general newsletter

Legacy – Message From the CEO

February 1, 2018
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my grandparents. Three of them were immigrants to this country and one was the child of recent immigrants. One grandmother came to the U.S. accompanied only by her 8 and 11 year old brothers, after their father had come ahead to earn enough for each of his ten children’s safe passage. She was six. Had all of them not fled Czarist Russia, they almost certainly would have perished in the Nazi onslaught three decades later. They came from the shtetl: poor, young, uneducated, and determined. They were fearful and full of hope. They were looking for a place to survive and thrive.

Today, I have cousins and siblings who are doctors and lawyers, engineers and teachers, manufacturers and business owners, civil servants, and social workers. One of my cousins was a U.S. Congressman and another was the U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland. My grandparents and their extended families would be proud and surprised. They came for a better life, for life itself, little could they imagine the contributions to their new home that their descendants would make.

I understand that the world has changed since the early 1900’s. I understand that threats to our country, and others, require increased security. But, I cannot understand how unifying families should not be encouraged and how providing a home to young people who are already demonstrating significant contributions should not be welcomed. I wonder where my generation would be if those before us had been turned away or deported. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my grandparents.

Lee Sherman, President & CEO