the extraordinary last hour of a life

The other day, I was on the phone listening to a caller I didn’t know talk about a banking service I didn’t need.

As my mind wandered to my long todo list, I started losing patience and getting annoyed with the caller and the person who had made the introduction. I decided to cut the conversation short by thanking the caller and extending an invitation to a fundraiserI was hosting to support relief efforts in Haiti. 

Suddenly, everything changed. 

The caller, Jefferson Crowther, responded to the invitation by telling me about his life commitment to The Welles Remy Crowther Charitable Trust, which he formed in memory of his son, who was his “closest friend in the world.”  For the next 30 minutes, I listened with rapt attention as Jefferson shared the story of Welles’ extraordinary heroismon September 11, 2001.  

A 24-year-old equity trader, Welles was working at the World Trade Center as the horrific events of the day started to unfold. Instead of fleeing the building, he spent the last hour of his life saving others. As chronicled in the New York Times, his courageous acts were characteristic of a man dedicated to being the best person he could be and helping others do the same. 

I’m sharing this with you for two reasons.

First, it’s just one more reminder of the importance of truly getting to know people. Because of my own busy-ness and impatience (among other not-so-good qualities), I had quickly sized up Jefferson as someone who was irrelevant to me and my work in the law. Of course, he proved to be an immense inspiration. But, beyond that, he helped me reconnect with myself as a human being and a lawyer who wants to serve people in meaningful ways. 

Second, I’m sharing this because the Red Bandanna Skate, an annual hockey fundraiser held in Welles’ memory, is coming up on March 20, 2010. It runs from 5-7 pm at Sport-O-Rama Ice Rinks in Monsey, NY. Proceeds from this event go to wonderful causes. Your contributions will mean a lot to Jefferson and the many people who will benefit from your generosity.


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