Suzie and Ken Castlebury
Ken and Suzie Castlebury each grew up in a small town in the Texas Panhandle. There was always plenty of work for young people, babysitting or doing farm work. And if a neighbor needed help, the church was there to lend a hand.
But over the years as they moved from small town life to larger cities across the country, they began to see need in a different light, and on a much larger scale. So in the early 1980s when their pastor presented the idea for an organization to help Neighbors in Need, Ken and Suzie were immediately on board.
"We've been intimately familiar with NAM since before it was NAM," says Ken. "We've seen it grow from the early stages, and it's come a long way."
Suzie volunteered with Meals on Wheels for 25 years, and just retired from that role last year. Ken has served in leadership roles at NAM for more than 15 years, first on the Board of Trustees and now as a member of the Congregational Advisory Committee. Both have been instrumental in recruiting friends, neighbors, and business associates to volunteer or donate to NAM.
The Castleburys support other organizations as well, including national groups and international causes. "But we find more pleasure in the local, because you know it's going somewhere around you and you can see the results," says Ken.
"Whenever we think about NAM, we relate it to Matthew chapter 25," he adds. "That's kind of how we feel about giving to NAM. It's like we're giving to Jesus."
Ken's career was in design and control systems for oil companies, and he was part owner of a company which sold in 2000. Suzie worked in a beauty shop for many years and enjoys gardening and working in the yard.
When the company sold, "at that point we decided we probably weren't going to spend all of this money in our lifetime," says Ken. "It would be nice if we could continue helping people after we're not here." So several years ago, Ken and Suzie updated their will and designated that 50 percent of their estate be given to their church and other charitable organizations, including NAM.
"There's no reason to quit giving just because you grow old, or you die," says Ken. "My all-time giving here is John D. Rockefeller. He started giving huge amounts of money before he ever died. But the more he gave, the more God blessed him. And Rockefeller is still a huge foundation that doles out millions of dollars."
"There's a certain amount of joy you get in knowing that you're going to continue to give after you're gone," Ken concludes. "When you give your children a gift, you see the pleasure on their face. And when you give somebody food who doesn't have food, you know they've got to feel good about that." (Featured in Spring 2015 NAM Endowment Fund Newsletter)