ABOUT rEUBEN f. sCARF
Mr. Scarf knew about the need for encouragement from his own childhood. Born in 1913 in Hillgrove NSW, of immigrant parents, into a family of nine children, he was considered 'slow' due his constant falling over and very poor performance at school. His disability of his severe Myopia (these days he would be classified as 'legally blind') was not recognized until mid primary school. The 'coke bottle' glasses that he was then required to wear helped a little but caused him to be the victim of schoolyard bullies. Hindering him further was his severe Asthma, which plagued him from cradle to grave. In addition to the above, an illness in his early 20's left him profoundly deaf in one ear.
Who could have blamed him if Reuben had decided that competing against a healthy, sighted and hearing population was too hard? But that was not Reuben's way. One of his daughters remembers her father this way:
Dad had the most fantastic enthusiasm for life. Every time life dealt him a lemon, in a few short hours Dad would have convinced himself that it was the very best thing that could have happened to him. I can't recall him ever complaining about his handicaps or moaning about his misfortunes.
Of his Asthma (from which he nearly died on numerous occasions) he held that it had taught him the self-discipline of daily exercise and never to overeat as it would bring on an attack. His deafness, he held to be an excellent sleeping aid, as he could sleep on his good ear side and block out the world. Not even his eyes could stop him – he would wake at around 4 a.m. and, with his nose literally smack up against the page, he would laboriously read with his special magnifying glasses till around 6 a.m. He got through several hundred books that way.
Dad had a child-like ability to play. Travelling with him was wonderful fun and he wanted to see and try and taste everything.
But most special of all was Dad's generosity – both with his time and his money. He never turned away anyone in need of help and he was always willing to share his wisdom, enthusiasm and encouragement. The Reuben F Scarf Award for Commitment is part of Mr Scarfs' legacy of enthusiasm and encouragement. His life stands as a testimony to his belief that persistence and dedication are the true ingredients for success.