One of the responsibilities I inherited when I became President of Union Rescue Mission In Los Angeles was the need to raise money to pay for a new building. The Mission had saved a large piece of the bill for a new building. They had saved up from a number of wills and estate left to the Mission. Still There was well over half of the money that needed to be raised. The money got raised so that the Mission’s had a beautiful new 250,000 sq foot building to do all the service the mission offered to the homeless men, women and children the mission served. That is another miraculous story.
Now I want to write about Tom Bradley who was the LA mayor during the time the money got raised. Tom was the Honorary Chairman of the fundraising effort. He was very faithful to us. Sometimes we wanted to talk to a person that might have wanted to help us raise the money. Tom acted as a go between between the mission and the person. Other times we wanted to have a fundraising breakfast or lunch for the people helping us and those interested in helping us out. Tom always came through for us and hosted the event. He was also very encouraging to me personally. He was a fine, open hearted help for me and for the mission.
The Mission had a great big celebration dinner to celebrate the fact that all the necessary funds for a new mission had been raised. The Chairman of the Mission Board really liked being up on the platform at big events. I loved that because sitting on the platform at a time like that was something I would have dreaded if I had had to do it .I wanted to be down among the people that loved the mission and had worked so hard raising the money.
After the dinner was over Mayor Bradley was still standing on the platform enjoying the victory he had done so much to win and I was down below hugging person after person to whom we owed so much. When I saw Tom up there by himself I went up to enjoy things with him.
The Mayor was not a hugger. I would call him a little reserved physically. As I approached him I said “Tom you better get ready because I am going to hug you. He chucked a soft laugh and let have my hug”
We stood there for a minute caring deeply about each other. Then I said” I am going to guess what I think is your vision for this city.” A few weeks earlier the Time Magazine cover story had been the 88 languages spoken in LA. I said “You dream that if all those language groups learned to value each other and to decided to learn from each other and enjoy each other this city could become the greatest city in the history of the world.”
Tears came to The Mayors eyes and he nodded. Instinctively we reached for each other and hugged a long tender hug. This time there was no reserve in his body. He hugged me with all the emotions with which I had hugged him.