Prior to his death, my 117-year-old father, Andrew F. Hatch, was a benefactor of Bernard J. Tyson’s benevolence. My father was not a wealthy man and represented many elders in America below the poverty line, but he was rich in love and family support.
While my father lived in his own apartment until the age of 115, a fall caused him to live with me, his only daughter, after being discharged from the hospital. Naturally, I wanted to provide my dad with all the amenities I could. I discovered that an advanced bed would comfortably extend the quality of his life. However, obtaining a hospital bed of this magnitude seemed an impossible task until KTVU local news anchor Dave Clark (who had interviwed my dad in the past) reached out to his friend, Bernard J. Tyson, to ask about securing this invaluable bed.
I was immediately contacted by Kaiser Permanente to inform me that Mr. Tyson would have this state-of-the-art hospital bed sent to my home. A crew delivered and assembled the bed, and my family was thoroughly instructed on its use by the manufacturer. Additionally, Mr. Tyson himself, along with Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, visited my dad.
The boyish smile on his face conveyed excitement to simply be in the presence of this supercentenarian. I am sure he took just as much pleasure in giving my dad this amazing gift as we did receiving it. People like Bernard J. Tyson are true examples that service to others makes for the best leaders. Matthew 23:11 says, “The greatest among you will be your servant.” Bernard J. Tyson, a man of God and of the people, lived a sermon that others, like my family, heard loud and clear.
To build on Mr. Tyson’s legacy the not-for-profit that I operate called DNNC Steps to Success, which provides primarily African-American single mothers with a vocational scholarship, will create a scholarship in his honor as our way of doubling down on his legacy of kindness, doubling down on his legacy of consideration and inclusion, and most of all, doubling down on what this world needs most—love and service to others.