01/28/10 — Life well-lived: For Wes Seegars, it is about the mark you leave, not the acclaim you receive

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Life well-lived: For Wes Seegars, it is about the mark you leave, not the acclaim you receive

If it had been a Russian brown bear charging at him with teeth barred, local businessman Wes Seegars would have been a little better-prepared to handle the situation.

But put him in a room with pictures of his life flashing on the screen and one of this best friends talking about how he has made a difference in the lives of his friends, family and community, and Seegars was taken completely by surprise.

What makes this man so special -- and so great a choice for the 2010 Cornerstone Award -- is that he goes about his good works quietly, seeking nothing in return, in fact, avoiding the spotlight whenever possible.

So it is no wonder he would not have suspected that he would be the choice for this prestigious honor. He would not have even paused to think for a moment that he had done anything special enough to earn it.

Seegars has not only distinguished himself in the world of business, but has been a benefactor-behind-the-scenes for many community efforts. He has also given of his time to enrich the lives of young men through his involvement in the Boy Scout program.

Add to that the numerous bits of advice and expertise he has shared with state and local leaders, as well as his undying commitment to keeping Wayne County strong and prosperous, and you wonder how he has managed to stay so in the wings when he has been so influential in the lives of so many.

So after he recovered from Wednesday's surprise, as is his way, Seegars tried to steer attention away from his own achievements and to share the limelight with all those who have been part of those efforts with him.

And there are certainly many people who have been part of Seegars' business and personal success -- not the least of which is his wife, Jacque.

But there are only two people he included in his remarks who should be permitted to share the glory -- Seegars' mother, Peggy, who stood alongside her son for pictures after he accepted his award -- and tried to hide in the background, and his father, Neal, whom Seegars lost a couple of years ago.

They are the ones who should be front and center as he becomes one of few men to be honored by this community for his contributions to it.

You see, the truth is, a man who has lived a life guided by the principles of hard work, honor, compassion and humility had to have learned those qualities from somewhere.

And you can bet they came from a pretty special mother and father.

So now that the hoopla is over, Seegars will likely put his plaque on the shelf. He will treasure it, but it will not define him or change him.

After all, he still has too much more life to live and more good works to do -- that is his way.

Published in Editorials on January 28, 2010 11:04 AM