“Do you have the 4th of July in Canada?” “No? So you just skip from the 3rd to the 5th?” Canuks are so easy to tease, because they are simply great people. I think that all people are great, but come to think of it, have you ever met a Canadian you didn’t like?

My friend Leo is a pretty amazing person. But I think that his simple example of compassionate living speaks louder than his sparse words ever could. Rather than writing platitudes regarding his beliefs (like me) he actually goes out and lives them…and says nothing or little.

Years ago when a young artist was preparing to go off to graduate school for art, thus leaving his son Cole and his teammates without a coach, Leo and his wife Deb thought to help the young man on his journey. They invited the artist over to their house, and purchased 7 artworks from him. Without which, the young man might not have made it to San Francisco.

Years later, every time Leo would come to town he would call up the artist and invite him out for wine and dinner. At every gymnastics competition they both attended, Leo and Deb would make sure to take the former coach under their wing, making sure all his needs were provided.

Leo’s kindness didn’t only extend to the artist, but to anyone and everyone. He and Deb have taken in family members who needed help, have adopted hardened youths and bathed them in love, got them to finish high school, and funded their college. They have taken in school friends of their children. The kind of kids that didn’t a great home life and provided them with cars, a room, food, but mostly…a place to feel safe.

Leo does what he can for the environment. He is a partner in a water company, and rather than seek to maximize his profits, he and the company produce literature (at their expense) to try to get everyone reduce and reuse our water commodity.

Recently, Leo thought he had slipped a disk in his back, but that didn’t stop he and Deb from driving out into the desert to find some Peace Artist guy. They took him home, cleaned him up, fed, and aided him in anyway they could. Leo could barely walk at this point, but nothing would stop him from being of service.

As it turned out, Leo was diagnosed not with a slipped disk, or even a lesion on his spine, rather it turned out to be cancer. Not deterred, Leo still sought to be of service to his fellow man, and most especially to the Peace Artist. When the Peace Artist had a sore tush, a million times less severe than the chemo that Leo was experiencing, he spared no expense to help him with some R&R days in a hotel. This was despite and regardless of his own condition.

The only thing Leo asked me in return, was to keep on writing about the people that I meet; the wonderful people that are doing kind things for others. To keep on trying to prove to everyone that people are good. Leo said, “When you are facing the possibility of not having anymore days, the ones you do have become so much more precious. Keep writing about the wonderful people you meet, it gives me solace and hope.”

I doubt that Leo in his humility realizes that he is one of the greatest people I have met. And, it is an honor to share his compassionate approach with you all.

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