Choosing Steppingstones Over Stumbling Blocks
When William “Bill” Beck received a call from the Director of the Hudelson Baptist Children’s Home (the organization that would later become One Hope United), over 50 years ago, he decided to “contribute what he could” by serving on the Board of Directors. A meeting with Clinton Rogier and Forest Sprehe, who also serve on the board, helped him to grow his understanding of the important work the organization was doing. But at the time, he did not know the mission would make a permanent place in his heart.
Bill served a term as Board Chair of the Hudelson Baptist Children’s Home and has served on One Hope United’s Board of Directors for over 35 years. However, he modestly considers his impact to be minimal. His role was “to ask the questions that spoke to the financial condition of the organization, as well as the quality of the many programs.” He felt that by asking the right questions and making sure the organization moved forward in a strong financial position, he could help make sure that teachers, therapists, and social workers had the resources they needed to make a lasting impact for children and families.
Driving home from Board meetings, Bill always took time to reflect on his blessings. The Hudelson Baptist Children’s Home received a donation of prime farmland in Central Illinois about 70 years ago from the Hall family. Bill drives by that farmland every week on his way to the attend the Old Stonington Baptist Church on Sundays and still draws inspiration from that land to this day, because it provides the means to support children and families. He is the third generation of his family to attend the Old Stonington Baptist Church, which was founded 187 years ago. In fact, the Hudelson Baptist Children’s Home was the philanthropic cause this church supported when Bill was growing up.
Bill graduated from the Reppert School of Auctioneering in 1961. It turned out to be “one of the best investments” he ever made. Today, he enjoys spending time outdoors, and regularly volunteers at his church’s food pantry. He also continues to run his auction business.
Bill said that one of the most satisfying experiences he has had during his service with One Hope United is observing the talented and committed staff as they support so many children and families. He has also appreciated hearing from former youth in care who have returned to share their experiences at One Hope United events. “Seeing youth who have grown up and built happy lives, surrounded by people who care for them, is fulfilling,” he said.
Reflecting on his many years of service, Bill shared that his philanthropic involvement opened his eyes to his own blessings and helped him see the importance of giving back to his community. His mother, and the emphasis she placed on spirituality and faith, was an important influence in his life. She felt that “you need to share what you have been blessed with.” Bill feels that a gift to OHU from his estate will have a lasting impact.
Wise advice from his mother has guided Bill’s life. She said that throughout life’s difficulties, you could choose stumbling blocks or steppingstones. Bill chose the path of service with One Hope United.
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