Chaplain Sharon Kugler: 'This is my United Way story'
University Chaplain Sharon Kugler recently sent out the following message to members of the Yale and New Haven communities to describe her dedication to supporting the United Way. Faculty and staff members can donate to the 2016-2017 Yale United Way Campaign here.
Giving to the United Way is part of my DNA. My dad, who passed away in 2007 at the age of 91, was a life-long United Way supporter. He taught his children with great enthusiasm the importance of giving back.
Dad was orphaned at the age of 9. He came of age during the Great Depression. His heart and his life were broken. Throughout his early years he had to rely on the good will of others, often strangers, to simply survive.
In his teens he began to work as a janitor at the Western Electric Company, where his late father worked. Dad, who was unable to afford a college education, stayed with the company for over 45 years and eventually became a regional manager.
Every year when the United Way campaign would launch he would bring home the latest lapel pin and I would gleefully add it to my growing collection. Dad always stressed to us that if you are so fortunate as to earn a living, then you must always think of ways to give to others. Even though my dad had a very difficult time growing up he remained to his dying day a person of good humor with a grateful and generous heart.
I give to United Way because of the love of my dad. His survival story along with countless others reminds me every day of the connectedness of the human family and how acts of kindness and generosity can heal the most broken of lives.
With warm wishes for the coming recess and holiday, and with gratitude for all that you do to sustain our campus and hometown community,
Sharon M.K. Kugler