Thomas Walters Estate Planning April 2019

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April 2019

Looking at Anne Sullivan’s Life And Her Inspirational Dedication

This month, April 14 marks the 153rd birthday of Anne Sullivan. I’m sure many of you remember that Anne Sullivan was the teacher who helped Helen Keller learn to interact with the world around her through fingerspelling. Keller was in a dark world, and it was Sullivan’s effort and determination that opened her up. Their inspirational story quickly spread across the nation, and the two women quickly became advocates for the deaf and blind in receiving a proper education. They spent their lives together, traveling across the country to give lectures about their accomplishments and to share their unique story. Everyone knows the story of Helen Keller and her life after she met Anne Sullivan, but not very much of the teacher. Sullivan had a difficult early life. When she was five, Sullivan caught trachoma, a disease that causes continual infection of the eyes. Eventually, the disease caused Sullivan to suffer almost complete vision loss. At the age of eight, her mother died, and her father put her and her younger brother, Jimmie, into a poor house known as Tewksbury Almshouse. Three months after they arrived, Jimmie died due to the deplorable living conditions there. Desperate to leave Almshouse, she asked a commission group that was inspecting the building if she could attend a school specifically for the blind. They agreed, and shortly afterward she began attending Perkins School for the Blind. From there, Sullivan climbed quickly in her education and impressed many of her teachers — by the time she graduated, she had many close relationships with them, including the director of the school. It

was through these connections that she eventually made her way to Helen Keller. One of the most well-known stories of the two is how Sullivan broke through to the young girl. By running water over one hand and fingerspelling “water” in the other, Keller finally made a connection from what was being spelled to the objects around her. From there, Keller became enthusiastic about her education, learning how to read braille, most of her multiplication tables, and 575 words within a few months. It was here their inspirational story began. Keller — not just in her early years but throughout her life — is amazing. Sullivan showed an incredible amount of innovation in helping Keller with her education, and that desire for breakthrough excellence is something I share with this great woman. Putting all my effort in to ensuring my clients’ needs are taken care of is second nature. My singular goal is to educate my clients and guide them through the highly stressful process that is estate planning, not just when they come to me for the first time but for the rest of their lives. Our team supports our clients every day, no matter what situation they find themselves in. We want them to know that we’re here for them, even when they’re facing an uncomfortable situation. Part of how we do this is by putting together a team that includes an expert estate planning attorney and a financial advisor for our client to resource and talk with throughout and after the estate planning process. The effort and determination that Sullivan showed in educating and supporting Helen

Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller left an incredible legacy for all of us to draw on. They continue to inspire teachers and students to help, encourage, and advocate for the people around them.

-Les lie Thomas

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