Bernie Savransky believes in the power of giving.
Growing up during the depression, his family lost everything and got no relief from the government. So, at age 13, he began working.
“I used to say, ‘Someday when I have money, I’m going to help people’,”.
At the age of 14, Bernie began working for the Western Union. He joined the Navy at 17, one month before World War II began, and served 20 years. He credits the Navy for giving him an education and a trade.
“It was the best thing I ever did,” Bernie says. “I got into computers at the beginning stages, identifying the locations of all Navy staff. It was the first time this information had ever been documented.”
After his stint in the Navy, Bernie worked for the federal government in Washington, D.C., where he met his wife, Elizabeth. They both loved sports and travel. Married for 50 years, they had no children. Wanting to give back, they began donating to their favorite charities.
Bernie says, “We didn’t need the money. We figured why not give now through gift annuities and then the rest when we pass.”
Elizabeth died in 2002 from natural causes. Bernie has had a heart attack and his father and brother passed in their 60’s from heart disease. His desire to give is fueled by the need to help others, so they might benefit from research and advances in heart health.
At 94 years young, Bernie has made multiple gifts to the American Heart Association — through his will and 21 charitable gift annuities — making him a member of the Cor Vitae and Paul Dudley White Legacy Societies.
Every 40 seconds, someone has a heart attack or stroke. Chances are, someone you know has been affected by heart disease — the nation’s No. 1 killer. That’s why Bernie plans to continue giving until the end.
“I give the money to charity because it helps keep people alive. The money I have is doing someone good instead of just sitting in a bank,” he says.