Original Story from Junior Achievement of Southwest Virginia
During JA Alumni Month in January, WFXR-TV in Roanoke, Virginia, featured a story about Dr. Jim Sears. Dr. Sears, who is the President and CEO of the city’s Center in the Square, a regional cultural and arts center, discussed how Junior Achievement impacted his life in the 1950s when he participated in the JA Company Program.
“You got your product materials, you made your product, you sold your product, you accounted for it and then you closed it out at the end of the term. It was a fantastic experience. It taught us all about business," said Sears.
Dr. Sears then when on to talk about his JA volunteer during the news segment.
"Well, 50 years later or more I still remember his name. Now who do I remember 50 years ago? I remember Mr. Pedigo. He obviously made a strong impression on me about volunteering and helping people in the community, particularly children," said Sears.
The segment played on the local news in January. And while you might think that would be the end of the story, Dr. Sears later shared with JA that something unexpected happened:
“As a FYI, 88 year old, Mr. Pedigo walked in on the 11:00 PM news (at home) when I mentioned his name. He tracked me down and asked, ‘am I the Mr. Pedigo to whom you referred’? We compared notes down to the products we produced as a company and the car in which he drove the Junior Achievers to neighborhoods to sell their products. We talked for 30 minutes and I could tell it enthused him to reach back to his younger days and to be told that he made a positive impact on the lives of many kids. His daughter texted me later telling me what a miracle it had been for him to see the TV broadcast and that I returned a call to him as his wife of 60 plus years had died just six months before and he was down in spirits. She said this whole episode lifted his spirits and communicated to him that God still had things for him to do. I have invited him and his family to visit Center in the Square and to lunch. If I find that he is able, I might ask him to volunteer at our visitor services desk. I have two other 90 plus year olds and people love them.”