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EP322: Trapped Inside a Tube: The Iron Lung Story, Midnight Tragedy at the Live Fire Exercise and 100 Women Creating Transformation In Their Own Backyard

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
May 25, 2022 3:05 am

EP322: Trapped Inside a Tube: The Iron Lung Story, Midnight Tragedy at the Live Fire Exercise and 100 Women Creating Transformation In Their Own Backyard

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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May 25, 2022 3:05 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, Daryn Glassbrook of the Mobile Medical Museum tells the story of the iron lung, a device used to keep people with advanced polio alive in the first half of the 20th century. Our regular contributor Richard Muniz tells the story of an unforgettable accident at Ft. Irwin, California. Wendy Steele tells us how she could have never imagined that an idea for her community of Cincinnati... would have snowballed into 65 chapters across the world and over $80 million donated.

Support the show (https://www.ouramericanstories.com/donate)

 

Time Codes: 

00:00 - Trapped Inside a Tube: The Iron Lung Story

12:30 - Midnight Tragedy at the Live Fire Exercise

25:00 - 100 Women Creating Transformation In Their Own Backyard

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Let's ride. To OurAmericanStories.com. They're some of our favorites. And up next, well, a great history story.

And all of our history stories are brought to us by the great folks at Hillsdale College. In 1927, the iron lung was invented. This machine helped keep people alive who were stricken with polio, a disease which today is mostly eradicated. But in the late 1940s disabled an average of more than 35,000 people a year.

Here's our own Monty Montgomery with the story of this life-saving device. In the first half of the 20th century, there was nothing quite like polio. Here's Darren Glassbrook of the Mobile Medical Museum with more on that. You know, polio was a really serious virus that affected mainly young children, children between the ages of five and nine through the mid-1950s.

The peak year was 1952 when there were 58,000 reported cases. This is polio, the cruel centuries-old quibbler of children. Enlarged 77,000 times, these are actual polioviruses. To the University of Michigan campus in 1955 came hundreds of scientists hoping to hear the words that would signal the end of polio's long and ruthless reign of terror.

Fortunately, the vaccine was developed in 1955. But before Jonas Salk discovered that vaccine, the only way to mitigate the effects of advanced polio was through a device known as the iron lung. It's used for when people develop paralytic polio, about five out of a thousand cases, and it paralyzes your diaphragm and you're unable to breathe independently. What it is, is it is a respirator that you are supposed to stay inside. You're strapped down, you're lying on your back, you're immobile, your head is resting on this pillow, and when this is closed, they lock it up, so no air is circulating on the inside of this machine, and this electric motor is going to turn this bellows back and forth.

It has a handle in case the motor breaks down, you can manually operate it. But what that's going to do is create negative pressure on the inside of the machine, and this is actually how your lungs and your respiratory system are supposed to work. But since there's lower pressure on the inside of the machine than the outside, that is going to actually force air through your trachea and into your lungs. And then when you're inside, you stay inside basically 24-7 until you recover, and meanwhile, nurses are providing care for you through these portholes, washing you off, massaging your limbs, changing your bedpan, there's a wider hole on the other side. They were very costly, like in the 1930s, one of these cost about $1,500, which was as much as a single-family home, and this was before health insurance, and so not everybody could afford one, but hospitals invested heavily in them, and they were very common during this era.

It's not meant as a permanent treatment, but some people ended up using it for the rest of their lives because they never recovered. Like Frederick Snipe, who was subject to much media attention at the time due to the iron lung's quote-unquote new factor. Fred Snipe Jr., the man in the iron lung, sees his daughter for the first time.

The little girl was born on September 22nd, weighing 8 pounds. Snipe has lived in an iron lung for four years, being stricken with infantile paralysis in Paping, he married his childhood sweetheart last year, and now he's the proud father of a bonny little girl. Zahn Magazine covers, they called him the man in the iron lung, and Frederick Snipe was one of those people who never recovered, and he spent the rest of his life in the iron lung until he died of heart and lung failure.

It's very hard on your body to be, as you can imagine, motionless, stuck inside all that time. By 1959, there were still 1,200 people using the iron lung. By 2004, there were 39. And by 2014, only 10 people were still using the iron lung on a daily basis.

Today, there's about three. Often we get people that come in here, older people, who remember growing up and seeing somebody who had one of these in their home, you know, somebody being treated in their home in an iron lung. You know, these are not made or manufactured anymore or serviced anymore, and so if you do get an advanced case of polio, you are more likely to be given a portable respirator that allows you freedom of movement, better access to your caregiver. These individuals felt that they were getting better results with the iron lung, and so they were fortunate to have people in their family who could jerry-rig it and keep it running for them, and that's what they used on a daily basis.

Though close to becoming only a museum piece, iron lungs are a reminder of a dark time in our past, but they're also proof of how far we've come in less than a century. For Our American Stories, I'm Monty Montgomery. We'll come to you with their free and terrific online courses. Go to hillsdale.edu.

That's hillsdale.edu. Since 1988, polio cases worldwide have gone down 99%, and the number of cases in 2017 was a mere 22. Again, compare that to 35,000 a year being paralyzed or disabled just in this country. The story of the iron lung here on Our American Stories. Folks, if you love the great American stories we tell and love America like we do, we're asking you to become a part of the Our American Stories family. If you agree that America is a good and great country, please make a donation.

A monthly gift of $17.76 is fast becoming a favorite option for supporters. Go to our American stories.com now and go to the donate button and help us keep the great American stories coming. That's our American stories.com.

Hey, you guys. This is Tori and Jenny with the 90210MG podcast. We have such a special episode brought to you by NerdTek ODT. We recorded it at iHeartRadio's 10th poll event, Wango Tango. Did you know that NerdTek ODT Remedipant 75 milligrams can help migraine sufferers still attend such an exciting event like Wango Tango?

It's true. I had one that night and I took my NerdTek ODT and I was present and had an amazing time. Here's a little glimpse of our conversation with some of our closest friends. This episode was brought to you by NerdTek ODT Remedipant 75 milligrams. Life with migraine attacks can mean missing out on big moments with friends and family.

But thankfully, NerdTek ODT Remedipant 75 milligrams is the only medication that is proven to treat a migraine attack and prevent episodic migraines in adults. So, lively events like Wango Tango don't have to be missed. Soon millions will make Medicare coverage decisions for next year. And UnitedHealthcare can help you feel confident about your choices. For those eligible, Medicare Annual Enrollment runs from October 15th through December 7th. If you're working past age 65, you might be able to delay Medicare enrollment depending on your employer coverage.

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Call your local State Farm agent for a quote today. And we return to Our American Stories, and up next, a story from one of our regular contributors, Richard Munoz. Rich is a listener out in Colorado, and his story today is entitled Midnight at the Live Fire Exercise. Here's Rich with the story. ABC, this is World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.

Good evening. The deadline has come and gone. The Iraqis are living in what President Bush calls borrowed time. It is no longer whether the war will start but when. In 1991, we had a little thing called the Gulf War. And in it, we sent armored divisions and infantry divisions into Iraq.

And I'll be honest with you, we cleaned their clock. I mean, it looked a little bit like War of the Worlds, only we were the Martians. Now, one of the things that happened here is we definitely had the superior tank.

I mean, the M1 tank, fantastic piece of hardware. The other thing we had going for us, we had better training. Now, granted, they had some actual combat experience, but we had trained to a razor's edge. Where did we do this training?

At a little place called National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, out in the middle of nowhere in the Mojave Desert. Now, the first time I ever went out there, it was about 1988. What had happened was, see, I was working military police investigations at the time. Now, that's exactly what it sounds like I was doing. I was a detective.

You know, I put on a suit, put on a tie, and I went out there and I played detective. Well, in the FM manuals, there's always need for an MPI investigator to go out with division. Well, no one ever had, so I was kind of a little bit of a pioneer here. It was the first time an MPI investigator was going to go out with division out to the National Training Center.

Now, here's the problem. No one knew exactly what my job was. So, my mission kind of wound up being a catch-all. What I wound up doing was investigating an awful lot of accidents. And if you want to see some horrific accidents, do it where you've got high explosive rounds going off, being shot from some of the most fantastic equipment in the world, and see what happens. Add to that unfamiliar terrain, things like that, and that means the rest of you are getting people killed. This is a story about a couple soldiers that managed to dodge the bullet.

And I'll be honest with you, they came very, very close. Okay, now, what they did with me was I wound up having to stay behind at the Provost Marshal's office. And I got to sleep in a jail cell for the 29 days we were deployed. Well, one night I'm in there, I'm sound asleep, and the dispatcher comes back and wakes me up and says, Rich, there's been a terrible accident out on one of the ranges.

What happened? A tank fired up an APC, and my first one instance was, oh my God, this is not going to be pretty. So I got up and got dressed, and I walked over to the officer's PAQ. That's where the division safety officers were staying. And I said, guys, we've had a bad accident on the range. We've had an M1 fire up an APC. What else do you know?

That's all I know right now. We loaded up into their four-by-four, and we started out. And they made a few phone calls, stuff like that, so we knew where we were going. And I remember we're driving through, and it's pitch black outside.

I mean, you have no idea what's going on. We're driving through, and it's pitch black outside. I mean, you have not seen pitch black until you're in the middle of the Mojave Desert. So we're driving along, and I wound up falling asleep. The person I woke up, and we're stopping.

And we're stopping at what looks like a trailer house, and it's still pitch dark outside. And one of the officers got out, and he went in. He comes out, and he's got a cassette tape. And he said, you guys have got to hear this.

They plugged it in. And you hear them talking, stuff like that. You're hearing what we call a fist.

A fist is a fire support vehicle. This calls in targets. In this case, this was an M113 set up on a little hill there.

It had a small crew, and they were calling in targets. And all of a sudden, you hear a scream. Cease fire, cease fire, my God, my God, we're hit. Cease fire. And you hear other people screaming. Cease fire, cease fire, cease fire, shut it down, shut it down.

Then it goes dead. By the time we got out to where this accident occurred, the sun had already come up. The M1 that was responsible for doing the firing is still sitting there. Sitting over on a hill, maybe about 500 yards away, is the fist. Now, the first thing we've got to determine is what happened here.

And we're talking to a major who was in charge of all this. And he's telling us what had happened was they were doing a live fire. Now, the way they did this was this is a response to an attack or a simulated attack by enemy armor. The way they would handle this is one tank would roll up and it would fire.

It would roll back to reload, another one would roll up, fire, and they're just alternating back and forth. Only this is, you know, dozens of tanks doing this. And they had these range safety stakes, big long posts pounded into the ground.

They do this for safety reasons. Well, I get out and I'm looking at the tank there and the first thing I notice is that there is a red paint transfer on the gun turret. And it became very clear what was happening here. Every time the tank moved back, the gun tube was rubbing up against the gun stake, the safety stake.

Their field of fire was progressively getting wider and wider and wider. Now, I went over and checked some of the other stakes and they were in very, very firm. But not this one.

This one was loose. I mean, I could sit there and shake it with my hand. Like I said, its field of fire is getting progressively wider and wider. Well, eventually what happened is that when they roll up, they got maybe two to three seconds to acquire a target and fire.

Well, they get up there. Guess what's in their field of fire now? The fist. They fired at it. Now, the weapon they used was what we call a sabo round. Now, sabo round is kind of an interesting weapon. When this slams into a target, whatever the missile is made of, the shell is made of, vaporizes almost instantly.

The needle, which looks a little bit like a cone, melts the armor of whatever it hit and then goes inside. I know in the Gulf War, I saw tanks that have been hit by sabo rounds. On the outside, they don't look too bad.

Look down the hatch. That's what they've hit this tank with, this little APC. An APC is, I mean, it's nothing like a tank.

It's a very lightly armored vehicle. So we went through all that and we know what's going on here now. Now we went over and checked out the APC. It surprised me at the amount of damage to it. The round had come in low. By that, what I mean, it went in between the tracks and into the engine compartment down underneath. If it had hit the APC square on, there had been no survivors on this thing.

I mean, it was just boom. As it was, the entire top of the APC itself was melted off. And there was a machine gun, an M-16 machine gun sitting on the machine gun mount.

This thing was actually melted and it was bowed down in half. Okay, now I had to go back to base and we kind of have a division of labor now. What the safety officers would do, they would go talk to the crew and the commanders and everybody else that was associated with this.

I would go to the hospital and talk to the crew of the APC. And this is where I got the rest of the story. Now, when I went in there and I told them what I was there for, they were nice enough to put the crew in the same room. And these guys were messed up. We had a young lieutenant that was in charge of it, a Sergeant E6, and a couple of EMs.

This is the story I got. Here they are, they're doing their thing. They're calling in their fields of fire and stuff like that. And then the round hit.

The lieutenant told me when it hit, I mean it actually rocked the APC and everything in the tank almost seemed to catch fire instantly. And he's screaming, you know, over the radio, you know, cease fire, cease fire, my God, my God, we're hit, cease fire. And he's trying to get everybody out of there. He's getting his EMs out of there and they're piling out of this burning thing. And all of a sudden he looks around and realizes he's missing a man. He didn't know where his sergeant was. He goes back into this burning tank trying to find his sergeant.

Okay, here's what had happened. A few moments before the round hit, these guys were what we call MOP level 4. That means you're in a chemical environment, you've got the protective mask on, everything else. Well, a couple of minutes before the round hit, they were told to stand down for MOP level 4, which means take off your mask. So they're taking the masks off.

The sergeant had his mask in his hand and was folding it up to put it away in his carrier when the round hit. He said the mask caught fire instantly. So here he is, he's on fire.

What does he do? He panics. He jumps out of the tank, starts running down the hill before he remembered to stop, tug and roll. Lieutenant didn't know this.

He went back into the tank looking for the man before the heat and smoke finally forced him out of there. It's a miracle from God these guys even managed to survive. These are the kind of accidents you see happen out there sometimes.

I mean, this is terrible. I don't know what happened to these men. I'm pretty sure the lieutenant and possibly the NCO were discharged because of their injuries.

So they're probably out collecting a pension today. I can say that was too bad because that LT was an officer that was worth something. And a great job as always to Monty Montgomery for his work on the piece. And a special thanks again to Richard Muniz.

Richard Muniz's story, Midnight at the Live Fire exercise here on Our American Stories. Hey, you guys, this is Tori and Jenny with the 902.1 OMG podcast. We have such a special episode brought to you by NerdTech ODT. We recorded it at I Heart Radio's 10th Poll event, Wango Tango. Did you know that NerdTech ODT Remedipant 75 mg can help migraine sufferers still attend such an exciting event like Wango Tango? It's true. I had one that night and I took my NerdTech ODT and I was present and had an amazing time. Here's a little glimpse of our conversation with some of our closest friends. This episode was brought to you by NerdTech ODT Remedipant 75 mg. Life with migraine attacks can mean missing out on big moments with friends and family.

But thankfully, NerdTech ODT Remedipant 75 mg is the only medication that is proven to treat a migraine attack and prevent episodic migraines in adults. So lively events like Wango Tango don't have to be missed. Soon millions will make Medicare coverage decisions for next year. And UnitedHealthcare can help you feel confident about your choices. For those eligible, Medicare annual enrollment runs from October 15th through December 7th. If you're working past age 65, you might be able to delay Medicare enrollment depending on your employer coverage.

It can seem confusing, but it doesn't have to be. Visit UHCmedicarehealthplans.com to learn more. UnitedHealthcare.

Helping people live healthier lives. I know everything there is to know about running a coffee shop. But for small business insurance, I need my State Farm agent. They make sure my business stays piping hot.

And I stay cool and confident. See, they're small business owners too, so they know how to help you best. State Farm is in your corner and on it. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.

Call your local State Farm agent for a quote today. This is Our American Stories. And up next, a powerful generosity story. Wendy Steele was a banker in Cincinnati, Ohio, when one day she stumbled upon a transformational idea. Here's Wendy with a story of that idea. I would talk to women and try to get them involved in the nonprofit volunteer work I was doing. And they would tell me all the reasons why they couldn't. You know, because I had grown up that way, it was hard for me to fathom people who just didn't understand not only that each of us is really called to do our part where we can, but that they wouldn't realize how much they were missing out on.

I suddenly thought that there needs to be a way that would remove the barriers. You know, when you work for an organization, you're well paid, but you travel a lot. Well, then that means you can't make regular meetings.

And for a lot of women's philanthropy, it's very time-based. And that doesn't work if women are traveling. Or they would tell me, you know, gosh, I'm a stay-at-home mom. I can't justify paying a sitter $10 an hour while I go volunteer with you.

And so, again, how can I overcome this? Probably the worst part of it for me was hearing women have that sense that they didn't have enough. They didn't know enough. They didn't have enough money or wisdom or experience that it wouldn't matter, that their efforts couldn't make a difference.

I intuitively knew that that wasn't true, but I really wasn't sure. What was it that was needed? Right about this time, I had heard a story about a church, and the circumstance, the pastor of the church had come upon some sort of cash flow crisis. And so, as such, he called in his senior staff, the head of the men's guild, the head of the women's guild, and he explained to all of them this dire situation, and that he really needed everyone to do what they could to raise as much money, or they wouldn't make payroll, they wouldn't make the mortgage payment for the church building. Whatever it was, it was a crisis, and it was a matter of three weeks before they had to bring in all this money. The head of the women's guild went out and she mobilized all the women on her team. They went out and they did bake sales, they did garage sales, they picked up donations, they did yard work.

They did all of these things for day after day trying to raise as much money as possible. And at the end of the three weeks, the head of the women's guild goes to deliver the check, something like $8,000. She had never raised that much money so quickly before. She was exhausted but exhilarated that they had come together. And as she's walking out the door, the head of the men's guild walks in, and he hands over a check to the pastor that's many times more than what the women were able to do. And she says to him, how in the world?

How did you do that? And the guy says, well, you know, I decided that we could give $5,000. And so then I called my friend Joe and I asked him to give, and Tom and Steve, and I played golf with a couple of guys and they wrote a check. And the point being, it was much more efficient, much more effective, and much more powerful the way that the head of the men's guild went to bring in all this money. And the head of the women's guild in no way was held back. You know, it wasn't like the pastor said, oh, and by the way, whatever you do, don't write a check.

Just go out and work your tail off and try and see what you can do. It was that culturally, women are brought up to think first about doing. Even when we control our own wealth, we are much less likely than a man to write a check without getting permission from a man in our life or at least getting confirmation. And men don't view money the same way. For me, that was sort of an aha moment, and as I sat there that summer with my spiral notebook, one by one, I started to create what we now know as Impact 100.

So the model is really simple. You gather at least 100 women who each donate $1,000. Now for me, this notion of putting in a spiral notebook that every woman would give $1,000, I myself, I had never written a check for $1,000 to a single charity prior to Impact 100. So I didn't go into this with this knowledge and experience of writing what I call a big check.

I just knew that the numbers had to work and they had to be powerful. All that money, 100% of it, nothing taken out for any expenses, would be pooled and given away in grants of $100,000 or more across five broad focus areas. This was not women helping women and girls. This was women funding community.

The five focus areas are arts and culture, environment, preservation and recreation, health and wellness, family, and education. The idea being that there wouldn't be a nonprofit in the community whose mission wouldn't qualify. We would have one woman, one check, and one vote. If a woman was wealthy enough to write a check for $5,000 or $10,000, she was welcome to do so, but she could not buy five or ten votes. This was democratizing philanthropy. They can select to write a check and not do another thing except cast their ballot, or they could serve in a variety of administrative committees or the leadership board, and they could also serve on the grant review committees.

And then we come together for an annual meeting, we allow those five finalists to each present, cast your votes, and the highest vote getter would get the grant. And so in late October, I invited the women who I had initially identified as being part of the founding board to dinner. They knew we were going to talk about Impact 100 and whether it was a go or no go. What I didn't tell them is I invited 15 women, and what I didn't share is that unless 10 of them were as committed as I was to moving ahead with Impact 100, I wouldn't do it.

I knew that this was way too big an undertaking, that certainly it couldn't be done by me alone, and it couldn't even be done by just a small group, that we needed 10 women to be able to own this in the way that I did and to build it. The questions became, you know, if not us, who? If not here, then where?

And if not now, then when? Fortunately for Cincinnati and for several other communities, all 15 women said that they were in. And so right now we have 65 active chapters. By the end of 2019, we had given away, cumulatively, just under $80 million.

And $80 million a thousand dollars at a time, it's just a mind-boggling set of numbers. And you've been listening to Wendy Steele trying to solve a problem and hearing how men did it better. In this respect, they just did it better. And so she said, how can we do it better than that? And this idea, well, it's better than just calling up a few pals who you golf with.

And that's the power of an idea and then executing on it, folks. And by the way, to learn more about joining an Impact 100 chapter in your community, or starting one if there isn't one, go to impact100council.org. That's impact100council.org. When we come back, more with Wendy Steele's story here on Our American Stories. Hey, you guys, this is Tori and Jenni with the 902.1 OMG podcast. We have such a special episode brought to you by NerdTech ODT. We recorded it at iHeartRadio's 10th Poll event, Wango Tango. And did you know that NerdTech ODT Remedipant 75 mg can help migraine sufferers still attend such an exciting event like Wango Tango? It's true. I had one that night and I took my NerdTech ODT and I was present and had an amazing time. Here's a little glimpse of our conversation with some of our closest friends. This episode was brought to you by NerdTech ODT Remedipant 75 mg. Life with migraine attacks can mean missing out on big moments with friends and family.

But thankfully, NerdTech ODT Remedipant 75 mg is the only medication that is proven to treat a migraine attack and prevent episodic migraines in adults. So, lively events like Wango Tango don't have to be missed. Soon millions will make Medicare coverage decisions for next year. And UnitedHealthcare can help you feel confident about your choices. For those eligible, Medicare annual enrollment runs from October 15th through December 7th. If you're working past age 65, you might be able to delay Medicare enrollment depending on your employer coverage.

It can seem confusing, but it doesn't have to be. Visit uhcmedicarehealthplans.com to learn more. UnitedHealthcare, helping people live healthier lives. I know everything there is to know about running a coffee shop, but for small business insurance, I need my State Farm agent. They make sure my business stays piping hot and I stay cool and confident. See, they're small business owners too, so they know how to help you best. State Farm is in your corner and on it. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.

Call your local State Farm agent for a quote today. And we continue with our American stories and the story of Impact 100, the generosity movement where 100 women or more in a community each donate $1,000 and make transformational gifts of $100,000. Let's return to its founder, Wendy Steele, on the very beginning of what was meant to be the first and only chapter in her community of Cincinnati, Ohio. By March of 2002, we had our 501c3 nonprofit status.

By May, 123 women had given us a check for $1,000 and we offered up a single grant of $123,000. And the highest vote getter was a dental clinic in Over the Rhine, which is one of Cincinnati's most challenged neighborhoods, called the McMicken Dental Clinic. They had one staff dentist, a woman named Dr. Judy Allen. They had five dental chair setups that have been donated by a very generous dentist several years back when he was updating his own practice. These dental chairs were old and troublesome. They didn't quite operate as well as Judy would like them to. And so the application was to re-outfit them.

And that's what our members voted to do. We were all invited to an open house where Dr. Judy, with great pride, walked us around her newly refurbished dental clinic. And on easels, she had pictures of her patients. I mean, my gosh, these pictures of people of every age and every background who, in the before picture, they're barely smiling. You can see the sadness in their eyes. They've got missing teeth. They have black teeth.

In some cases, they have swollen faces and mouths from some severe illness that's going on. You know, people don't always think about it, but your dental health is so critical. If you've got black teeth or missing teeth, you're really not even hirable at a lot of traditional entry level kinds of jobs. I mean, imagine the receptionist at your company or the hostess at a restaurant, even a busser. If they have black teeth or missing teeth, it's very hard to get a job of any kind. And your own self-confidence is diminished. You know, you don't smile.

You're embarrassed. And so there were before and after pictures of all of these different patients and how their lives have changed. And then a story that would tell you that before somebody was unemployed and homeless and, you know, their whole situation.

And after, they now are employed and you see these beaming smiles. So Dr. Judy and I had become good friends at this point. She called me into her office and she pointed on the wall and she said, Wendy, I really want you to look at that.

And it looked like a calendar. And I said, that's fantastic, Judy. It looks like you're serving more patients.

That's excellent. But she said, no, Wendy, you're missing the point. The names on that calendar are dentists who are now volunteering to come into the clinic every week. She explained that for years, when she would go to her Dental Association meetings and the continuing education credits and so forth, she would explain that she needed volunteers. She needed more help. She explained how these dentists, they would smile and they would nod and they would tell her yes, but they never came.

And now they were coming. The difference, she said, were these chairs. That the dental chairs that she had been using, they were about 20 years old and the useful life of dental equipment is about 20 years. And so what was happening is that dentists weren't going to come because they were doing very complex treatments and they couldn't rely on the drill or the light.

They couldn't rely on the equipment. But now with this equipment, she now had this army of local dentists to join the community and come alongside. We had tried really hard to get the local press in Cincinnati to tell our story, and we just couldn't break through.

So about a week after visiting the McMicken Dental Clinic, my home telephone rang and I almost hung up because I thought it was a prank call. When the woman explained that she was Lorna Grisby, the Midwest bureau chief for People magazine, and that she wanted to do a story about Impact 100. I was not a People magazine subscriber at the time, but I did know that People magazine was the most widely subscribed or read magazine apparently in the world at that point. The People magazine story came out. The phone rang off the hook.

In those days I had a landline and in those days my email was AOL. I got hundreds of people reaching out of the woodwork talking about how they wanted to replicate this model in their own community and how much would I charge for the license fee. How much would I charge to help them get started. From the beginning, it was never designed to be a profit making exercise for me.

And so I could not imagine charging people to be able to use this. And so I didn't. I gave the model freely and interestingly, Pensacola, Florida is now the world's largest Impact 100 chapter. And if you know anything about Pensacola, demographically that might be a surprise to you. Especially if you know that we have chapters in Fairfield County, Connecticut and Chicago, Illinois and Palm Beach, Florida and San Francisco, California and Pensacola.

They started off strong. The goal of every Impact organization, in my opinion, the goal should be to get to 500 members. When you get to 500 members, you give away five grants. You give one grant in each focus area.

And in doing so, you satisfy all the women as well as we can all be satisfied, I suppose. But you satisfy all aspects of the community really get blanketed. And year over year, when you're giving one hundred thousand or more across each of these five sectors, if you will, it really is a game changer for the community. In year one, Pensacola thought, why would we only give one grant?

Let's keep going. And they were able to attract more than 200 women in their first year. They got to 500 members relatively quickly. And when it came close to their 10th anniversary, they decided that it made sense to get all the way to a thousand members. And they did. Some people thought that that thousand member was just a special thing for their 10 year anniversary. And they revert back to seven or eight hundred members. But they didn't.

They've stayed above a thousand members since then. And just a couple of weeks ago, they had their annual meeting or what it's known as in Pensacola is they had Million Dollar Sunday. They gave away 11 grants totaling one million one hundred and sixty six thousand dollars on that Sunday across all five focus areas. It's the second year they've given away that much money. So they had 15 finalists, three in each focus area. Members would vote for two of the three in each focus area and then choose one focus area that they thought should get fully funded.

So we should get the third grant funded as well. It was absolutely amazing to see this Million Dollar Sunday and the outcome from Pensacola. I think that sometimes God gives favor to the most unlikely people and turns what would be a simple woman who thought she was going to be a banker into the founder of a movement that is getting ready to turn 20 and knocking on the door of one hundred million dollars in new money contributed to communities around the globe is is to me as shocking as it is inspiring. And as it is dumbfounding, I would not be the one that most people would pick for the team. And so I am very grateful that our God has a sense of humor and that he thought I would be the right person.

Cincinnati would be the right place and now would be the right time to start. That to me is a surprise, but I'm grateful. And you've been listening to Wendy Steele, her story of Impact 100. And by the way, go to Impact 100 Council dot org. We also want to thank Carrie Morgridge at the Morgridge Family Foundation for telling us about Wendy that she's a paid member at all 65 chapters, including that one in Pensacola. Wendy Steele's story here on our American story.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-16 05:41:52 / 2023-02-16 05:58:15 / 16

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