A Reason to Give

October 11, 2018

Galilee is blessed by its generous congregation. You proved that at our Fall Work Day. Your active generosity overwelms us. Work Day organizer Bruce Vibbert is himself a stellar example of giving. A member of Galilee’s trustees, Bruce is always busy—we’re a bit in awe of him. He’s alway’s there with the right tool and the drive to fix things.

Why is Bruce so giving?

“I have been blessed,” says Bruce. “Blessed with a great upbringing, a great career, and a great wife and family. I have been blessed in more ways than I can count. And that has made a difference in battling serious health challenges.”

Jeff Appel relaxes with Bruce Vibbert while on a break at Fall Work Day, Saturday, September 29.

“I am one of seven people in my family to suffer Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. That’s a long way of saying that my lungs were shot. I received a lung transplant in 2014. Part of my rehabilitation meant finding things to do to build up my strength and stimulate recovery. More recently, I had to work to improve my strength after dealing with skin cancer and associated surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.”

“Fortunately for me, I like to fix stuff. Improving things around the house, in the community, and at church became an extension of “fixing” myself.”

“I believe strongly that who I am is a result of my young life. I had wonderful parents who sadly left this earth much too early, but my extended family supported me and offered their love at every turn.”

“As a kid, I loved to get dirty, I loved to figure things out. My parents were children of the Depression, so we didn’t buy a lot of extra stuff. I can‘t recall ever hiring a contractor to do something; we did it. I wanted a basketball court in our yard, for example. Rather than say no, my Dad said, “Go ahead and build one.” He provided the guidance as I constructed forms to outline a court, which a concrete truck filled it up. It was a neighborhood event! We made it smooth, put in the posts and backboard, and voila: one basketball court. That “build it” mentality is part of me.”

“My skills were honed when I took high school wood shop with Mr. Cardea. I dare say we each have a Mr Cardea in our lives, someone who influenced who we are today. We are a result of those who shaped us—a teacher, a Sunday school volunteer, a coach, or a minister. ”

Bruce makes times for friends and neighbors.

“I was blessed to have career which allowed me to apply my science degrees and make a difference at each stop along the way. I leveraged my skills and worked with many great people, earning enough to enable retirement without too much focus on paying the water bill: more time to give back.”

“I did none of this on my own. Faye Roberts said “yes” over 40 years ago and she supported every move and every wild adventure while raising two beautiful daughters. We travelled the country together, making friends as we followed the jobs and saw many national parks. Faye has been my foundation, supporting me and profoundly influencing my life. Behind the scenes or out in front, her influence has been immeasurable.”

“So, if you ask, “Why do I help others?” I have a reason. Maybe it’s obvious, but my new lung came from someone that passed away and it was a decision by a caring and thoughtful family that offered me a chance at continued life.  I am grateful.”

Bruce at an area hospital.

“Are you a donor?” Bruce asks. “Is there a reason you are not? If you can, offer the gift of life to another.”

“I know God has been with me in life. I may not have thought about it or always believed as I do today, but I know I have been blessed. I may never know exactly where God stepped in to help and guide me, but I like to think He was there offering a boat in the flood. And that I had enough sense not to hold out for a helicopter!”