ENHANCED LANDSCAPES 101
Lesson 5 – The Monumental Blessings of a Refrigerated 18-Wheeler
My third-story apartment looks across the mall parking lot to the Cheesecake Factory at La Cantera. Early every business morning sometime shortly before dawn, I hear the soft hum of a delivery truck approaching the restaurant. Over the six years I have lived here, I have tuned my ear to its specific gentle diesel music. I recognize its familiar voice as I would that of a dear old friend, and like a good crony, the baritone engine brings a sense of peace and calm deep inside.
You see, this may appear to be an ordinary delivery truck, but it is not. What’s happening down below is a Sysco Food delivery, and to me that will always mean love, friendship, and eternal gratitude.
In 1946, John Baugh left his job as a grocery store manager to start a company distributing frozen peaches and strawberries to bakeries, cafeterias, and hospitals. He made the deliveries himself, and his wife, Eula Mae, kept the books.
What’s so special about that? Well, to begin with, nobody in the world had given any serious thought to the idea of frozen food until John Baugh introduced it. As far as we can tell, Mr. Baugh was the first businessperson in the world to put a refrigerated delivery truck on the road. It was at the end of WWII, and enter the age of convenience cooking where working moms could not spend the whole day in their kitchens preparing dinner. On top of that, franchise eateries were springing up like wildflowers in May.
Fast forward. By the time both John and Eula Mae died in 2007, the company they had founded, Sysco Foods, had 47,000 employees and more than $30 billion in annual sales.
I briefly met Mr. Baugh in the fall of 1987. At that time, I had no way of knowing how important he, Eula Mae, and his whole family would become to me and my family twenty-five years later. When I arrived at Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio in 2002, John’s daughter, Babs was one of the first people I met. Babs and her husband – also named John – became some of my family’s dearest friends, sharing some of the most wonderful moments as well as some of life’s deepest griefs and sorrows. The Baughs feel like extended family to me and mine, and there’s no putting into words the love I have for all of them.
The Eula Mae and John F. Baugh Foundation supports a plethora of ministries of which YouthCUE is but one. The love, prayers, business advice, common sense, and financial support provided by this lovely and generous family has made it possible for YouthCUE to survive and thrive through difficult times … COVID-19 being one of those times. I often wonder if YouthCUE would be here at all without the love, prayers, and support of the Baugh Family.
So, when I see a Sysco truck outside my window early every morning, I automatically give thanks to God. The truck provides a beautiful reminder to be grateful for love, dear friendships, and another day to work without interruption at the vocation I love. That Sysco truck is as beautiful a sight to me as Pikes Peak, the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, the Cliffs of Moher, or the Matterhorn. Along with the flowing morning gratitude, a prayer inevitably follows. It’s a prayer that I might somehow be as wise, competent, hard-working, compassionate, smart, and intentional at what I do as Mr. and Mrs. Baugh were in what they did.
One of Sysco’s bylines is: “Good things come from Sysco.”
Yes, very good things come from Sysco! If anyone doubts that, just have them ask the hundreds of directors or thousands of students who are positively affected by the work of YouthCUE.
- The legacy of John and Eula Mae Baugh is about much more than only foundation grant dollars. Their work ethic, the quality of their relationships, the compassion they show on a daily basis, the commitment to serve others, and the desire to truly make the world a better place – these are the gifts they generously provide for so many. In thinking about our own personal legacies, we may or may not have a fortune to leave in a charitable foundation, but we can still provide legacies of friendship, love, service to others, compassion, community service, mentorship, and the spirit of giving. What do you want your legacy to be?
- Thinking about what your legacy could be, what needs to happen now, today, for that legacy to be realized? What are you willing to do today in order for those you love to benefit from your legacy after you are gone?