In Memory of a Kind Soul
By Ava Dowell
For over 25 years Leslie Blanchard served as a front line volunteer in the fight against hunger in Seattle. Les stood out for his action driven compassion, his vision of a world without hunger, and his steadfast efforts to make that vision a reality by reaching to those wrestling with burdens and cares.
Upon his retirement in 1987 from the City of Seattle Engineering Department, he made the choice to dedicate himself to volunteer service. But, long before that, Leslie modeled his personal philosophy after the 1952 Nobel Prize winner Albert Schweitzer, and Schweitzer’s book “My Life and Thought”. Les often shared many of his mentor’s sayings with the volunteers and and staff, such as:
“Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it is the only thing. Do something wonderful, people may imitate it.”
Leslie was always recognized as a remarkable volunteer, known for his reliability, his compassion for the people he served, and his ability to inspire those around him. In 1997 he was nominated by Ava Dowell as one of three of Seattle’s winners of the U.S. Mayors End Hunger Award, for his years of devoted volunteer work to aid the homeless, hungry and vulnerable population in Seattle.
We are privileged to have known Leslie during his 17 years of volunteering at FamilyWorks Food Bank, and 13 years at Northwest Harvest Cherry Street Bank. Both food banks have seen many examples of Leslie bring to life another of his favorite quotes from Schweitzer:
“Therefore, search and see if there is not someplace you may invest your humanity”
Leslie’s innumerable acts of kindness have brightened many dark days for the people we serve, and helped make his vision of a better world a reality, one person at a time.
To Leslie, volunteerism was not only a part of his life, but also “A matter of ethical duty”, as he would often say. We at FamilyWorks Food Bank will always remember and feel his spirit serving the People. We miss you very much!!