Jan Scruggs
Memorial founder

Jan Scruggs

Founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

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Helping and inspiring others

Q: How do you define success?

When I think of success, I first think of those who rose from rags to riches by diligent work and business acumen. One local example of a self-made success is Washingtonian Jim Kimsey. A decorated veteran of Vietnam, he returned home wondering how he would earn a living. He began his career by opening several successful watering holes in the Washington area and, later, started America Online -- creating considerable wealth for himself and those who took the risk to invest with him. Yet, he had another obligation: he started an orphanage in Vietnam.  Even when he was struggling, he continued to give  enough money to take care of the children who were orphaned by the madness of war. 

There's also Red McCombs, an amazing man who lives in San Antonio. He was attending college in Austin, but needed to earn a living, so he started a car dealership. Turns out, he just has a knack for business: He ended up owning the Minnesota Vikings and other enterprises. He thinks nothing of giving away vast sums of money to help others.

I think that success is not just measured by how we acquire money, but also by how we give it away -- and how we give of ourselves in the process.

Those in the clergy inspire us all. That is their job, actually. Arnold Resnicoff is particularly inspiring to me. He was a Navy officer in Vietnam when a Christian chaplain talked to him about the importance of exploring his faith.  He became a rabbi as a result, and has devoted his life not only to his fellow Jews, but also to interfaith issues and to assisting those in the armed forces. 

Those who give back to their fellow man also inspire others to do the same. This act of not just helping others, but inspiring others, is to me what defines profound success.    

By Jan Scruggs  |  November 2, 2009; 2:52 PM ET  | Category:  Defining success Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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