Starfish Stories/Bill GrabemeyerPublished 5:26pm Monday, December 10, 2012
By KELLY MILLIN
DUHS Assistant Principal
“Do all the good you can … for every one you can… every time you can … for as long as you possibly can” (Luke 10:30-37).
These words can be found on Bill Grabemeyer’s personal business card, although
anyone who spends time with Bill will quickly realize that this sentiment directs his daily beliefs, thoughts and actions.
For Dowagiac Union High School, the impact of this ideology has affected the lives of students since 1993.
It was at this time Grabemeyer and his family sponsored a small group of marching band members for a trip to Walt Disney World in Florida.
Every trip since, Grabemeyer has sponsored students who would not otherwise have the opportunity to attend.
This year was no exception, as he and his wife sponsored five students.
The trip itself occurs every four years, and band members have the opportunity to attend only once during their high school career.
The cost of the trip includes transportation, food, lodging and evening
Most importantly, it includes private instructional time with members of the Walt
Disney World Music Department and the opportunity to march down Main Street.
Band members are responsible for the cost of the trip.
This year, it was my privilege to supervise a bus with Bill and other parent chaperones.
During our 22-hour bus ride, I asked Bill why he continued to sponsor students year after year because it was obvious his children had been out of school for some time. They are grown and hold prosperous careers of their own.
He made it sound so simple. He stated that, years ago when he realized some students would not be able to attend the trip, he decided he would send every kid that he could.
He believed good kids should not be excluded because of the lack of money. He explained he saw this as an opportunity, or even a responsibility, to share with those around him as he felt so very blessed with the resources in his life.
He went on to say he enjoys going along so he can make sure the kids he helps are having fun while they are there, simply “getting there” was not enough. He wanted to make certain they could participate fully in the experience. He has continued to contribute ever since.
It was my honor to get acquainted with Bill during the 2012-13 DUHS Chieftain Marching Band trip to Florida.
I share this story with Bill’s permission, but admit he prefers to do his work quietly and unnoticed as he was a bit reluctant to be recognized at first.
I truly hope to inspire others to help in the same way.
For that reason, he agreed to allow me to write about this experience.
To Bill and those he may inspire in the future, I say thank you.
It really does take a community to raise a child, and from the smiles on their faces, I KNOW that it does matter to this one … this one … this one … this one … and this one.