LOVE makes the World go around by Lois Bolin, Ph.D. Old Naples Historian

February is the month of love, caring and kindness; but why do we emphasize these “feelings” in the month of February more than any other month? Some say that February is a time to recall that ‘Love Is A Verb’. According to Scott Peck, noted psychiatrist,” It is something we do which involves a conscious action when we act with loving kindness towards one of our human family members [and furry members too]. In Peck’s classic self-help book, The Road Less Traveled (1978), he noted, “Love is as love does. Love is an act of will—namely, both an intention and an action. Will also implies choice. We do not have to love. We choose to love.” (I am not so sure about this.)

In 1965, Deon Jackson’s song, Love Makes the World Go Round, captures the essence of love as a driving force that influences our actions and interactions. His song celebrates the power of love, emphasizing that it can bring joy, unity, and hope to a world plagued by chaos and division. (Yes, we do need more love.)

Is that all there is?
According to singer Peggy Lee, not necessarily. While her mournful song tells a story of disillusionment and existential angst, it also holds a message of hope and suggests that it’s only by confronting our disillusionment can we truly appreciate life. I have taken us back in time to portray ‘love’ through the eyes of notables such as Scott Peck, Deon Jackson, and Peggy Lee, so let’s fast forward and look at love through two notable community stewards whose love gives us hope.

February 9. Four Chaplains Day, (normally February 3rd), is the day we honor four World War II military chaplains, who sacrificed their lives for fellow service members. It was 1943 and the U.S.A.T. Dorchester was sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, packed to capacity.

Tragedy struck when a German submarine torpedoed the ship, killing hundreds onboard. After the blast most of the men were topside, as the chaplains opened a storage locker and began distributing life jackets. When there were no more lifejackets, the chaplains removed theirs and gave them to four frightened young men.

“It was the finest thing I have seen or hope to see this side of heaven,” said John Ladd, another survivor who saw the chaplains’ selfless act. This altruistic action constitutes one of the purest spiritual acts of love a person can make. “When giving their life jackets, Rabbi Goode did not call out for a Jew; Father Washington did not call out for a Catholic; nor did the Reverends Fox and Poling call out for a Protestant.” They simply gave their life jackets to the next man in line. Of the 902 men aboard the U.S.A.T. Dorchester, there were only 230 survivors.

Carl Sandburg said, “Valor is a gift, those having it never know for sure whether they have it until the test comes.” I think it is safe to say that Reverend Fox, Rabbi Goode, Reverend Poling, and Father Washington passed life’s ultimate test for selfless love. In doing so, they became an enduring example of extraordinary faith, courage, and selflessness.

Since Lely Presbyterian Church will be celebrating its 50th anniversary on February 3rd, the 2nd Annual Four Chaplains Recognition Service will be held on Friday, February 9, 2024, at 10:30 a.m. in the church’s sanctuary. Several notable and accomplished individuals will be recognized by Pastor Ed Brandt, followed by a luncheon in Kemp Hall. The public is invited.

February 22 The Ann Children’s Fund (ACF) was established in 2019 by Founder and President Lori Roman as a tribute to her mother, Ann Stillwagon. Anne was a Girl Scout Troop leader for girls with Down syndrome and a translator of children’s books into braille for children who were visually impaired.

Ann Children’s Fund is about giving families and their children the help they need to ensure their children will thrive and grow up strong by providing them with much needed “extra” help that ensures they have hope for the future.

This February 22, at the Ritz-Carlton Tiburon at 6 p.m., you can participate in Martinis & Mulligans, a one-of-a-kind crazy putt-putt adventure with celebrities and pro golfers, benefiting adopted and foster children with special medical needs. Honorary Chairs are The Honorable Byron Donalds and Erika Donalds.

Whether love is a noun or a verb, February is the perfect month to realize the power of love and the hope it brings to our world.


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