The Legacy of Ed Munger

December 22, 2008 2:13:15 PM PST
On the day he would've celebrated his 69th birthday, Ed Munger's friends and family instead celebrated all the days of his life, and found out a secret.It was a gathering that the former commanding officer planned down to every detail, including personal invitations to the nine individuals who would speak on various aspects of his life.

The General himself made an appearance on audio tape from a radio discussion on KMJ's Ray Appleton Show: "It's part of us. It's part of our DNA." A speech at his own funeral proved again that General Ed Munger was a rare breed in this life.

His DNA directed him to plot every detail of his own funeral, just as it directed him to a life of service.

In fact, the word 'service' puts a tidy bow on Ed Munger's life, from his distinguished military service, to his wide-ranging charitable endeavors.

One of the first was the wheelchair project, delivering wheelchairs to poor Central Americans, including one who almost couldn't part with his old one because of the attached medals and memories it held.

His friend in Rotary, Scott Leonard described the moment he witnessed: "I was there to watch as Ed -- tears streaming down the general's face - moved those memories, lovingly and carefully, to this man -- a stranger's -- new chair."

The General later helped security forces in Iraq and Afghanistan through the Brotherhood of the Badge.

He personally helped deliver the Fresno charity's first batch of protective gear and equipment to Iraq in 2004 as they tried to help police take over responsibilities from American troops; all the while keeping his sense of humor, even joking with his less experienced compatriots when they came under fire.

Mike Harris of the Brotherhood of the Badge described a moment while fleeing an area of an Iraqi city under fire and hearing General Munger ask: "'are those Howitzers 109s?' I was running for a ditch."

For the last 15 years, Munger kept a secret from everyone who knew him. At the children's hospital gifts shop. He anonymously funded the "Fairy Godfather" program, providing the funds to insure the gift of stuffed toys to sick and needy kids.

Peggy Ellithorpe, Children's Hospital Gifts Shop manager said: "And always with a note of good wishes from the Fairy Godfather." Hundreds of kids got gifts from the 'secret source' and in his final plans, Munger made it a priority for the program to go public and march on as he moves on.

The celebration of his life at the First Presbyterian Church in downtown Fresno concluded with those gathered singing The Battle Hymn of the Republic: "His truth is marching on."

Munger's obituary listed the Fairy Godfather Fund at Children's Hospital Central California as one of four charities he hopes others will support as he did:

Children's Hospital Central California Gift Shop
Fairy Godfather Fund
9300 Valley Children's Place
STOP FC09
Madera, CA 93636
(559)353-3000
Children's Hospital Central California Gift Shop

The Sequoia Council Boy Scouts
Camp Chawanakee Capital Fund
6005 N. Tamera
Fresno, Ca. 93711

Mount Herman Christian Conference Center
Capital Campaign
P.O. Box 413
Mount Herman, Ca. 85041

First Presbyterian Church of Fresno
Capital Campaign
1540 'M' Street
Fresno, Ca. 93721


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