The very first seeds of the Building Bridges organization were planted in April of 1990 when BB President, Paul Housey, heard the following poem for the first time. Never before had he so clearly understood that both his personal success and happiness would be measured not by the riches or fame that he accumulated for himself, but by my ability to make this world a better place for those who will one day walk in the footsteps that he creates.
The Bridge Builder
by Will Allen Dromgoole
An old man going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm vast and deep and wide.
Through which was flowing a sullen tide
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.
“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,
“You are wasting your strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day,
You never again will pass this way;
You’ve crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build this bridge at evening tide?”
The builder lifted his old gray head;
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followed after me to-day
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been as naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!”
“I am fortunate to have a strong faith, a wonderful family, excellent schooling, good health and great friends. While many people in this world do not have these gifts that I have so often taken for granted, the words of this poem inspired me to focus my efforts on the most innocent of all people – children. For no one can blame a child for not having a strong faith, a wonderful family, excellent schooling, good health or great friends. A child is totally and completely at the mercy of the world that surrounds him or her. So now, I make the choice every day to reach out a hand, to build a bridge to span the gap to the next generation so that the world in which these children grow, will be a better place and that their lives will be more enjoyable. Please join me.”
– Paul E. Housey