To begin with…my name is S. Lee Strayer, President (Retired) of Junior Achievement of Western PA, Inc. and the founder of “Protect the Hersheys’ Children, Inc.” (PHC) and the first President. There are MANY things I can explain to about the creation of PHC, i.e.; Rick Santorum, Tom Corbett, Bob Reese, John Rice, Ric Fouad, etc. yet I simply want you to know some additional information.
Corrective actions were being taken by those of us in respect for our benefactor, Milton S. Hershey and NOT for ANY self-serving reasons. I was an MHS “lifer” as I arrived in 1956 at the age of 5 and graduated in 1968. In 2000, I was given the Career Achievement Award and that’s when I realized how much was changed.
Here’s a question I’ve asked MANY others…”When you die would you expect your Will to be executed as written?” ALL have said “yes” yet Mr. Hershey’s was changed soon after he died in 1945. Prior to his death he said: “The only unusual thing about this school is the fact that I am carrying out the terms of my will while I am still alive. If I passed away tomorrow, everything would go right ahead, and there would be no one to step in and upset things. Everything would go on as though I were here.” This is what Mr. Hershey said and expected to be done which made it clear afterwards that his Will was not going “…right ahead” and that members of the Board, following his death, were (quite factually and not based on my opinion) “upset(ting) things”.
My personal feeling was that anyone’s Will should be followed forever as it was written. Sure, anyone could disagree with some things Mr. Hershey wanted done yet that’s an irrelevant opinion…not a FACT which should be kept as it was. For example…sure, I like the Hershey Medical Center yet, when he was still alive, he was asked about having a medical center in Hershey and he said: “”Some have asked that I build a Medical Center in Hershey. This I would never do because it is not a place for a Medical Center…”. KEY WORD IS “NEVER” and many like it, including me…yet, it still should have been based on his way of thinking.
Unfortunately, many of MHS Alumni went against one another…some for self-serving reasons while even some in favor of MHS reform also went against one another, sad to say. As such, while I hope and pray, that AG Kane will take actual/complete corrective actions…I sincerely hope the “civil war” between MHS Alumni will be ended and all of us will be true friends with one another again. I believe that Mr. Hershey would have expected as he said yet I also truly believe that he would want all of his children (alumni’s) to be strongly committed to one another.
As for me…when Jesus Christ died and went to Heaven, he sits at the right hand of God, the Father. If I go to Heaven some day, I would not be surprised to see Mr. Hershey sitting at the right hand of Jesus. Additionally, because of all that Bob Reese did while working for HFC and then later becoming on the BoM…I wouldn’t be surprised to see him sitting at the right hand of Mr. Hershey!