The Pauls

The Paul's Story

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Charitable Gift Annuity: A Legacy of Support for Abuse Children

Solon and Johon Paul are a remarkable pair.

Married for more than 60 years, they worked together in their office products company, Paul Business Systems, for much of that time. And for the past two decades the couple has been dedicated to a cause that has had profound impact on the children of Hampton Roads. It is their shared life mission.

In 1993, as they prepared for retirement, their attorney and friend Ed Stein asked what they wanted to do next with their lives. Like many retirees, Solon expressed his interest in traveling. But Johon's lifelong dream was a bit different. "I want to help abused children," she said.

Johon's desire to help children quickly became a priority for the pair and they started by supporting a new endeavor -- the Child Abuse Center of Hampton Roads -- using their business savvy, community contacts and personal finances to help bring the project to life.

"We were amazed at the help people in the community gave and how fast the center was up and running. It was inspiring and it let us know from the start we had made the right decision," Solon says.

Demand for the center's service was great. It quickly outgrew one location and then another. "You wish the need wasn't there ... wasn't so great," Johon says. "But it was fulfilling to be able to help."

In 1998, the Child Abuse Center became part of CHKD. "When the hospital took over, the center had the full advantage of their full expertise and medical resources," And, we were able to expand," Johon explains. "Reaching everyone in our area was the greatest thing of all."

Solon was also thrilled with the change. "The cause got more exposure with CHKD involved. We started to see a shift in people's thinking. It got people talking more about child abuse and how to help the victims," he says.

With CHKD at the helm, the Pauls continued their efforts to advocate for the future and growth of the program. They were among the first members of the CHKD child abuse development board, supporting the program's fundraising efforts for many years. They also created an endowment and estate plans to benefit the program beyond their lifetimes.

"We are honored and proud that the center has grown to be nationally recognized. It's really a beautiful thing that has happened here," says Solon. "CHKD relies on support from the community, and we have done what we can. We hope it will inspire others to follow our lead."

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