By Rosie Moore

Hershey, Pennsylvania was not far from my hometown of Lancaster. I drove through it many times, but I will always regret that I did not stop and tour the chocolate factory or other famous abodes associated with this sweet man.

Milton Snavely Hershey was born on September 13. 1857, in the small town of Derry, Pennsylvania, the only surviving child of his parents. His sister passed away when she was only four years old. His family were members of the Mennonite community. He did not have much schooling after the fourth grade. His mother did not encourage him to pursue books.

The memories of what it was like to have been a poor boy stayed with him throughout his life.

At the age of fourteen, he was apprenticed to a confectioner in Lancaster.

A few years later he opened his first confectionery in Philadelphia. He failed in numerous business ventures but caramels gave him his first million, and chocolate gave him his real fortune. He became fascinated with a German chocolate-making machine and bought it. He installed it in Lancaster where he began producing his own chocolate. The Hershey kiss was his own idea.

His search for the perfect site lead him back to Derry township. He was convinced that it had everything he needed for a factory: a plentiful water supply, fresh milk and industrious workers. He built houses, parks and schools. When he and his wife realized they couldn’t have children, they founded a school for orphaned boys.

Although he became a success without the benefit of an education, he insisted the boys in his school have a sound education.

When he passed away in 1945 from pneumonia, he was worth 10 billion dollars. I can imagine him looking with wonder at his Hershey kisses dancing on TV in their red, green and silver costumes. Christmas is not the same without Hershey kisses.

Thought for the day: What great thing would you attempt if you knew you could not fail? Robert Schuller


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