August Greetings from Our Executive Director, Jana Broughton

Prior to joining Samaritas as the Executive Director, I was not aware of the “Be The Rock” campaign. Ironically for me, rocks hold special meaning and have played a significant role in my life as a symbol of hard work, beauty and love for my father’s wisdom.

My dad, having only daughters to assist on the farm, often would put us to work doing what farmers do to keep their fields clear; rock picking. Rock picking is a task that requires walking a large 100-acre field up and down each furrow and finding rocks as small as a child’s fist and throwing them into or onto a farm wagon. Row after row we would walk the dry dusty field searching for the glimmer of a rock poking out of the soil. Then using our bare hands we would dig it out and throw it onto the wagon and move on. Often we would find what was the tip of a much larger rock and our dad would get off the tractor with his shovel and dig that large boulder out.

Fast forward to about a year ago; my dad having been diagnosed with brain cancer. He called me and my husband and asked us to come home to help him clear a field out. Even in his last days, dad was concerned about the fields and keeping them clean for the spring planting. So off we went back to the family farm; dad drove the loader bucket and there we sat like I once did as a young girl; feet dangling over the edge of the loader bucket up and down across the vast field to begin. We picked up the rocks from his field, this time not angered by yet another chore but as an opportunity to do something out of love for a man who helped shape me and create who I have become.

As he stopped at the corner rock pile, (something every farmer knows exists in the very back of the farm); he pointed out to a very large pretty granite boulder and announced that the rock there was his choice for his headstone. Needless to say that the ride back to the house, we were lost in our thoughts and tears. Dad died four weeks to the day after our last rock picking exercise. At his celebration of life, we placed small rocks from that very rock pile at each table. We asked the guests to write a message and sign their names. These rocks are now with dad as he rests under that large granite head stone. My dad was a rock that left ripples with everyone he met or helped, and that I believe is the message that Samaritas is seeking from this simple yet profound visual of what it means to create ripples within others or for others.

In this life we can choose to create lasting meaningful ripples for others from the simple daily lessons we give, the gift of our time, our compassion and our work. So imagine my enjoyment and the peace of mind that I have had since learning about this particular campaign and organization’s vision.

Written by Jana Broughton


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