It took three attempts to actually sit down and write an introduction to this Legacy video of architect Jerry Shonkwiler, aka. J-Shonk, not just my nickname for him, but a foundation-wide show of affection and respect for the legend that is Jerry. Somehow, with 10 plus years of preparation for a post just like this, I just seemed to come up short each time. How do you thank someone who has been so generous with their time, and so kind in their support? I was lost, honestly, there are just so many things I want to say, and so, on this fourth try, I’ll just say this: from my very first day on the SDAF Board of Directors, Jerry has been an incredibly thoughtful mentor and friend, and is without doubt one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. I am a better leader, friend, collaborator and mentor myself, because of Jerry.
When I was invited to be part of this foundation, I had no understanding of the quality people I was getting involved with. Volunteering was important to me, and so there I was – feeling all “solid” about my effort to get in and participate, only to meet Jerry who was there at the very beginning of SDAF. Way back when it was just an idea in the early 80s, and yet, there he was. STILL participating, officially, for 20 years, on this well-established Board of Directors. 20 years, crikey. That’s a long time to do anything, but for someone to volunteer their time towards a non-profit organization, asking nothing in return, I find it just straight up inspirational, and there is no question his contributions have fueled my own desire to continue in my volunteerism too. Jerry’s contributions to SDAF are countless. He spearheaded our Scholarships program, has been an active committee member for all our curated events, donated his time and photographic talents to our Orchids & Onions program as well as donating framed prints for our silent auction. I own one myself titled “thanks for nothing hippies.”
Jerry – you have set the bar my friend, and you set it high. You have led by example. Through your actions, your kindness, and your humor, you have been and will always be a part of the SDAF family. We are in your debt sir. Thank you!