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Tom Keasey Pays it Forward

Tom Keasey admits there have been times growing up, that he wanted to hide his vision impairment. But now he is happy to share his story. “I’ve been a client of VisionCorps since the mid-1950’s,” Tom said, “and they’ve done a lot for me.” He’s also been a staff member, a board member, and a donor. And now you can add legacy donor to that impressive list.

Tom became vision impaired when he was a premature baby by getting too much oxygen in his incubator. After two years attending a residential school for the Blind, a family friend convinced his home school district to give him a chance to go to public school. Growing up and throughout most of his years in school, Tom tried to hide his vision impairment. “I just didn’t want to be different,” he said.

As soon as he graduated from college, Tom found a job at the York County Blind Center (now VisionCorps) doing a radio reading service for the blind. He worked there for twelve years, and later served two terms as a board member.

Tom is aware of the work that still needs to be done to improve the quality of life for the vision impaired. He would like to see employers give more with disabilities a chance to show what they can do. Transportation is also a big problem. “I meet lots of seniors who can no longer drive because of their vision loss,” said Tom. “They’re struggling.”

Tom decided to “pay it forward” and include VisionCorps Foundation in his will. As a legacy donor, Tom is helping to ensure that others like him receive the resources and supports that VisionCorps provides. “VisionCorps has played a role in my life and it always will until I start pushing up daisies. They’ve been good to me. I’ve been very fortunate to have what I have, and to be where I’m at,” he said. “So, if I can help somebody else, that’s what it’s all about.”


The "Ain't it Kool Fund"

Gary Laird loved drag racing, golfing, and his family.  After retiring from Kinsley Construction, Gary more fully pursued his racing career.  In fact, every winter, you could find him racing in Florida.  He named his racing enterprise “Ain’t It Kool” because he felt his life was so blessed and often commented, “Ain’t it kool that I can do this!”


What people sometimes didn’t know about Gary was that he felt his purpose in life was to help children and adults who struggled from mental illness or disabilities.


Upon the death of his beloved sister, Rene, Gary realized the impact one could make not only during their life, but also in the legacy they could leave with a thoughtful estate plan.  Through making charitable donations from Rene’s estate, Gary was driven to create the Gary and Rene Laird Ain’t it Kool Fund at the Adams County Community Foundation.  Gary’s purpose in establishing this fund was twofold.  He wanted to honor the life of his sister, Rene, while also ensuring that the charities close to his heart would receive continual annual gifts even after his death.  Upon Gary’s passing in the spring of 2016, his entire estate was directed to this fund.  One of the charities directly impacted by Gary’s legacy gift is Leg Up Farm, a nonprofit therapy center for children impacted by special needs.


Teacher Doris Schwartz's Dream

Doris Schwartz approached life with an enviable freedom of spirit.  She started her career as a teacher, before deciding that wasn’t the path for her.  Instead, she wanted to travel the world and chose to become a flight attendant with American Airlines.  England, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Japan – Doris saw them all, often with her longtime companion, Carl, a pilot with the airline.  For a time after her retirement, she even lived on a boat with Carl. 

When Carl died, Doris decided to move into the West York row home she inherited from her parents.  While she was living a more settled and quieter life, Doris’ desire to broaden landscapes and think large, did not diminish.  Inspired by her international travels, Doris worked with local Attorney John Stitt to create the Doris E. Schwartz Education Fund at York County Community Foundation. 

Through this fund, a forum called the Innovation Lab was created which guides local educators to solve problems via a process called design thinking.  The first class of the Innovation Lab brought together 35 teachers across 12 school districts who focused on increasing student engagement, improving community perceptions of the school districts, and creating a Think Tank class to introduce students to the concept of design thinking.  In addition, the Doris E. Schwartz fund provides scholarship support to graduating seniors from 13 York County school districts.

“Doris was a unique woman and she wanted her legacy to reflect that,” said Attorney Stitt. While she may not have fully envisioned the legacy she was leaving, the education system in York County will be forever changed because of her generosity and foresight.


A Star On and Off Stage


Tim DeVore loved the theatre. A young man with special needs, Tim joined the Typical Life Corp acting class for adults at DreamWrights Youth & Family Theatre in 2011. Recognizing his enthusiasm and spirit, DreamWrights hired him through Penn Mar to clean the building.

There, his interest flourished, and he soon worked up the courage to audition. He began his stage career on the set crew for “A Christmas Carol,” and later made his stage debut in “Robin Hood.”

Shortly after, Tim was diagnosed with cancer. He passed away on November 8, 2013 at the young age of 31. Tim had asked that memorial gifts be made to DreamWrights, and after his death, more than $1,000 was donated in his name. He had also directed his family to give his entire estate to DreamWrights, resulting in a gift of $1,522.05.



Shelly Memorial Garden

Grace Shelly believed in the mission of her friend, Margaret E. Moul, to provide a home with rehabilitation, medical and nursing care for adults with cerebral palsy in York County. That’s why she and her husband, John, of York, decided to “leave a legacy” to help aid in renovations of the Margaret E. Moul Home.

With the bequest gift, a Japanese-inspired garden was created in the Home’s west courtyard in 2004. More than 10 years later residents, staff and visitors still enjoy the peace, beauty and relaxation of the garden, which now include memory bricks, a pergola and solid teakwood benches.

“I know Mom and Dad would share our joy in creating such a beautiful, serene garden,” said the Shellys’ daughter Brenda Bonanno. “Thank you for allowing us to memorialize my parents in such an appropriate way.”

Would you like to see your success story on this page? Contact Leave A Legacy® York County at 717-854-8755 x250 or at

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