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Students show support for teacher after tragedy following mission trip

Editor’s Note: The following was submitted to The Chronicle from someone who wanted to note that there are, indeed, good students in this world who will step forward in compassion when the need arises. It was posted by Glencoe-Silver Lake Band Director Peter Gepson on the school bands’ Facebook page:
“Last month, I took my second mission trip to Haiti.  This trip was sponsored by the Haiti Lutheran Mission Society (HLMS) (U.S.A.) and Good Shepherd Lutheran Church of Glencoe. The current interim pastor at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church is Robert Nowak (who happens to be the president of the HLMS).
“I have not really talked about my trip much since my return. The trip itself was a very rewarding experience (again). But on our trip return to Minnesota we found out (after landing in Miami) that our good friend, driver, translator and guide, Leonard Isidor, was murdered in a robbery about an hour after dropping us off at the airport.  Leonard was the most humble and generous person I had ever met and was a leader in his community (he had a water filtration system installed at his home — which doubled as a church — so he could provide clean water to people in his neighborhood in Port Au Prince and his house was bursting at the seams with rice he had obtained and would be giving away to those in need).
“When I first returned to school after my return from the trip, I had not slept in over 24 hours and was only a few hours removed from this shocking news. I shared it with my high school students so they would understand why I might be reluctant to talk about my latest trip to Haiti. It was very emotional, and not at all easy. A few days later I received a nice card signed by over 150 GSL high school students. I was very touched by this but had no idea what they were up to next.
“Today, they asked me to read a letter to both my Symphonic and Concert bands at GSL High School. When they first took the initiative to contact Pastor Nowak with their idea to raise funds, they did not know that the executive board of the HLMS had just met and founded the “Leonard Isidor Memorial Fund for Outreach.” Their generous donation will likely be the first contribution to this memorial fund.
“This simple act by these students is probably the nicest thing anyone had ever done for me.  I will never, ever forget this.”
Following is the letter written to Gepson from his band members:
“Dear Mr. Gepson,
“Two weeks ago, you came back from your mission trip to Haiti. You spoke to us about both the good and bad things that unfortunately took place while on your mission trip. Sharing your story with the class motivated us to take some action. We spoke with Pastor Nowak and found the organization through which you have done your mission trips. After finding out the details, we planned a fundraiser and collected donations. Over the past week, we raised $926.01 to be sent to Haiti, and we’re still collecting. We have designated this money to be put into the Leonard Isador Memorial Fund for Outreach.
“Thank you for everything that you do for us, especially for inspiring us to always be the best that we an be.”
Concert & Symphonic Band Members