The Operation HOPE family joins the world in mourning the passing of Nelson Mandela today. Madiba, as he was known to his friends and loved ones, lived a full and incredible life. Even transformational, for Africa and our world. But when the time comes, times like this are still difficult to digest and to accept. We naturally want to hold on to our heroes and our sheroes. Those we admire and love, are inspirations to us. Organizationally, Operation HOPE is honored to be a partner with the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund throughout South Africa. I was honored to join Mary Ehrsam, president of our HOPE Global Youth Empowerment Group, who organized my last trip, along with Sean Cleary, chairman of our HOPE Global Board of Advisors, and our HOPE South Africa team, earlier this year in South Africa It was there that we signed yet another partnership agreement for change with the Mandela organization. We are also honored to maintain a strong and meaningful relationship with the Nelson Mandela Foundation. Personally, I was honored to meet President Mandela during his term in office, as President of South Africa, through the late Rev. Leon H, Sullivan and during one of Sullivan's historic African-African American Summit meetings, in South Africa. It was my first time experiencing the African continent, and it changed me. I met President Mandela in a touching moment, along with another dear friend, the late Secretary Jack Kemp. Operation HOPE celebrates the legacy of love, education, and human rights justice extended to the global community through his work in his beloved South Africa mainly, and throughout the world. Our Global Spokesperson Ambassador Young, our Global Advisory Board Chair Sean Clary, our HOPE South Africa Chair Cas Coovadia, and our entire South Africa and Global Operation HOPE Family, wish sincere respect and love to the Honorable Nelson Mandela Family, and our South Africa HOPE Partners with the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund. We send our love and sincere condolences to the extended Mandela family, many of whom we call friends. Amandela!
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