A simple handwritten note on a ukulele reads, Breathe in, Breathe out.
The ukulele is a daily reminder for Buddy Wilton. “I breathe in with gratitude and out with generosity,” he says.
Together with his wife, Shay Doll, the couple exemplifies the spirit of generosity.
Shay’s second nature is taking care of others. At the top of her list is her family, which includes her young niece and nephew in Challis. Shay visits her family frequently, braving the Trail Creek pass each time. She is also the caretaker of her family’s ranch—mending fences, moving dirt and preserving the family’s legacy. In addition to caring for family, she will drop just about anything to be there for a friend or a stranger in need.
“To me, helping others means that as long as I stop to look around long enough to observe a need—no matter how large or small—I am provided with a new opportunity in my life to make a positive impact,” she says. “Helping is such a broad term to describe our choice to make something better for others. It may simply be holding a door, carrying groceries, smiling at someone or taking time with them.”
Buddy, too, spends his life in service to others. It was a commitment he made many years ago—giving his time, expertise, resources and visionary thinking to help others. He has served on numerous nonprofit boards across the country, including the U.S. Ski Team, Virginia Tech, Baptist Health South Florida Foundation and St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation. In 2003, the Association of Philanthropy recognized his generosity, naming him Virginia’s philanthropist of the year.
This past year, the couple’s generosity made a significant impact on the health and care of our community. Together they made a $1 million commitment to St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation in addition to a planned gift.
“Giving is just as easy as breathing,” Buddy says. “We should all do it.”
Their gift establishes several endowments, including funds to recognize staff and a newly-established Physician Innovation Endowment. This endowment provides physicians another way to invest in better patient care, as St. Luke’s Wood River doctors will decide how to use the endowment fund earnings each year. Established as a challenge gift, Buddy and Shay will match dollar-for-dollar every dollar given up to $50,000 to this endowment.
The gift came after Buddy served several years on the St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation Board, and the couple spent significant time with staff and physicians to understand the health needs in the Wood River Valley. The two often come for lunch at the hospital and are welcomed as part of the St. Luke’s family. St. Luke’s Wood River employees know them on a first-name basis, and many have been touched by their generosity.
“Financial help and support is huge,” Shay says, “but it takes interested people on the ground to make positive changes with each and every generous donation.”
Buddy’s and Shay’s generosity is changing lives today and will continue to impact care for generations to come.