In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we salute a generous man

During this beautiful season of giving, we’d like to take a moment to salute a most generous man.

Pastor Ron Vignec, founder of the Eastside/Salishan Lutheran Mission in Tacoma, Washington and brother of Winch Financial CEO Christina Winch, devoted his life to ministering to the poor and disenfranchised.

He created a mission congregation in Tacoma’s low-income public housing development and championed the idea of building communities from within, a movement called Asset Based Community Development.

When he died on November 17, Pastor Ron left behind a legacy of hope among a diverse group of people, many of whom wrote moving tributes to a man they saw as a father figure. Fittingly, Pastor Ron played Santa Claus each year for the mission’s children.

He served as pastor of the mission he founded from 1985 until his retirement in 2009, but remained actively involved in the community until his death. He received numerous awards for his work, including the PLU President’s Award in 2002, the City of Tacoma Martin Luther King Achievement Award in 2009, the Associated Ministry’s Ecumenical Award in 2005, the Greater Tacoma Peace Prize in 2007 and the Lutheran Community Services Briehl Award in 2009.

Though he appreciated these acknowledgements, Pastor Ron found his real reward in his work, supporting, defending, advocating and listening to those in need, including refugees, recovering addicts and victims of violence.

In honor of Pastor Ron, we ask each of you to be a little extra kind to each other, to define your generosity a little more broadly and to celebrate the cultural diversity our proud country offers.

Happy Thanksgiving and may God bless you all.