I am the classic “wannabe.” All my life I’ve wanted to be taller, have more hair, be smarter, have more money — all those self-absorbed things that, now that I’m in my 70s,I realize are not that important after all.
My wannabes took a different slant about 10 years ago as I looked more at other people. “I wannabe Donn Clickard with his passion for community and the downtrodden,” I would tell my wife. Or, “I wannabe like Frank Fertschneider for the same reason, or Brady Cherry who is such a great public servant, or my friend Bob Alberti who plays trombone in the Atascadero Community Band.”
And just the other day, as a group of us sat around the table sharing wannabes, the name “Greg Hind” came up. We all wished we had the financial capacity to help others as much as Greg does.
The very next day, we learned of his death at the age of 66.
I first met Greg at a Friends of the Atascadero Library event earlier this year. We had talked on the phone briefly before the event because I was in charge of an Atascadero Kiwanis Club project to rebuild the lakeside bandstand.
I knew of Greg’s generosity long before I met him. I knew that his foundation had already funded a number of worthy causes throughout San Luis Obispo County.
In fact, the first I heard about him was when he helped the Cambria Historical Society with the restoration of that little house that has rested in the village for so many years. Now it is a wonderful facility being used to help promulgate Cambria’s rich history.
Here at home, the Hind Foundation has become a major supporter of the Atascadero public library, the Faces of Freedom Veterans Memorial that now occupies a prominent corner of Atascadero Lake Park, and the Atascadero Kiwanis Club bandstand project. All his donations were substantial.
They were given with virtually little fanfare on Greg’s part. I tried to get him to come to our last winemaker dinner at the Pavilion on the Lake to be acknowledged in a big way, but he declined, saying that was not important.
He and his wife, Jane, did come to a Kiwanis meeting in July where we were able to say “Thanks.” Greg seemed more excited about a gardening hat he recently purchased and was showing off.
Atascadero lost a real friend with Greg’s passing last Wednesday; the projects he helped succeed will serve as a lasting memorial to his good heart and generous pocketbook.
Lon Allan's column is special to The Tribune. He has lived in Atascadero for nearly five decades and his column appears here every week. Reach Allan at 466-8529 or firstname.lastname@example.org.