Drip! Drop! Drip! Drop! Drip! Drop!
Everyday for a week, when Jack looked out his Delaware window, the same dreary sight greeted him . . .
Grey clouds, grey skies, grey rain . . .
Drip! Drop! Drip! Drop! Drip! Drop!
. . . then in the midst of the drip! drop! came a ding dong!
The doorbell! It was a telegram delivery . . .
. . . a telegram whose contents would alter Jack’s life, and the lives of thousands of teenagers everywhere.
It read: “FOR SALE IN TAMPA BAY, FLORIDA . . . 3 DRUGSTORES”
Shortly thereafter, Jack Eckerd was on a airplane to sunny Florida to began carving out a very nice niche in the retail drugstore business.
Tired of where he had been, Jack left it all behind and began something new.
If I gave you all the details you would read about one man who
- decided at age 20 to become “a millionaire in his own right”
- who tried and failed more than once to win a political office
- whose simple but effective business mission was: “In any retail business on every decision you make . . . it had better be fair to your employees, stockholders and customers, (or) you aren’t going to make it and that decision isn’t going to be a good one.”
Jack took that simple philosophy and competed with the “big guys” of the drug store world . . . businesses like Liggett Drug and Walgreens. He did not just compete, he won. From that rainy day in 1951 to over $1 billion in sales, Jack Eckerd grew his family owned business into an empire.
Jack’s passion included more than business . . . he sincerely valued the youth of his times. His business profits gave him opportunities to finance educational programs for troubled youngsters, teen prison inmates and the general public.
After seeing a camp for troubled teens while on a trip to Texas, Jack returned to Florida and created a small boys camp on 880 acres in Brooksville, Florida. He believed in helping others and doing as much as possible to give back. He felt grateful to the state of Florida and lived his life finding ways to return the goodness he received. He is oftentimes quoted as saying, “An investment in children is an investment in the future of our country.”
Jack and Ruth Eckerd’s humble boys camp is now Eckerd Youth Alternatives (EYA), a nationwide organization with 40 plus programs involving more than 80,000 youth. It is one of the most influential not-for-profit organizations helping at-risk and high-risk youth and their families. The vision is simple here as well: “To ensure every child has the opportunity to succeed and the heart: (vision of the program) Believing in the innate goodness and potential in every child.”
Jack’s involvement with EYA led to the state of Florida asking him to create programs for teen prisoners. That request has grown and EYA is a leader in the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice treatment program, with “branches” in other states as well.
Through the years he has given over $20 million in gifts to a Florida college that later renamed the school: Eckerd College.
Wow! Look at what one man’s dream to escape the rain and do something productive with his life created!!
What do you want to do with your life?
Jack didn’t start out with a billon dollars and 1000’s of Eckerd Drug Stores. He started out with some debt and 3 failing stores, with a belief in people, and a philosophy of giving back.
How about you? Can you find one small way to give today? You never know to where that one gesture might lead.
Ginny Dye, Sandi Valentine & Suess Karlsson are a team of writers who all share a passion to empower and motivate everyone who they touch through their writing. Their stories are a gift to the world! Learn how to create the <a rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank” href=””success”>http://www.firefliesfortheheart.com””>success you dream of, overcome obstacles and challenges, and live a life of grace and love. Please visit us at http://www.firefliesfortheheart.com