The Walk Tall Mountains promise and community movement is the inspiration of author Gerry S. McClure whose own journey and discovery of the principles for leading a meaningful and successful life can be traced back to two distinct childhood memories: the first, at age eight, helping her grandparents to distribute shoes and clothing to children who ran barefoot and coatless through the snow to accept the Christmas Eve donations; and the second, learning, at the age of 13, that she had a potentially fatal heart condition.
Facing her own mortality at such an early age, Gerry developed a sense of urgency and determination to see and experience as much in life as possible. Her journey began in earnest a few years later, when she began working summers as a nanny in Europe, saving enough money to spend her junior year of college in Scotland.
En route on a cargo plane back to the U.S., Gerry found herself on an unplanned adventure in Sri Lanka on the day that civil war broke out. She eventually escaped the country and made her way home via Southeast Asia, India, Burma, Indonesia and China—literally backpacking around the world. It was traveling through areas of desperate poverty and witnessing the large impact of small acts of caring and kindness among the villagers that Gerry began to sense the true measure of the human spirit.
In a remote village in southwest China, this understanding and the discovery of the meaning of her birth name in Chinese became the inspiration for Gerry’s future path in life. “Gerry Scott” or “Gao Shan” in Chinese, meant “The One Who Walks Tall Mountains.” To Gerry, “walk tall mountains” was a call to action to set her sights high on significant and worthy goals; to lead and to persevere despite the odds; and to channel her energy and ambitions into inspiring and helping others. It was then that she made a promise to herself to one day live up to her name in the service of others.
Graduating from the University of Pennsylvania and attending the Wharton School of Business, Gerry began a successful career climbing “the mountains” of Wall Street as a young, and, at the time, rare, female vice president at an international banking firm. But in 1992, yearning for greater purpose in her life and recalling her promise, Gerry left the financial world to start a children’s toy company, called “Heaven On Earth, Inc.” Proceeds from the sales of non-violent toys and angel dolls went toward supporting homeless shelters and orphanages in impoverished communities in Vietnam, Guatemala, El Salvador and throughout the world.
In the years since, Gerry has climbed many “tall mountains” to help others, including flying into war-torn Bosnia to deliver medical supplies to innocent victims, and cradling and caring for AIDS and crack-addicted babies in an inner city shelter in America.
Throughout her journey, Gerry has gained inspiration from the stories of others whose courage and compassion were also built upon promises to help others. Like her, these ordinary people with remarkable dreams and determination have experienced self-discovery and multitude of blessings that they would not have known if not for having taken the first step toward fulfilling their promises.
Today, as the mother of a combined family of nine children, Gerry enjoys a life balanced by purpose and gratitude – and she still draws inspiration from the stories of every day heroes. In her upcoming book, “Walk Tall Mountains,” she shares the stories and the principles that have guided her and others through life’s obstacles and uncertainties to true success and fulfilment. With her funny, friend-next-door humor and her down-to-earth candor, Gerry provides readers with both encouragement and practical instruction on how to tap into one’s innate courage, how to remain positive and focused, how to find daily joy and gratitude, and how to discover and deliver on meaningful and rewarding promises.