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Taking care of your fellow man. A simple idea, but one with a big impact. Whether you are a small business, a charity organization or a large corporation, the way that you interact, uplift or support those in your community will be the basis for the mark left in the world. For Jim McIngvale helping his neighbors, friends and customers was not a matter of “Why would I?” but rather one of “How could I not?” Acknowledging that Hurricane Harvey was the defining moment in his life, McIngvale explained his philosophy of being “part capitalist and part social worker.”
“Hurricane Harvey was the worst of times for Southeast Texas — all the way from Rockport to Houston to Beaumont 57 inches of torrential rain, enough rain in Harris County alone to fuel Niagara Falls for 21 days; 500,000 cars in Houston totaled – an almost unfathomable number; and thousands of homes with 18 inches to 18 feet of dirty water in them – it was the worst of times,” said McIngvale. “But you know Hurricane Harvey also represented the best of times – it was the best of times, because for one brief moment in time we forgot about decisive politics and all we cared about was people.”
Tuesday night, McIngvale explained not how he built his Gallery Furniture business from the $5,000 in his pocket and a dream that lead to “Mattress Mack,” but rather how he opened the doors on those very same stores and let wet, tired and scared Texans onto his showroom floor to “lay on the beds, sit on the couches and eat at the tables.”
“People call me a hero, I am not a hero,” said McIngvale. “Heores were the first responders – the firemen, the policemen, the EMTs, the National Guard men and women who risked their lives with no sleep for days on end to save the citizens. The heroes were the people whose homes got dirty water in them and they valiantly and with the typical resilience of a Texan, fought back and rebuilt their homes in the last 12 to 14 months. Heroes were the unsinkable Texans, who put their neighbors’ needs in front of theirs – in the thousands they set their needs aside for those beside them. Those are the heroes.”
McIngvale told the crowd that it is the “love of community,” that selfless desire to help each person attain the American dream, which those who lead apart from those who do not. Acknowledging the work that is being done by the Navasota ISD Education Foundation, he said that it is the duty and the privilege of those who have earned profit from capitalism to then instill love of community – to reach out to those who need it the most, whether that be in the classroom, the board room or the neighborhood you live – to be part capitalist and to be part social worker.
Winston Churchill once said, “What kind of people do they think we are?” As stated by Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale — we are Texans, we are Americans and we are humans that are meant to be in a community that supports one another.