It’s that season when campaign signs (and promises) are almost as prominent as falling leaves. Sadly, election years tend to reduce our expectations that promises will be fulfilled.
According to the dictionary, a promise is a declaration or assurance that one will do a particular thing or that guarantees a particular thing will happen. By definition, the power of a promise is rooted in the ability of the promise maker to be a promise keeper.
Mercer Islander Vince Wormser knew all about making promises and keeping them. Before his recent death at the age of 93, the Boston-born career United Airlines pilot loved to talk about how promises unlocked doors of opportunity.
In 1931 Vince moved with his parents to the Montlake District of Seattle. As a 12-year-old, he began sailing on Lake Washington in his little skiff. He was overwhelmed by the beauty of the area. But there was one special place he especially loved. It was a natural beach on the east side of Mercer Island, where he frequently sailed and repeatedly picnicked. Vince promised himself he would one day build a house and live on that very spot.
Vince dreamed about that beautiful beach while serving his country during World War II. As he trained military pilots who would bomb enemy beaches overseas, he polished his promise to himself with frequent thoughts of home.
Upon returning from the war, Vince married and rented the old Lowman cabin near the East Channel bridge. Determined to make good on that promise to himself, he partnered with his brother-in-law, Bob Zesbaugh. The two of them purchased acreage on East Mercer Way and proceeded to develop 12 home sites, including his own. For 60 years, Vince lived in that home on the beach he adored. It was his promised land!
But Captain Wormser also had an appreciation for the land that God promised His people three millennia ago. Vince loved to talk about his part in a mission known as Operation Magic Carpet. In 1949, shortly after Israel became an independent state, Vince accepted an assignment flying countless Jewish pilgrims from Yemen to Palestine. Even though he took pride in being the pilot who flew the University of Washington football team to all their away games during the decade of the sixties, Vince looked back on his “flights to the Promised Land” as a lucky participant in history. He helped the Almighty make good on one big promise!
Pastor Greg is a regular columnist of the Reporter.