You might say, Mike Zimmer, fondly known as “Uncle Mike” to his family and friends, was an expert in second chances.
More than 50 years ago, on a mountain in Italy, a German bomb exploded over his head, killing the soldiers on both sides of him. But he survived and even hitch a ride to Rome to have an audience with the Pope. A bit of a rebel, the Army court-martialed him five times but then gave him a second chance to keep fighting. And, even though the girl of his dreams at first wouldn’t give him a second look, she finally decided to give him a chance – and they were married a year later.
When he returned from the war, his former employer, General Motors, gave him a chance to get his job back and he worked there for 43 years until he retired. His job there was as a quality inspector. When he found a problem, the workers at GM got a second chance to build a vehicle properly.
After his beloved wife, Dorothy, passed on, he decided to leave his entire estate to Catholic Charities so that less fortunate people can have a second chance at a better life. Because he remembered what it was like to go hungry during the Great Depression, he applauded the efforts of Our Daily Bread to serve the hundreds who visit there each day. Because his brother-in-law struggled with alcoholism, he wanted to support the work of My Sister’s Place and Christopher’s Place to help those determined to overcome past challenges and create new lives for themselves.
Uncle Mike once said, “There are a lot of terrible things that go on in this world.” Thanks to his extraordinary generosity, the people in need Catholic Charities serves are being given a chance to rebuild their lives.