Day Nine: I’m Thankful For…Mr. Milton S. Hershey

Preface: Last year I decided to express my thanks during the month of November for something new each day, as so many others have done before me. I never finished this series, so that’s my goal this year. I am re-posting the ones I wrote last year and adding new ones. This was originally posted on 11/09/12 (with slight changes made today).

I used to say that if I could meet any historical figure it would be James Madison. While I would still love to sit down with Mr. Madison, I have a new answer to that question: Mr. Milton S. Hershey, truly one of the world’s greatest men.

In a world filled with greed and selfishness, hearing stories and accounts of truly amazing and generous people is very refreshing. Mr. Hershey fits the very definition of selflessness.

In 1909, Mr. & Mrs. Hershey decided to start a school for orphaned boys, as they couldn’t have children of their own. The school still exists today and has 1,850 students who live here and are educated, fed, clothed, taken care of medically/dentally, etc.,  for free. Mr. Hershey gave his entire fortune, twice, to the school to ensure that it could exist FOREVER, and the school is still here more than 100 years later! It’s the whole reason that the Chocolate and the other properties exist today – to help fund the school. 

In the past three years of working for one of his companies and for his school, I have learned so much about the man and his vision. The more I learn, the more I love and respect him, even though I’ve never had the privilege of meeting him. Without Mr. Hershey’s vision and determination this would likely still be a rural area with a struggling economy, and thousands of boys and girls would never have been impacted by the school that he and his wife began. And it all started with chocolate. 🙂

Now that we work for the Milton Hershey School (caring for HIS kids), I am even more thankful for what he left as a legacy (to read more about why we love working for MHS, see this post). He was a man determined to put others before himself and he was always focused on giving his wealth where it was most needed. These kids have a safe, loving environment to grow up in at no cost to them or their families…all because Mr. Hershey didn’t see wealth as something to hold on to, but something to give to those in need.

He built the entire town of Hershey for his employees–that they might have a great place to live, work, and play. I have loved living in and near Hershey for the past few years, surrounded by such a rich history.

There’s so much more that could be said about him. I’m so thankful that he was not blinded by his wealth, nor was he selfish. Instead, he gave it all away so that “his kids” would be funded indefinitely and ensured of a better life. And that’s a great reason to buy Hershey’s Chocolate 🙂

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