From Nebraska to Africa: Leaving a Lasting Legacy

If you think of golf courses and cruises when you hear the word “retirement,” you’ve never met Tim and Ruth Leacock, whose faith journey embodies stewardship as a way of life.  When Tim was offered an early retirement package by his employer in 2001, he jumped at the chance which enabled him, along with Ruth, to found and operate a charity they called Computers4Africa . This charity, headquartered in the Leacock’s home in Omaha, Nebraska, supplied more than 3,000 refurbished computers for schools and other institutions in Africa, particularly Uganda.

The Leacocks, who never drew a salary from their charity, even moved to Uganda for a time to better understand the needs and to train their African support team. They spent countless hours securing donated computers, overseeing refurbishment, shipping computers, raising funds, and training Africans to use the technology. Their efforts resulted in over 170 institutions receiving computers, including many in the former war zone of Northern Uganda, where some of the computers were located in camps for the displaced.

When the Leacocks started their project, virtually no one was supplying poor African schools with computer technology.  Today, that’s changed and so has the technology itself.  Because of this changing dynamic, the Leacocks hosted a final fundraiser and closed Computers4Africa in 2012 after ten extraordinary years. But because they had involved so many local Catholic high school students in the refurbishment and packaging process, and because so many of those students traveled to Africa to see just what the charity entailed, Ruth Leacock told the Catholic Voice newspaper of the Archdiocese of Omaha that Computers4Africa was leaving “a lasting legacy” on two continents.

The Leacocks continue to dedicate their lives to stewardship in the service of others.  Both are trained spiritual directors and busy with retreat work, and both hold the door open continually for the next opportunity to share their faith.

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