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PLYMOUTH -- The Catechism of the Catholic Church instructs the faithful that, “the works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities.”
Edward Santos, parishioner at St. Peter’s Parish, has taken this instruction to heart.
More than 40 years ago, Santos looked around and saw that his beloved town of Plymouth was in a difficult financial situation. Businesses were moving out of town or closing, leaving residents scrambling for jobs. Meanwhile, no new industry was coming to the area.
“It really didn’t look very good for Plymouth,” he recalled. “Something had to be done.”
Using his years of experience in the banking industry, Santos and several other investors, began the Industrial Development Foundation [IDF], a non-profit corporation aimed at bringing businesses back into the community.
As president of the IDF, a position he still holds, Santos first purchased an industrial park, then searched for companies willing to invest in Plymouth. Since the IDF first began in 1962, over 70 companies have laid their roots in Plymouth, all thanks to the IDF, according to Santos.
“We have been able to create over 6,000 jobs in the area,” he said warmly. “It has been very good, and I have had a lot of fun doing it.”
“I feel grateful that I have been able to be a part of it,” he added. “I’ve gotten a lot out of it. I think my faith has certainly grown because of it.”
Because the IDF is a non-profit organization, Santos has had the opportunity to give back to the community financially as well.
“We will probably go down in history as a non-profit that has been able to give, and give generously,” said Santos, 77, with a smile. To date, over $3 million has been poured into the community in the form of grants, scholarships and donations.
“We give our money where it will most help people,” he said.
“I’m doing things that help people irrespective of their race, color or creed,” continued Santos, which is something he credits to his faith. “As I read Scripture, Christ didn’t just say, ‘I’ll do this for just these people.’ Christ acted for all people.”
In addition to his involvement in the IDF, Santos is a member of the board of the Sacred Heart School in Kingston. He is also a member of the local Chamber of Commerce, and sits on the board of Jordan Hospital.
Together with his wife of 50 years, Barbara, he has been an active parishioner at St. Peter Parish for 40 years, where Santos is a lector, an extraordinary minister of Communion and the chair of the finance council.
“God has been very good to me,” he said pensively. “I want to give back.”
“I guess I’d like to leave my little corner of Plymouth a better place than where I found it,” he added.