When we examine the roots of who we are, we remember our parents, a few truly inspirational teachers, episodic events in our lives, and individuals whose lives and values we hoped to emulate -- our mentors.

The last decade has seen the deaths of several individuals whose lives set the standards for my generation; namely, Charlie Bell, Sandy Bemis, Ed Spencer and, most recently, George Pillsbury. They not only excelled at their chosen professions, often as leaders of our major local corporations, but gave of their time, talent and treasure to build our community, and to make our cities, state and nation a better place for all to live and work.

They were the ones who stepped forward to lead the capital campaigns, who chaired our major nonprofit organizations and foundations, and who, for my generation, demonstrated that one could lead an organization to great success while holding to high ethical standards and with concern for one's employees, customers and community.

They will be missed -- but not forgotten, for hopefully their values will live on in the conduct of our current generation of leaders. It is interesting to speculate how different our nation would be today if the leaders of the U.S. financial community and the leaders in Congress had adhered to the ethical standards of this great generation.