|The Unsung Hero|
Imagine yourself in the airport, sitting on a chair waiting for your departure time. While you are observing the area, you notice a man who is sitting across from you. He has grey strands of hair as thin as a thread, with a face full of creases which reminds you of a tranquil, loving grandfather. He is wearing a indigo coloured Hawaiian shirt, with crimson red hibiscus flower patterns. He has a simple watch, nothing remarkable about it except for letting you know the time. When a flight attendant announces for the coach passengers to enter the airplane, the elderly man stands up while leaning on his cane for support to catch his flight. If someone told you that the elderly man who you just saw was a billionaire, would you believe it? A billionaire riding on a public airplane, seated in coach class, not even business class. You might wonder "how is this possible?". The man is real, whose is Chuck Feeney.
Most people would not recognize his name, however, they would recognize his business which is the Duty Free Shop. He has founded the shop that you encounter in most airports that sells various items without additional tax. He is considered a billionaire from all the income from his empires of shops; however, he is worth less than 2 million at the present. Chuck Feeney is a hero because of his unconditional love for humanity, he is always eager to improve the lives of many by building educational facilities and medicinal research in various countries; moreover, he is an example of a true philanthropist.
Chuck Feeney was born on April 23, 1931 in Elizabeth, New Jersey, United States. Currently, he lives in Dublin, Brisbane and San Francisco. He was born during the Great Depression, where many people were struggling. He has served in the Air Force during the Korean War. After the war, he attended Cornell University of Hotel Administration on the GI Bill. When he graduated in 1956, he went to France to take more courses. During his time in France, he got involved in the business of selling tax free objects to the U.S Navy Atlantic Fleet sailors, which gave him an idea of duty-free shops. He and other men gathered to make the duty free business into a reality. By 1964, they had succeeded in expanding their duty free shop empire to 200 employees in 27 countries.
Although he is a billionaire, he does not have a lavish lifestyle. In fact, he does not even own a car. He is pleased with a rubber banned Cortex watch, and riding coach class in airplanes and trains. He loves walking through the university campuses he has developed, and watching the place filled with energy and hope from students. Chuck Feeney has been awarded the Cornell University icon in 2010 for his unchanging support for the university; the Irish American Hall of Fame in 2011 for enhancing the educational system in Ireland, and he is the first person to receive this award; lastly, the UCSF medal in 2012 for his devotion to many universities in San Francisco.
Chuck Feeney is no ordinary hero. He is a hero, who is disguised as an ordinary elderly man, who has done marvellous works throughout his life. He has improved millions of lives through better education and medical facilities. He also inspires others to reach out to people who are in need. Not only is he a philanthropist, but also a modest person. He is not egocentric, wishing for public attention about his charities nor selfish, keeping all his fortune to himself. Not only wealthy people but also ordinary people should try to imitate Chuck Feeney's actions. If all people were more like Chuck Feeney, the world would be a better place.
Gahwi from Victoria
The website for Operation Smile
The website for Atlantic Philanthropies
The New York Times
More information about Chuck Feeney
World AIDS Day 2011: MSF Canada
More information about AIDS
Bertoni, Steven. "Chuck Feeney: The Billionaire Who Is Trying To Go Broke." Forbes.
Last changed using MY HERO by Gahwi from Victoria on: 11/25/2012