Sakry offers lesson on taking care of those around us

Alan Sakry once remarked in an interview for a Business Almanac story that if you take care of your clients they will take care of you.

It wasn’t a line he picked up at some business or marketing conference. He lived it — both his business and personal life. He could judge the legitimacy of the statement in a down economy.

And after suffering a stroke on Jan. 10 he can attest to it, given the response of his family, friends and the community, which for Alan are all one big conglomeration.

About 1,000 of his friends gathered last week for a benefit in his honor and netted more than $53,000 in the process. The money will make it easier for Alan to continue on his remarkable road to recovery.

He is expected to go home today to sleep in his own bed for one night and wake up at home for Easter. If it all goes well, he will come home for good on April 10.

He will continue to work on re-learning how to walk, talk and read. He won’t have to re-learn how to lead, however, as countless people continue to be led and inspired by him. That number truly is countless.

I think of the ripple effect of events like Shiver Elk River, which he spearheaded as the chairman of the board for the Elk River Area Chamber of Commerce. You can’t just look to the hole in the lake to assess the overall impact.

There’s an 8-year-old Nowthen girl who couldn’t jump in the lake with her family because of her age who instead jumped into her bathroom tub.

Her parents filled it with cold water. Her siblings filled it with snow and ice to make sure it was cold enough. And they opened the windows in the house to make sure the normal warmth of her house didn’t wrap its arms around her after she jumped.

Events like this in our life have a way of changing us. I’m not talking about the courage it took to subject herself to these elements. I’m talking about her willingness to do such acts to raise money for CAER or any other good organization in the community.

The family raised $700 for CAER, and they have committed to jump again if they can raise at least $1,400 next year.

Now, was Alan solely responsible for this act of charity? No. But the way he has lived his life breathes life — and success — into the community of Elk River he so loves.

I believe his attendance at his own benefit less than three months after a severe stroke was inspiration enough for some pretty amazing miracles. He expressed his thankfulness to everyone who was there and for the outpouring of support he has witnessed.

Not surprisingly, he has set some pretty lofty goals for himself, and through one of his sisters asked this past Thursday for people to stand in the gaps that he has left in various community organizations like the chamber, the YMCA, the 2012 Independence Day Committee and the Elk River Rotary.

In addition to Alan’s own comments, with the help of his wife, Diane, and some new programmable technology, his sister Deb (Sakry) Lande read a statement.

In it, he said he so looks forward to the success stories of the students in STRIVE who  graduate and go on to do great things with their lives.

He so looks forward to the continued success of Shiver Elk River, which brings people together for so many good causes and a lot of fun.

He so looks forward to seeing Elk River’s Elk River’s third annual Independence Day celebration go off with a bang — not only because of a spectacular fireworks show but because even more community organizations have banded together to put on a great event and make our community stronger.

He so looks forward to the testimonies of families who have flourished by getting involved at the YMCA and all it has to offer, including the young students who participate in Youth in Government and are inspired to achieve greatness.

And he so looks forward to our community continually reaching out to the needs of the community — whether it’s  a fundraiser for CAER or the partnership between the Elk River Area Childhood Coalition in partnership with the area chambers of commerce.

I have no doubt Alan will do all that he can to make it to the luncheon sponsored by the coalition and the area chambers of commerce to hear what former Minnesota Gov. Al Quie has to say about early education and care. He knows our communities’ littlest children are counting on us to do the right thing, and he has the whole community at heart.

It is when we take care of those around us that the people around us take care of us. — Jim Boyle, editor