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No Time Like the Present

No Time Like the Present

John Hall (09C) understands the importance of a helping hand. Confined to a wheelchair since a 2003 high school cheerleading accident, the former athlete found success at Berry, in part because of the assistance he received from the likes of Martha Van Cise, director of the Academic Support Center, and Eric Morris, his trainer at the Cage Center.

"I probably wouldn't have made it through Berry if it wasn't for Martha Van Cise," Hall said. "She made sure that I got all the accommodations that I needed, and she always helped me out. If there was anything that I needed, she was my go-to person."

Plagued by illness and depression his first two years on campus, the Chattooga County (Ga.) native eventually became an active participant in Berry's Model United Nations and forensic programs. He also found his way to the Cage, where Morris helped him resume a more active lifestyle through regular hand-cycle workouts. By the time graduation came Hall was a national forensic champion ready to take on the world.

Today, as a program analyst at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Hall continues to navigate the daily challenges of life in a wheelchair, but that doesn't prevent him from exploring ways to help others - especially Berry students. Already, he's taken advantage of one opportunity available to him by making Berry the beneficiary of his life insurance policy through the college's planned giving program. In the future, he hopes to do even more.

"As a young professional, I don't have a lot of financial assets to invest. I can't give cash; I don't have property. But I did have a life insurance policy, and that was a commitment I could make," he explained. "When people give back, there really is an impact. It's a big impact, even if they don't see it right away. All of the Cage donors don't know that it was really instrumental for me, but it was. Hopefully, I can relay that to other potential donors. I would like to eventually raise money for a scholarship fund endowed in my name."

Still in the process of determining criteria for his scholarship, Hall dreams of creating a pipeline to Berry from his hometown. He also wants to provide opportunities for students to build connections on campus. In the process, he hopes to serve as an example to other young alumni.

"I didn't know about planned giving," he related. "I hope that more young alumni will see that there's a commitment they can make now."

To learn more about the planned giving options available to donors of all ages, contact Helen Lansing at 877-461-0039 (toll free) or hlansing@berry.edu.


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