Creating a Legacy Through Estate Giving
When Sylvio Normandeau matriculated at the University of Maine, he scraped together everything he and his father could gather to pay for his first semester. “I had enough money for the first semester between my father’s and my money. So some nice people — I don’t know who they were — somebody paid for my second semester,” said Sylvio. Although that semester was his last at the University of Maine, that gesture inspired Sylvio to give back to the students here. Years after he left the university, Sylvio and his late wife decided to pass on the goodwill he received as a student. “We had a family get-together, and I told my wife that this was a good time to tell the kids what we’re going to do. We’re going to start a scholarship — it’s not much — at the University of Maine. Somebody paid for me, so I wanted to pay for somebody else. In the meantime, I’d given $10,000 and set it up for a child in need.” Sylvio’s generosity manifested itself in his life in other ways, too, through constant fundraising for the Maine Children’s Cancer Program. In 2016, Sylvio reached his goal of $500,000 donated to the program, mostly gathered through collecting change in his cans at local businesses. It was through these efforts that Sylvio became known as the “hot dog man.” By that time, he had worked his way up the ladder at Joseph Kirschner Company, including driving a delivery truck. But whenever he got the chance, Sylvio would set up shot at an in-town market, and hand out Kirschner hot dogs. He would tell people about the Maine Children’s Cancer Program and say: “Give them a donation, I’ll give you a treat: a thank you, and a smile.” As a member of the Charles F. Allen Legacy Society, Sylvio has ensured his legacy of philanthropy will continue in his scholarship support at UMaine.