Commentary

printed 11/29/2019

Picking just one thing for which northern Worcester County residents should be thankful would result in a selection from among the usual suspects: the lifestyle, the beach, ocean, the proximity to major cities, good schools, and other attributes that often overshadow the one big thing that makes this area what it is: the incredible generosity of the people who live here.

If there is a specific trait that sets this area apart from so many others, it’s the widely held belief that charitable giving is the right thing to do.

That virtue was exhibited most recently by Rolfe and Ioana Gudelsky, whose $4 million gift to Atlantic General Hospital was announced during last Friday’s wrap party for the hospital’s Campaign for the Future.

As stunning as that contribution is, it should not be that surprising, considering the Gudelsky family’s long history of philanthropy in this state and elsewhere. The desire to support good causes is something that Homer and Martha Gudelsky passed down to their children and, in this instance, their grandchildren.

But as Rolfe Gudelsky observed after the donation was revealed, the inspiration for this largesse was the generosity exhibited by so many residents of varying degrees of personal wealth. Almost everyone who can will chip in money or their services for a worthy cause.

Some residents are known for it, albeit reluctantly, while others proceed so quietly that only their accountants and the recipients know about the good works they’ve done. Regardless, the motive — helping others — remains the same.

Years ago, when asked to write a profile of the coastal communities for a regional publication, the result we delivered was not what anyone expected. This essay contained no references to restaurants, entertainment, the beach, local history or community origins and lifestyles.

It concentrated almost exclusively on the one thing about which outsiders knew little: the incredible generosity of the people who live here.

As thankful as we are for the coastal area’s assets and circumstances, we are most appreciative of the people who, in ways large and small, give back to make it better.

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