I write this post, not only as a tribute to Sarge Shriver, but also to my godfather, Edgar May, who was a dear friend of of his.
My godfather has an amazing story, one where, as a young child, he was able to leave Switzerland, with his mother and sister, all carrying “golden” visas to the United States.
Why were those “golden” visas? Because they were Jews escaping Nazi Europe, most Jews were not so lucky to obtain those Visas.
He spent his entire life in public service, as veteran of the Korean War, a journalist exposing welfare recipient abuse (he earned a pulitzer prize),as head of the OEO, and finally as a Vermont Senator.
Edgar met Sargent Shriver while working on the anti poverty campaign. He always admired his spirit and dedication to hard work. As my godfather is a true humanitarian, so was Sarge Shriver.
Here is the article in the Washington Post:
It took only a walk with Sargent Shriver to learn how deeply loved and loving he was. Former Peace Corps volunteers, from the early days of the program that he began in 1961, or ones just back from stints in Third World outposts, would stop Sarge to thank him, embrace him and tell him stories about their life-changing service.
Countless others approached him on airport concourses, city sidewalks and elsewhere: people whose lives were changed because of the anti-poverty programs that Shriver started in the Johnson administration – Legal Services, Head Start, Job Corps, Community Action,VISTA, Upward Bound. Or the parents of children in Special Olympics, the program began by Shriver and his wife, Eunice, that revolutionized the way we treat those with mental disabilities.