Mark James–Lancaster, PA

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In Member Stories

Heritage recently sat down with Heritage Legacy Society member and estate planning attorney Mark James of Lancaster, Pennsylvania for advice on estate planning as well as his thoughts on why he’s chosen to remember Heritage in his own plans.

Mark JamesHeritage: Is there any advance homework a person can or should do before their first appointment with an estate planning attorney?

Mark: I give my clients a brief questionnaire to help them clarify what I call “The Three P’s of Estate Planning”: People, Property, and Plans. For “people,” you’ll need to determine who will receive the assets from your estate. It sounds simple, but there’s often more than meets the eye. I’ve had clients who had originally planned to divide assets equally among all their children, but after some prompting, realized that special safeguards should be put in place due to a problematic or spendthrift child.

Similarly, it’s helpful to take inventory of your “property” to estimate the value of your estate. Not only will it be helpful to your attorney in determining potential estate taxes, but it’s also important to know how your assets are titled, whether you own real estate in a different state, and what portion of your estate’s value is in real estate, retirement accounts, and financial assets for example. Continue Reading »

David Caldwell — St. Louis, MO

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David Caldwell

David Caldwell

Heritage Foundation member David Caldwell has been handing out candy to children in his St. Louis neighborhood for years. But this year, he decided to shake up the routine a bit.

The children in his neighborhood are getting older, and the media often reports that students are getting a poor education, especially in subjects like civics and history. So Caldwell decided to hand out copies of The Heritage Foundation’s pocket-sized Declaration of Independence and Constitution in hopes the kids would get a quick lesson on our nation’s Founding.

“Kids need a little historical foundation before the go to these liberal colleges,” Caldwell explains. “They’re getting brainwashed in the high schools with propaganda. It should be part of the conservative movement to give a better historical education.” Continue Reading »

Member Story: Emilio Guerra—Coral Gables, FL

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In Member Stories

The Guerra family in 1961.

The Guerra family in 1961.

It was at an event in Seattle, Washington this summer that Emilio Guerra, a Patriot’s Club member of The Heritage Foundation, ran into Heritage President Jim DeMint in a hotel lobby.

Guerra recognized DeMint and chatted briefly with him. “Jim is a person you immediately connect with because he’s just a good human being,” Guerra said. After they exchanged e-mails, Guerra shared his inspirational story that should make every American proud of our country.

Guerra was born in Cuba to a middle class family. Because of their experiences under dictator Fulgencio Batista, some Cubans were happy when Fidel Castro seized power in 1959. But Guerra’s father, a banker, foresaw the dangers of the Castro dictatorship.

After the unsuccessful Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961, Castro cracked down. He issued an edict demanding children attend government “reeducation” camps to defend and promote the revolution.

Guerra’s father knew he had to get his children — Emilio and David — out of the country. Armed with the knowledge that the Archdiocese of Miami and other Catholic charities were receiving Cuban children and finding them foster homes, the elder Guerra used a ruse to send his children overseas. (Adults were forbidden to leave the country in a measure intended to combat the country’s “brain drain,” so his parents did not accompany their children at first.)

Here’s how Guerra described what happened next in a letter sent this July to all his co-workers: Continue Reading »

Scott Erickson — San Jose, CA

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Scott Erickson

Photo courtesy Scott Erickson

Young President’s Club member Scott Erickson is one of the hundreds of thousands of Heritage Foundation members who have devoted their lives to the principles they espouse. On top of his work as a police officer, where he walks the streets to uphold the rule of law in his community, Erickson collaborates with Heritage experts to strengthen America as a whole.

A second-generation California police officer, Erickson was born to Jerry and Carroll Ann Erickson. Growing up in his grandmother’s conservative household after his parents passed away, Erickson understood from an early age the importance of understanding both current events and history. He idolized Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, and George Washington. Today, he worries that our government is retreating ever further from our republic’s founding principles. Continue Reading »

Remembering Our Heritage

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In Member Stories

The Heritage Foundation’s George Kryvenka realized growing up that communism and oppression have real and dire consequences.  As a child in Belarus, a former Soviet republic, propaganda from the Soviet and then the Belarusian government led him to believe the United States was the enemy. But his own country’s harsh government and his knowledge of English led him to reconsider. Today he proudly lives in Maryland and works as Heritage’s facilities manager.

Continue Reading »

Entrepreneur Bob Miller Inspires Graduating Heritage Interns

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In Member Stories

Bob Miller addresses Heritage's fall 2012 intern class as Heritage Vice President Becky Norton Dunlop looks on.

Entrepreneur and Heritage Foundation member Bob Miller urged Heritage interns in a speech last week to “to keep the American Dream alive for those who come after us.”

Miller, who built Better Baked Foods from the ground up, knows actions speak louder than words.

“My life demonstrates the positive effect of the American Dream. My 50 year story is really a love affair with freedom,” he told the 60 interns assembled in Heritage’s Allison Auditorium for their graduation ceremony.

Miller came from humble beginnings  making donuts at his family’s bakery. He eventually started a hot dog and pizza stand, which grew into one of the largest frozen food manufacturers in the United States. Continue Reading »

Member Story: Orit Sklar–Atlanta, Georgia

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In Member Stories

Orit Sklar

Orit Sklar

As a young conservative who grew up in New York and now resides in Atlanta, Heritage Foundation member Orit Sklar is no stranger to public policy and constitutional debates. Her love of country and conservative values run so deep that she never gets deterred by liberals. She knows she is fighting the good fight.

The 27-year-old Sklar is a champion of individual liberty, economic  freedom, traditional values, and American exceptionalism. Her family faced persecution in Russia and Eastern Europe before they emigrated to the U.S., so she knows just how exceptional America is.

And she truly understands the devastating effects of big government. Continue Reading »

Member Story: The Importance of Fatherhood

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In Member Stories

Allan Clark has never questioned the importance of hard work and effort. Allan and his seven siblings grew up in southern California on his single mother’s salary. He recalls patching his shoes with playing cards and duct tape when money was tight.

Never taking things for granted, Allan began working full-time at a construction company driving forklifts and was quickly promoted to yard manager due to his hard work and diligence. At 19 years old, Allan saved up enough money to purchase his first house, a very counter-cultural act for a California teenager in the 70s.

Growing up with a distant father, Allan made fatherhood a priority in his own life. After marrying his wife, Silvana, they knew their lives were too good not to share with just each another. Allan and Silvana were active volunteers with local foster homes, volunteering their time to be a positive role model for children with less than perfect pasts. After seeing firsthand the frustration and bureaucracy of the foster system, Allan and his wife adopted an eight-year-old girl who had an abusive past. Allan dove into fatherhood, choosing a career as a school bus trainer so he could have the summers off, never missing his daughter’s dance recitals, school plays or softball games.

Heritage research has shown that adolescents with strong relationships with their fathers have more positive psychological, behavioral and educational outcomes. Having a father present also drastically decreases the chance of an adolescent to be delinquent, and/or abuse drugs or alcohol. Allan knew the implications and took the responsibility of fatherhood seriously. Continue Reading »

G. L. Carter–Morristown, TN

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G.L. Carter

G.L. Carter

George Washington, Ronald Reagan, and even Elvis Presley left legacies that have permanently changed America. But you don’t have to live a life in the spotlight to leave a legacy. Heritage member G.L. Carter is a prime example of someone who, like many of us, has worked hard and lived the American Dream. Today, he is committed to leaving a powerful legacy behind.

In fact, well over 1,700 Americans just like you have decided to leave a legacy of freedom by including The Heritage Foundation in their will or trust and joining the Heritage Legacy Society. The Heritage Legacy Society was created to help facilitate the estate planning process for members and can even provide a complimentary Wills Planner (see form below).

The story behind G.L.’s legacy began with a run-in at the tender age of 12 with the Tennessee Valley Authority. The TVA, one of the most controversial agencies created under Franklin Roosevelt’s New deal, confiscated the land his family was farming. This was his first experience with the intrusive nature of government. Continue Reading »

Anne and Charles Willey – St. Louis, Missouri

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In Member Stories

The WilleysWhen asked why they are conservatives, Heritage Foundation members Charles and Anne Willey have a ready answer. Personal liberty, self-reliance and limited government are important principles, they say. And Americans, they add, do not need or want meddling, ill-informed government butting into their lives.

The best government, in their view, is a limited government defined by the rule of law. Problems are best solved, innovations are created and the human condition is improved when individuals and voluntary associations of individuals act in their mutual self-interest.

Anne explains:

We are deeply frustrated with a government which manipulates its citizenry through tax incentives and entitlements to encourage dependency, picking winners and losers, and swelling the debt and budget of the country. We are frustrated with a government which over-criminalizes its citizenry to engineer liberal progressivism into all parts of our lives: our health care, our families and social choices, our education, our energy choices, the media, and our businesses and banking enterprises, among others.

Continue Reading »

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