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Though my stubborn younger self would argue, my big brother has had the biggest impact on me. I was always the “gifted academic,” but Max taught me to live with purpose: to leave my desk and make a difference. That’s really the important lesson: learn from connections with others and use it to better the world.

I always found Max’s extremely outgoing nature obtrusive. Once, I went to his gym, expecting to meet male workout buddies. However, upon entering, we were greeted by a dozen middle-aged women he’d befriended. At breakfast, he gets a kiss and a “Hi, Maxy!” from our waitress and a yell from the cook. Wherever we go, someone greets him enthusiastically.

Though his connections provide him sweet greetings, their effects spread much further. Spurred by a family loss, Max decided to raise money for a local pediatric cancer hospital. He was an eleventh grade kid with probably ten bucks in his pocket.

Suddenly, the unlikely connections I find peculiar, were saving lives. All the times he had introduced himself to strangers became heartfelt donations. He raised $150,000 through sheer dedication and determination.

Max didn’t take twenty AP courses, a 4.0, or a 1600 SAT, but he always strives to make a difference; he leads well and loves better. He taught me the perfect resume doesn’t matter unless used to help others. Taking his lead, I have a MUCH bigger reason to help others and a much larger group making a difference with me.

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