In the book, “The Giving Tree,” the late Shel Silverstein shares a lifetime relationship between a boy and a tree. The tree gives and gives of itself to the boy through play, apples to sell, and lumber. Eventually, the tree becomes worn and the boy ages to a man. By the end of the story, one final discovery of giving is made when the tree invites the boy to sit on his stump and rest a while.
Silverstein’s story is an analogy of the life of Bethany Village resident the Reverend Dr. Carl E. Young, whose death came at the age of 103 on December 20, 2011. Dr. Young gave and gave of himself in his life journey, to family, congregations and, in the last 34 years, to Bethany Village – especially the Care Assurance Fund.
At Bethany Village, Dr. Young’s self-giving was manifested in his being the first Campus Chaplain, an editor of “The Villager,” and a writer of resident biographies. In the 1980s he successfully advocated with Pennsylvania state regulatory agencies for a new Health Center at Bethany Village. Additionally, Dr. Young was instrumental in the raising of $1.5 million for this new center.
Through his vision and efforts, the Care Assurance Fund was established in 1984. The purpose of the fund was, and continues to be, for Bethany Village residents who, through no fault of their own, find their resources depleted. This fund makes it possible that no residents ever have to leave Bethany Village because they outlive their resources.
In 1991, Dr. Young was named the “Father of the Care Assurance Endowment Fund.” He continued through the years to be an active part of the Care Assurance and Development Committee. This father of Care Assurance at Bethany Village not only was a key founder of the fund to assist with benevolent care needs of residents; he also donated more than $1 million to the fund through charitable gift annuities.
Dr. Young’s self-giving life is reflective of St. Paul’s words: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)
Dr. Young lived as if his life mantra came from the advice of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism:
Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.
Presently and into the future, an untold number of Bethany Village residents who are in need may come and rest a while. Dr. Young’s generosity provides a gift of well-being. With gratitude we celebrate this “Giving Tree” life and his legacy that continues to give and give.