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A global perspective inspires future giving

Donors

March 02, 2023

Nicholas in Mexico.

Growing up, Nicholas moved often: Canada, Montana, Portugal, Japan. The son of an Air Force pilot, he went into military service himself after high school and settled down in Georgia later in life to raise his daughter. Through childhood, he grew to love the beach, the mountains and winter. But, it wasn’t until a recent trip that he decided to change his life.

“I was planning a trip and had been wanting to make a will for several years,” Nicolas said. “I knew I needed to have something ready and available, especially because I have kids.”

Wanting to know where his assets were going after death and feeling comfortable in his current financial state, he decided to finally write his will. He recalls looking at almost a dozen will-writing services online. The one he finally settled on was Freewill.

Freewill is a no-cost online estate planning tool that simplifies the creation of a will or trust. They partner with charities such as St. Vincent de Paul to encourage more people to document their wishes for those they love and the causes that are meaningful to them.

“I wanted something that was easy to find and go through; was simple and legit,” Nicholas said. “It was a very simple process. It was self-explanatory with easy steps to go through. I completed the will myself, printed the paperwork and got it notarized. That was it.”

Life experiences move him to care

Nicholas credits his time abroad and parent’s guidance for his philanthropic outlook and passion for giving back.

“When I was in the military, we were stationed in Haiti. It’s split into the tourist side and the local side where most people live in poverty. Guerillas were stationed in the mountains to keep local people away from the resorts. When you see things like that, you’re reminded how lucky you are. If you don’t look, you forget how lucky you really are,” Nicholas said.

Since he’s passionate about helping people when they need it, especially with basic life essentials: food, clothing, clean water, Nicholas included a bequest to St. Vincent de Paul — Madison in his will. Another charity close to his heart provides plumbing and clean water for families living in remote Guatemala.

“You must look at immediate needs first,” Nicholas said. “A lot of people are living month to month and need help. It’s so important that people have a place they can go for support and help; nobody likes to ask for charity. If you can get people the help they need without complications, that’s the way it should be.”

No matter what you have to offer, sometimes the smallest act of kindness can have a big impact, Nicholas affirmed.

“Don’t assume someone else will step in to help,” Nicholas continued. “Take the extra effort. Do something extra for somebody. If everybody did something one time for someone else, look how much help that would be around the world!”

Taking care of what’s important

Nicholas first heard about the Society of St. Vincent de Paul from his church. There were several active service programs at his church and one day a representative from the local St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store spoke to the congregation. Nicholas recalls spending weekends shopping and helping sort goods at the store; always looking for a way to help. Since that initial encounter, he’s always been involved in some capacity with the organization and a proud supporter.

“I didn’t know that when you make a will, you have options to donate,” Nicholas added. “Until I did my own will, I had no idea. Freewill gave me a few options of places to donate, but it was an easy decision.”

“I know I’ll leave enough money for my kids to be okay,” Nicholas continued. “Since I was in the military my funeral will be covered. I shouldn’t have debt when I die, so why not donate it? It was very simple and easy to do.”

Learn more about Freewill here. Or, contact Eric Fleming: (608) 442-7220 x34 or efleming@svdpmadison.org.

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