Honoring the Cop Who Spreads Sunshine
"What a great man. It is our responsibility to make sure his legacy lives on." - Ross Fischer - Miami Air International
"Remembering my friend Bill Sample with fondness and admiration. Bill was a hero to so many..." Kathy Davis
"You will always be in our hearts and your legacy will live on in the smiles of every child the Sunshine Foundation has blessed." - All Volunteer Mercer County Chapter
"Thank you Bill Sample for always making me laugh and smile. Thank you for giving me so many beautiful and special opportunities in life. More than that, thank you for supporting me through my triumphs and trials." - Brianna - Past Dreamer
"Bill Sample, you leave a legacy in all the thousands of children you granted dreams and wishes to through your Sunshine Foundation." - Marcia Smith
"The world, and especially the children whom he championed, has lost a hero." - Cindy Marlow
Bill at Sunshine Foudnation's 35th Anniversary Gala. Thank you to Marie Pfender for the pictures.
"These pictures are when Bill was a guest speaker at our lodge. It was the Ernest M. Strollo Lodge #683 in 2010 when our grand daughter Julia Pfender won scholarship from the lodge. Bill was very witty as always and never stopped being that way. He will of course be missed by all who knew him." -- Marie Pfender
"Thank you bill for starting your dream and making all the dreams come true for so many special children. You fulfilled a dream for our son "Ricky", he wanted to go to Disney World and you made that happen 34 years ago...." Phyllis Cooper
Picture Courtesy of Michael Pinkowicz
"He had the best sarcastic sense of humor and was always a blast to be around. He made such an wondreful impact on everyone he touched, he will be missed by everyone he knew." -- Brenda Wood
"Fly high with the other angels...you are a great man and have done great things."
- Ellen Bobak Adams
"RIP Bill Sample, you were truely an amazing man and I'm glad I had the pleasure of knowing you and experiencing the beautiful work you did for so many chronically ill children...you were an inspiration to many. Thank you for showing us the faces of Progeria children and so many others..."
- Allison Lei Silvia-Caliri
"Agape, the Greek word for love has no simplistic definition, but examples of it are easy to find, if one knows where to look. The meaning of agape was exemplified in Bill Sample.
Bill meant many different things to different people: to a select few he
Bill was like the grandfather I never knew. He taught me many things, a few of which I think are applicable to all of us as we say goodbye to him today and vow to carry on his legacy.
Whether it was because I horribly burned a steak, or accidentally ran him over with my wheelchair, he taught me how to laugh at my mistakes. If you can laugh at them, they turn into memories, rather than mistakes. Bill also taught me how to smile through pain, when he could not walk through my university's campus because of arthritis, he wouldn't let it show. He still smiled, he knew the pain was temporary, and he should still enjoy the journey. I think he would want us all to remember that at this very moment.
But most of all, Bill taught me a twofold lesson about stubbornness; every time he stuck a microphone in my face at a Sunshine gathering. At first, I never wanted to speak. It wasn't about me; it was about them, the other kids. But, Bill was stubborn, always saying, "Speak up. They'll listen. You have something to say." Thank you Bill, for teaching me that I had something to say. And today, I can't help but smile to myself, because I am giving the eulogy for the man who taught me that I had a voice that needed to be heard.
As I close, I call your attention back to the word agape. Bill Sample is
the definition of agape. Agape is a selfless and
sacrificial love that is so deep it is not quantifiable. Agape is
God's love. Today, I know that Bill is at home with God because he lived
out God's definition of love. Bill Sample saw the sunshine in every
person. " - Brianna Taylor Past Dream Recipient
" - Brianna Taylor Past Dream Recipient
"Saying Good-bye to "Santa" Kathy Davis
"He may not have donned red suits or big black boots, and I never saw him travel by reindeer, but my friend Bill Sample shared many other things in common with that jolly old spirit. The former cop who had a children's hospital on his beat was deeply touched by the chronically ill or abused children who were frequent hospital visitors. So much so that he borrowed money to make a sick child's dream come true. With that, the Sunshine Foundation was born, becoming the first wish granting organization for kids in need.
There is no question that there was a strong
resemblance between Bill Sample and the Santa character we love...
Instead of traveling to the North Pole, Bill headed south to make his magic happen... to central Florida to be exact. It is here, in close proximity to the theme parks that so many children wish to visit, that he built the Dream Village of his vision. On 22 acres, he had nine charming cottages constructed and specially equipped for the kids. This village is right out of a fairy tale, except this one is real.
Instead of a sled and reindeer, Bill relied on planes, organizing air-lifts to carry countless children to their dream destination.
Elves? Thank goodness, yes!!! There are countless volunteers and staff who embrace Bill's vision of making kids dreams come true. Work like this takes a village, and there never ceases to be a need for helpers.
And just like Santa, Bill did his work behind the scenes, disappearing from the limelight to let the fun unfold. It was always about the kids.
Let's not forget "Mrs. Claus"! Bill's wife, Kate, has been a true partner in supporting the organization her husband founded. As President of the Sunshine Foundation she works tirelessly for the kids, putting herself out there as their champion, asking for support, fighting the good fight, stretching past her comfort zone in order to further the cause she believes in so deeply. Kate radiates sunshine, sharing it warmly... and I’d venture a guess that she’d put the real Mrs. Claus to shame!
Yes, my friend Bill Sample was a modern day Santa if there was one. He found a way to help make sick children's lives a little more joyful. Through the Sunshine Foundation, he gave their families a special gift by providing something that they could not make happen on their own.
Bill Sample left this world for a better one on June 4th, 2014.
It is now up to all of us to carry on the work he started. While he never asked for attention or accolades, I can't imagine that he didn't leave this life with a great deal of pride at what he accomplished.
By making kids dreams come true he made his own dream come true...making kids lives brighter.
I was fortunate to know Bill Sample and was inspired by his vision and fortitude. He had a heart every bit as big as Santa's. We all remember how hard it was to say good-bye to Santa...and as difficult as it is to say good-bye to Bill, I bid him a fond adieu with a twinkle in my eye. He would want it that way."
Bill Sample's Legacy includes making dreams come true for thousands of local children -- Trentonian
Willam "Bill" Sample, 78, Founder of the Sunshine Foundation -- Philly.com
Sunshine Foundation's Founder Sample dies at 78.-- The Intelligencer
Bill Sample, founder of nation's original wish-granting orgaization, passes away- Lower Southampton Spirit
William Sample: Former police officer dedicated life to granting wishes of sick children - Orlando Sentinel
Final salute to Bill Sample, creator of Sunshine Dream Village for sick children - Orlando Sentinel
William Sample, Who Touched Many Lives With Sunshine Foundation, Dream Village, Dies at 78 -- News Chief
If you have stories and pictures you would like to share of Bill please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org or share them on Bill's Facebook page.