The Grateful Response of Ed and Elaine Herman
Ed and Elaine Herman of Overland Park, Kansas, and current parishioners at Church of the Ascension parish, were married July 18, 1970. After graduating from the University of Kansas and four years in the USAF, Ed began his banking career and Elaine, also a USAF veteran, continued her career in nursing.
It was early in their marriage at their first parish, Our Lady of Lourdes, Raytown, Missouri, in 1971 when together they decided they desired to "do the right thing."
One of the "right things" meant giving to their parish. Seeds for giving were planted when Ed was involved with the tithing for the whole parish by "counting the money" weekly. More seeds were sown when they first participated in Catholic philanthropy through their weekly tithing to the parish. During a presentation at Mass, their hearts were opened to giving to their parish campaign. Ed explained, "as a couple we gained satisfaction in knowing we did something to support charitable organizations that benefit others."
Their family grew to two daughters, Jennifer and Anne. Ed and Elaine hoped they would provide an example of giving to their daughters, not only while alive, but through legacy giving. Ed commented that their "bottom line" was recognizing that they could not take material goods with them and they decided how their assets would be distributed before someone else had to do it for them. Their Catholic faith informed their action of leaving a legacy gift, as Ed said, "Planning is just part of a process while knowing that we are all terminal. You need to decide before you are sick, disabled, or burdened with illness how you want to give." He recommends not waiting too long before making important decisions about healthcare directives and legacy giving.
Ed and Elaine had a Revocable Trust prepared. Through prudence in managing their finances, Elaine is able to receive quality memory care. Ed says, memory care is expensive but knowing the costs helped him to better plan on what would be left to leave to their heirs and to Catholic charitable causes. Given Elaine's illness, Ed is having their Revocable Trust restated to include their daughters as Co-Trustees to act in his death or incapacity. The directives for Catholic healthcare and a Catholic Declaration of life and death are aligned with the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Besides a parish legacy gift to Ascension, he has also included Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas, the Catholic Medical Mission Board, Catholic Relief Services, and the Catholic Near East Welfare Association in his estate plan. Helping the poor is their priority. Ed said his father, who was not a wealthy person himself, he operated a feed store, and was an example of giving to the poor through the St Vincent de Paul Society.
Ed lives in the home Ed and Elaine had built. Ed and Elaine's other and most important legacy gift is that in caring for his wife he is showing that he is making a grateful response to God for their abundant gifts. Ed said, "Life is a gift from God and what you do with it is your gift back to him."