Sunday, April 16, 2006
As Fort Myers began to grow, George recognized that the city would soon outgrow Page Field, the airport which had serviced it through the World Wars. He also knew that due to the storm season SW Florida experienced, and the elevation of most of the land relative to sea level, that the county would need to build a new, larger airport on the highest ground possible. So, he sought out that land and bought it. Soon enough, the county sought out the same land for just the purpose Mr. Sanders suspected and they came to him. He sold it for $40 million. So, when I say Mr. Sanders was a real estate guy, that's what I mean. It's hard not to think that he actually owned Fort Myers.
But George was more than that. For all the money he made, he gave away much. One of George's favorite and most beloved organizations was the Boy Scouts. Our Council campground is half named after him and the Council office is the Sanders building.
But for all that, it is not what I remember most about Mr. Sanders. I remember a day I met with him. My Dad had taken me to Mr. Sanders' home as a teenager and I saw an old guitar sitting in the corner. At that time I was interested in learning the guitar so I picked it up and played probably the only chord I knew. Mr. Sanders asked me if I wanted to keep it. I looked at my Dad and he nodded. I said, "Yes, sir." He said, "I'll give it to you on one condition. Never let them take God out of Scouting."
Now, I never actually succeeded in learning the guitar, but I have done my best to uphold my portion of the bargain.
Rest in peace this day, George Sanders, and rise in glory with our Lord.