A Gesture Of Devotion--And Generosity
Larry Turek likes to think that every day he spends at The Henry Ford or on the grounds of Greenfield Village is special. But the late winter morning he and his older brother Bob devoted to finding the perfect spot for a plaque in memory of their parents is one they'll never forget. The plaque, which will appear on a bench over by the trees near Suwanee Lake, will not only recognize the brothers devotion, but also their generosity--with a gift annuity to The Henry Ford.
"It just takes you back in time," Bob adds. "And as I got older and got more interested in history, I was really fascinated by the museum and the village. There's Lincoln's chair, the Reagan and Kennedy presidential limousines, and when they got the Rosa Parks bus, I thought that was a fantastic addition."
The brothers are both former employees of Ford Motor Company. Bob retired in 1997, after working nearly 24 years in the areas of analysis and quality control. Larry was an engineer in the truck division for 31 years before he retired in 2007. But he started volunteering at The Henry Ford while he was still working.
"Around 1997," he recalls. "For various events like Halloween, the 4th of July Symphony and Civil Wars Days.
"Halloween is the most challenging," Larry continues. "You've got all these people coming in and you have to give candy to all these kids, so that's a great amount of work. But I love the atmosphere, walking along the pumpkin path. I always hope I get a station near the entrance so I can quit a little early and walk around and see the other sights around the village."
The fireworks on the 4th of July are high on Larry's favorites list as well.
"And I think we have the perfect place to watch them from now on," he says with a smile, "right there on the bench alongside our parents' plaque."
The brothers live in Dearborn, just around the corner from the place that has virtually become a second home.
"This is like a jewel in the city," Larry says. "There's no place like it. The history is so fantastic here, you can't beat it. And I like to walk. I walk five miles a day or more and I can do a lot of it here. It's beautiful!"
"People are coming here from out of state, from around the world," Bob agrees, "and people like us who live so close, we sort of take the institution for granted. And we shouldn't do that because this is such a fascinating and historical place. And it's getting better all the time! There are always new things going on."
While the brothers are thrilled to memorialize their parents with their gift, Larry hopes their generosity serves a dual purpose.
"If people know that they can make a donation in honor of their loved ones, they might be more prone to investigate how to do that," he says. "You get a tax advantage for donating the money and you get an annuity payout every year, which is nice."
And in the case of the Turek brothers, there's another benefit: On that bench near Suwanee Lake, an everlasting tribute to their largesse--and their love.