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Henry Walker, CEO Farmers & Merchants Bank  

Click Here for Henry Walker's Bio

Monday, November 24, 2008
Reflecting on the economy
Monday, January 19, 2009
Helping in the new year
In the ‘Pink’
You know, it’s not often that a guy gets asked to be a Pink Tie Guy and then makes a plan to wear pink. I don’t particularly consider pink my best color. So you can imagine my surprise when I was asked to be a Pink Tie Guy for the Orange County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. A primary business value and a Walker family tradition is to proactively sponsor, give to and support nonprofit and faith programs – so much so that it is weaved into the Farmers & Merchants company culture and business model. I was honored to receive an invitation to join other businessmen in advocating breast cancer awareness and representing the women who battle this devastating disease.    

Breast cancer, which affects one in eight women, has had a direct impact on my family, as my brother’s wife lost her battle with the disease. Attending a recent Community Grants Breakfast for Komen reminded me of how much breast cancer not only affects the women who are diagnosed – but also their husbands, children, colleagues and friends – much like it affected my family. Ginger Silverman opened up with her story of how she battled breast cancer, had a double mastectomy and went through a tumultuous divorce. Her stamina, resilience and confidence to not only survive, but also thrive, are inspiring. Her mission to empower her 10-year-old daughter caused me to think of my two daughters and how precious they are to me. I am proud to play even a small role in helping to end breast cancer, hopefully within their lifetime, if not mine.

Any mention of breast cancer will find a story close to you: One of my F&M managers attending the breakfast shared how her mother is fighting breast cancer and was very moved by Komen’s commitment to finding a cure. The statistics are startling. Next year, close to 2,000 women will be diagnosed, and 200 of them will die from the disease – in Orange County alone. The disease impacts a wide spectrum of individuals regardless of race, ethnic background or economic standing. Because it is a pervasive problem that affects so many, the business community included, it requires an aggressive strategy to educate women. At the Komen breakfast, I also learned that Komen works with numerous other organizations in the community to alleviate the statistics.

As a member of the business community, I am passionate about stepping into this new role to help increase awareness. Giving back to the community is a personal passion that is shared among the F&M family, and I believe it is important for businesses to take on a philanthropic role. I encourage my associates, colleagues, employees and business partners to join me in fighting for a cause you believe in.