Thankful for people like Pearl

I was thinking about Thanksgiving and the numerous things that I am thankful for…I started to think about Pearl. As I think of the things I am thankful for, I begin to think of the people I think are heros. People that I have crossed paths with…ones that have inspired me to look at life in a different way.

I challenged my MBA class to write about their hero this past week. Many of the students jumped right into the assignment, but others began to question who to write about. Riley Csernica has me thinking.



I met Pearl Johnson last year in the mountains of Western North Carolina. The moment I met her, I knew I had another mother in my life. It was 5:30am and it was time to get ready for the day. As I made my way through the mountains, I pulled into this little parking lot…and walked into the side door of the kitchen.

Normally I have to spend some time with people I am working with…to train them to get used to the camera following them everywhere, recording every sound from the microphone hidden under their collar. She did not miss a beat and let me say…she did not stop talking. Yes, I was pulling away in my car late that day and she was still talking.

She told me her story, her passion, her mission…to feed those seniors who do not have access to a warm meal. She feels everyone¬†deserves¬†a warm meal. This is such a simple idea, concept, and passion. But, she has converted her passion to action.

I would be willing to bet she will be traveling the mountains this Thanksgiving, making sure those seniors have a warm meal and a side of her warm conversation. Pearl is just one of the many individuals that the Duke Endowment supports…and I am thankful to listen, capture, and share her story.