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SERVICE ABOVE SELF: Mattress Mack talks about service at North Shore Rotary

JIM McINGVALE, often known as “Mattress Mack” from Gallery Furniture, talks about people he has known that epitomize the Rotary idea of “Service Above Self.” Looking on is North Shore Rotary president Matt Davis. The club is known throughout the district for its outstanding service to its community.
JIM McINGVALE, often known as “Mattress Mack” from Gallery Furniture, talks about people he has known that epitomize the Rotary idea of “Service Above Self.” Looking on is North Shore Rotary president Matt Davis. The club is known throughout the district for its outstanding service to its community.

Jim McIngvale often speaks at public functions, and tells the story about his early years starting a furniture business, and relating the concepts of customer service and hard work that have made his business so successful.

But last Thursday, March 6th he was speaking to the North Shore Rotary club about their motto, “Service Above Self.” Expanding on this theme, McIngvale illustrated the concept with four stories from people in his own life experiences.

The first story he told was about two heart surgeons, Dr. Billie Combs, and noted heart surgeon Dr. Bud Frasier, chief of heart surgery at St. Luke’s Hospital. Mack first met Combs when he was an intern and needed some furniture for an overworked and under-equipped staff. He came to Gallery Furniture, and asked for mattresses and chairs, which Mack donated. The next time Mack saw Combs was almost 30 years later, when his brother was in St. Luke’s with heart problems. Frasier and Combs were his physicians, and Mack said he saw how hard Frasier worked, and how dedicated he was to his patients, giving all his time and attention to their care. “Why do you work so hard?” queried McIngvale, and Frasier answered “We work for the Patient.” Frasier is 74 years old, and has not slowed down.

Mack sees this as a great example of the Rotary motto, “A Life Built for Others – Service Above Self.”

Mack also said his daughter Elizabeth, who has overcome a severe case of OCD, or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, is an example of “Work is Life’s greatest therapy.” After treatment at the Miniker Clinic in Kansas, she now devotes her time to working for a Mental Health Agency in Houston, sharing her story and showing her concern for others with similar diseases.

Another example he cited isYvonne Streit, the 86 year old head of the Brookwood Community. She built up the Brookshire institution from scratch, and now serves over 100 residents with learning disabilities, mentally impaired, or otherwise having special needs. She manages to get everyone in her care a job, a life skill and a life purpose, and has done this for 30 years. One of her residents that went on to greater things is the actor Woody Harrelson, Mack said.

Finally, McIngvale told the story about his own father, George McIngvale Sr. who founded a high school in the Dallas area for kids that otherwise might not have the opportunity for a good education. McIngvale has often told the story about his mother and father’s life lessons that taught him the value of work, and adding value to the lives of others around him.