Don Benton grew up in a small town. His was an idyllic childhood, but filled with much hard work. He admired the people in his town who made things happen; the business owners, the Rotary club members, the doctors, and the teachers.
Don wanted to make good things happen in his community.
Don was generous with his time, becoming deeply involved in volunteer leadership in the nonprofit community. He served on the boards of many nonprofits including Helping Hands Against Violence.
We like to think that Helping Hands was his favorite. Don was old-fashioned. He could not stand the thought of a man using his strength to hurt a woman or child.
Don was generous with his treasure as well, even though he and his wife Bonnie were not wealthy. They lived on Don’s Navy pension and Bonnie’s wages. By living simply, they were able to help their community.
Don was instrumental in helping to strengthen the board and clarify the vision of the shelter. When Helping Hands decided to hire our first male advocate, Don was there. After meeting the man we were considering hiring, Don said, “He has empathy. You can teach someone how to be an advocate, but you can’t teach empathy. He has empathy. Hire him.”
We remember Don for always pulling through with support when there was a need. An occasional dinner for the entire board. Support for a fundraiser. Bidding up and buying an auction item, and then re-gifting it to the person who he had just outbid. You could not stop Don from giving!
As he saw the end of his life approaching, Don wanted to know that even long after he was gone, he could keep doing something good. Don and Bonnie established funds with the Gorge Community Foundation that continue to benefit local nonprofits, including Helping Hands.
Don was generous, sincere, bighearted, powerful, and humble. He was an inspiration to us all. He left the world a better place.
Don’s giving said a lot about him. What could yours say about you?