In Which I Recall Harry Brunger

Harry Brunger worshiped at the Claremont Presbyterian Church in the twilight of his life, the final six years of which overlapped with my service as that church’s Associate Pastor. Harry was a big deal, a leader in the international YMCA in his prime. He founded the Y in Beirut, Lebanon. Still, he used to sip coffee on the church patio after worship with me and say very nice things about the Children’s Time I’d cobbled together during the service.

He mentored a 9th grade confirmation student only a couple of years before he died. She picked him as her mentor not even knowing his name. She only recognized him at church as the man she passed on her way to school each day. She appreciated that, while out walking his dog, he would smile and say, “Hello” to her every morning. He mentored her good. I’ve written about her here.

Tonight I shared dinner with someone who calls Harry his mentor too. He talked of time Harry invested in him, places Harry took him, adventures Harry accompanied.

Say nice things about peoples’ work. Smile and say “Hello” to a teenager you don’t know. Invite a green professional halfway across the globe with you to break barriers and change the world.

There are so many ways to make an impact. Harry knew them all.

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