JoAnn's great grandmother was married to a merchant mariner. This meant that the man of the house wasn't in the house for months at a time. He must have been home occasionally, because they had a house full of children - twelve (12) in all.

As one might expect, the family lived a "hand-to-mouth" existence. Some folks with the Salvation Army in the region of Schiedam, The Netherlands noted the plight of the destitute family. To assist, the Salvation Army personnel began to leave milk, bread, cheese and other necessities on the doorstep for the family. Noting the kindness of these strangers, the family began to attend church services at the Salvation Army. Ultimately, the children became increasingly involved in Salvation Army service.

As we look back within JoAnn's family, that simple act of giving resulted in a sizeable number of Hoogstad family members giving their lives in service through the auspices of the Salvation Army. The poor mother's grandson, John became a Salvation Army officer, and at the time of his death, he had attained the rank of major. At training school, he met a beautiful young woman who was also destined to become a major in the Salvation Army. The couple married and had three children. John, JoAnn and Jaqueline.

In addition to both of JoAnn's parents being Salvation Army officers, others in the family were in the "Army" as well. After JoAnn's father died, her mother re-married another Salvation Army officer. Also, there are several cousins in service as officers within the Salvation Army.

The lesson here is quite simple but profound. One act of kindness led to a magnificent legacy of service by the benefactors of that thoughtful deed. The legacy continues through at least four generations of this one family.

Therefore, consider the potential for good that comes from an act of kindness that stems from love and compassion for others. The original players in this story, the Salvation Army personnel, probably had no knowledge how much sprang forth as a result of their sharing and caring for a poor wife and family of a merchant mariner.

As you hear the "silver bells" that ring out in the malls and on the streets during this holiday season, think of this story as you place a generous donation into the kettle so the Salvation Army can continue its work. Also, be reminded that those kind acts you commit can bring untold benefits and joy to others for a great long while.

May your Holidays be filled with love and opportunities to help others. Remember: "Rotary Shares".

JoAnn and Dave