A Letter from

Tom Scanlon

Founder and President, Benchmarks Inc.

I was one of the lucky ones to serve in the Peace Corps during Sargent Shriver's years as its Director. We early volunteers benefited from his personal attention and support. No one else would ever, or could ever, have created the Peace Corps the way Sarge did; and if he hadn't done it his way, there most likely would be no Peace Corps today. 

One of Sarge's most special qualities was his courage. He had the guts to launch a bold experiment that had been belittled by many. One anecdote illustrates this. Early on, one of Sarge's aides asked him, "Aren't we really going out on a limb with the Peace Corps? We still don't know whether the idea will work or whether the volunteers will be accepted." 

"Out on a limb, nothing," Sarge replied, "We're out there walking on the leaves!"

Sarge made no small plans and when others did, he changed them. He added a new verb to the Washington vernacular: "Shriverize." It meant to take an idea and enlarge it, speed it up, and apply greater imagination to it. He did this all the time.

My wife, Faith, and I had the pleasure of spending several evenings with Sarge and his family. At each of these warm and wonderful events, he would insist that he was "the luckiest guy on earth." I have never known a man who loved or admired his family, especially his wife, more than he did. I don't know if he was the luckiest guy on earth or not, but I know that we were among the luckiest to have known him.