Many people who donate to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center do so because a family member has been cared for here. But Gordy Iler supports the Medical Center simply because he and his family care about their community. And they give from the heart.
“Connecticut Children’s has always had a special place in our hearts as a family,” Gordy says. “We know so many families in the community who have their kids treated there for a number of issues, and we really admire the work that they do.”
There was a time when one of the Ilers’ three children was treated at Connecticut Children’s, but it was a relatively benign circumstance. “When my first daughter was a baby, her eye duct was clogged and infected,” he explained. “They had to operate on her and put her under general anesthesia, and even though it was minor, it was still a traumatic thing for my wife and me. We know there are many families with children who have significant health issues, and it’s nice to know that we can rely on a hospital for children that has the expertise and specialty care necessary to save kids’ lives.”
Giving Is a Family Affair
Gordy’s gifts to Connecticut Children’s are made through Walden W. & Jean Young Shaw Foundation, a charitable organization established by his great-aunt more than 40 years ago. Gordy is the Vice President of the foundation, and his cousin Don acts as President. “It gives our family an opportunity to get together once a year,” he says of the Shaw Foundation, “and do something very meaningful to all of us, which is to provide money toward charities that save and change children’s lives in such meaningful ways. All of the organizations supported by the Shaw Foundation are related to helping kids.
Their most recent gift allowed Connecticut Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to acquire a cooling unit and bedside seizure monitor. These units are used when a baby suffers from conditions that threaten blood flow to the brain or problems that are progressing too rapidly to treat. The cooling unit reduces the baby’s body temperature, which slows the metabolism and thus the progression of life-threatening conditions. This gives physicians time to treat the problem. The bedside seizure monitor provides information on small seizures that could damage a baby’s brain. Together, these are life-saving tools for our most fragile patients.
Gifts of Time and Talent
The Ilers’ generosity also takes other forms: Gordy and his wife, Melissa (Missy) have volunteered at Connecticut Children’s several times over the years. “My wife and daughter did a one-day mini-internship, we participated in a Radiothon fundraiser and we attend the Galas whenever possible,” he says. “We’re just very moved by the caring and tireless work that the staff and doctors perform here at the hospital.”
Gordy grew up in southern California and earned his business degree from the University of Southern California. In addition to his business education, he was a skilled pilot, and he ended up working for a mortgage banking company that had a company plane, so he could pursue both his interests. That led to work in commercial real estate with Coldwell Banker for seven years, followed by a job with IBM. Twenty years ago, IBM moved Gordy and his young family to Connecticut, where they settled in Simsbury. He worked in IBM’s Global Financing division, leasing and financing technology solutions to commercial and enterprise clients. Last year he left IBM and moved to Summit Funding Group as National Sales Manager – Enterprise Group.
Today, the Iler family is carrying on the tradition of giving. Gordy’s wife Missy, for the last 8 years, has been an Independent Consultant for Rodan + Fields skin care company in addition to being a mom. Their 18-year-old son, Hayes, will be attending the University of New Hampshire in the fall, pursuing a business degree. Their oldest daughter, Annabelle, is in the nursing program as a senior attending the University of Vermont, with plans to become an APRN or Physician’s Assistant. The Ilers’ youngest daughter, Charlotte, attends the Henry James Middle School in Simsbury, so the world will have to wait and see what she becomes, but the odds are good that it will involve children and a generous heart.