lot of great innovators in the room tonight,” Influencer of the Year award winner Dan Landesberg from Geisinger said. Then he added a sentence that said it all.
“The true test of leadership is mentoring the next generation to help move us forward.”