b'As a self-described loyalist, Charles ismany facets make us who we are, and we condent hell never run out of pleasant thingsare better off unifying rather than fighting to say about his background with AT&T. It\'sindividually." always been a part of my life, he said. A fewHis outreach for the MS community has cousins worked there as well as my mother,included holding fundraisers and attending who was among the first class of femaleawareness events whenever his schedule engineers in the 1960s. I never turned downallows. Having been on several MS Focus cruises a request to talk about her during Womensbefore the COVID-19 pandemic began, Charles History Month. My mom worked with AT&Tfondly reects on witnessing the connection for 32 years before passing away, and I retiredbetween families and the MS Focus staff. I after 26, so it makes me feel as though I pickedremember meeting a young fellow who could not up her standard and carried it on. walk and had never been on a cruise before, let After a well-earned retirement from AT&T,alone gone to a beach, who MS Focus employees Charles put his experience in nance to goodhelped parasail," Charles said. "They transferred use as a tax administrator for his county. Inhim from his chair to the parachute, and once this role, he oversees all assessors and setsdone, they pulled him back in by the cable municipality rates to certify that the evaluationand safely returned him to his seat; he never function and properties in the communityeven got wet! The entire time, his caregiver are treated accurately. "My responsibility iscried tears of joy, and her tears overwhelmed making sure the real estate gets fairly valuedeveryone else, including me. You cant help across all towns in the county so that when itbut react the same way when you observe comes to applying tax rates, everybody getsthings like that.treated the same." Content and blessedCommunity outreach As the boards new president, Charles People being treated fairly is important topriority is nding alternative funding solutions Charles, and he has long worked towards thatthat enable the continuation of MS Focus goal. Charles advocacy began in the 1980sservices. The question of what happens if the as a member of the LGBTQ+ community andmoney runs out often keeps me up at night, he has surfaced throughout his career. I am anadmits. As board members, we are responsible avid supporter of human rights and havefor looking for new resources and directing attended rallies and marches for everythingour employees to keep the momentum going. from healthcare, AIDS, pro-choice, to peopleWe, along with the world and businesses with disabilities, he said.everywhere, are in a period of evolution, and When I worked for AT&T, we held employeewe must constantly think outside the box to resource groups that focused on communityremain active for the community. attributes such as different ethnic backgrounds,MS Focus has been around for nearly 40 veterans, women, LGBTQ persons, etc. Overyears, and despite the inevitable hurdles, I 6,500 members of our team learned aboutamcondentintheabilitiesofmyfellow and participated in the companys diversityboard members and those we employ; we and inclusion efforts. That was essential to me,care about what we do and I believe that love because none of us is a part of one group;is why we are still here."8 msfocusmagazine.org'