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"I went to his house and they treated me like a member of the family. The children went to the University of Toronto: Two were doctors and one was in computer science. The father was a professor of political science at Seneca College. They helped inspire me to get the highest level of education possible."
Mr. Hendrickson earned an honor Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. Unfortunately a lack of money prevented him from carrying on to a Masters Degree and Ph.D. Thwarted in his attempts to teach political science at a community college, he turned his attention to other career paths, such as working in the circulation department of a Toronto daily newspaper, acting as a property manager for a townhouse complex and, finally, selling insurance.
With Mr. Hendrickson's glass half-full optimistic nature, he found joy, purpose and success in each of those ventures.
Take the property manager position, for instance. When he took the job, vandalism was rampant and property values were stagnant.
But Mr. Hendrickson's success in turning the complex around earned him praise from beat cops and a commendation from former North York mayor Mel Lastman.
At the same time, Mr. Hendrickson devoted himself to helping people whenever he could, a pursuit for which he has been honored by many organizations over the years.
He received a volunteer recognition award from the City of Vaughan last month for serving on the city's arts and culture, community relations and Festival of the Arts committees.
He also volunteers with the Victoria Order of Nurses, the St. Kitts-Canadian Association and the new Vaughan African Canadian Association.
In addition, Mr. Hendrickson serves as vice-president of Thornhill's federal liberal riding association and has worked on several municipal election campaigns.
Sitting at his dining room table, Mr. Hendrickson recounts one of his favorite memories.
He was driving in Toronto near Lawrence Avenue and Leslie Street 18 years ago when he spotted a clearly agitated woman hitchhiking. Worried, he pulled over to offer assistance, handing over his business card to 'Assure her he meant no harm Suspecting she was Jewish, he said "Shalom," which made her feel more comfortable.
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