Giving is a wonderful thing. The act of simply handing something over to someone, without expecting anything in return can give one the greatest reward of all.
Just ask Ed Kidston.
Kidston, Mayor of Pioneer and Chief Executive Officer of Pioneer Artesian, has been instrumental in his company’s involvement in the Veteran’s Day Assembly held by North Central schools each year. Pioneer Artesian provides the school with shirts for the kids to wear at the assembly. Some are red, others white, and blue ones are handed out as well. The students then stand together in such a way that, with color scheme of the shirts, they make a living American Flag.
“It’s kind of cool.” Kidston notes. “The kids love it.”
The shirts themselves have unique phrases on them, varying from year to year. This year’s expression is amongst Kidston’s favorites thus far.
“If you’re lucky enough to be an American, then you’re lucky enough.”
This falls in line with Kidston’s goal in handing out the shirts each year. He hopes to inspire pride in the future citizens of the United States of America, as well as help them to understand the American Value System and philosophies.
“It’s a small part. It may not mean anything.” Kidston admits. “(But) my goal is to give the kids something to be proud of.”
This tradition of trying to inspire the students of North Central was born from the first assembly the school held on Veteran’s Day. Kidston was in attendance, and wanted to take an active part in the event. Coming up with the idea to give away shirts, and using them to make an American Flag, he got in contact with the school.
“I made a phone call, and they thought it was a cool idea.”
Of course, North Central Administrators initially thought Kidston would want the shirts back after the assembly, so that they could do the same thing again the following year. He informed them that not only would the students be allowed to keep the shirts, but that he planned on continuing the tradition anyway.
That many shirts don’t come cheap, either. Kidston estimates the cost of the shirts to average around $2,000 a year, a price his company is proud to pay to play some small role in honoring America’s Veterans, as well as teaching younger generations to do the same.
“I want them all to grow up to be productive citizens.” says Kidston.
Perhaps the greatest reward Kidston receives is when he sees a student wearing the shirt, not for the assembly, but just for the sake of wearing it. It makes him feel good to see his gift in use.
“I get so much more out it.” Kidston referenced giving away the shirts. “What I get out of it is ten fold.”
For Kidston, giving is its own reward. Aside from the noble reasons for handing out the shirts, the smiles he sees on the kids’ faces makes him feel good inside.
And that is a feeling no amount of taking can produce.