Margaret’s House celebrated turning 10 this month. Not being one to stay away from a party—I made sure to swing by.
Okay, maybe the primary reason I went was because the 10th anniversary of Margaret’s House, specifically a $100,000 gift from RIT Vice President Emeritus Al Davis to Margaret’s House in the names of Al and Carolie Simone, was being featured on WHAM-13’s “Bright Spot” segment during the 6 p.m. news.
But I still went. And I’m glad that I did.
Otherwise, I may not have met Al Davis—known to the students and staff at Margaret’s House, RIT’s child care center, as Mr. Davis. I had heard about the man known as “Mr. RIT”, but as a newbie to the RIT community, hadn’t previously had an opportunity to meet him.
When I walked into Margaret’s House with the WHAM photographer, Mr. Davis was standing in the middle of the lobby: ready and waiting. And once the camera was turned on, he was an absolute pro. The photographer and I both marveled at how Mr. Davis didn’t even have to be asked a question. He knew just what to say and said it eloquently. It couldn’t have been scripted any better—certainly not by me.
After the interview, Mr. Davis, the youngest 90 year-old I’ve ever met, was eager to show off the facility he helped to build 10 years ago. There were still 15 minutes left before the ceremony was scheduled to kick off, and Mr. Davis wasn’t going to waste any time.
He escorted us into a classroom where some children, dressed in their yellow Margaret’s House t-shirts, were playing. As the children noticed him enter the room they stopped and yelled, “Hi Mr. Davis!” After returning their greeting he turned to us and, looking every bit as excited as the kids playing with their toys, said, “I want to show you the kids who are going to sing later.” And with that, we entered another classroom to another chorus of “Hi Mr. Davis!” Mr. Davis beamed as the children practiced the anniversary song they would sing at the conclusion of the ceremony.
Soon the ceremony began and gifts were exchanged. Mr. Davis received a scrapbook filled with memories from the last 10 years at Margaret’s House. Tears trickled down his face as the memories came streaming back.
RIT is lucky to be filled with both those that give their money and those that give their time. RIT is even luckier to have Mr. Davis, who not only gives his money and his time—but also gives his heart.
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