McCrabb: A strong foundation starts at home

West Chester Twp. Trustee George Lang says he and his sisters had different experiences growing up. He was a speaker at last week’s groundbreaking for the Boys & Girls Club of West Chester/Liberty. STAFF
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West Chester Twp. Trustee George Lang says he and his sisters had different experiences growing up. He was a speaker at last week’s groundbreaking for the Boys & Girls Club of West Chester/Liberty. STAFF

You want to see the difference between children who are nourished and those abused?

Look no further than George Lang and his four sisters.

Lang wasn’t scheduled to speak during last week’s groundbreaking of the Boys & Girls Club of West Chester/Liberty, but he asked building campaign chair Patti Alderson to add him to the program.

He stole the show, left the audience stunned and silent.

In fact, he said, only a few people at the event — even his close friends for the last 25 years — knew his clouded family history. Lang, a West Chester Twp. trustee and successful businessman, was born George Fabian Fajardo one month after his mother turned 22. He was her fifth child, and his oldest sister, was seven years his senior.

“You can do the math,” he told those in the audience.

22 minus 7 equals 15.

A few months after Lang was born, his biological father, just a kid himself, took off, unable to handle the stress of fatherhood. That left the teen mother to raise her five children all under the age of 7. She had no education, no marketable skills, Lang said.

She soon had a nervous breakdown, not surprisingly.

When Lang was 6 months old, he and his four sisters were awarded to the state. Three years later, his mother met Frank Lang, and the first thing he did was reunite the family and change their last names, Lang said.

“I was so lucky, he said. “I had grandma and grandpa Glock (their nickname) as my foster parents. What a beautiful experience I had. Two of my sisters were very similar. What a wonderful, positive impact they had in their formidable years.”

He paused, then added: “But two of my sisters were not so lucky.”

One faced mental abuse, he said.

“She was not good enough,” said Lang, 54. “She could not eat at the dinner table. She literally had to sit on the floor and eat with the dogs.”

As it turned out, she was better off than her sister. At least, the dogs left her alone. Lang said his other sister faced “the worst kind of abuse you can imagine.”

She suffered atrocities no child should face, he said.

Fast forward 50 years.

Lang and his two sisters who had “positive” upbringings own 10 college degrees and multiple advanced degrees, he said. Those two sisters have worked with Hillary Clinton in the 1990s creating cancer saving techniques and tutored children in inner-city Chicago among other accomplishments.

The other two girls have been through “one disaster after another,” Lang said. They finished high school, but never attended college.

Then there are Lang’s children and his nieces and nephews. The seven children whose parents were raised properly all graduated from college or are attending college, he said.

While it was “no fault of their own, they had horrible experiences,” the seven children of the other two women didn’t attend college and several of them are or have been incarcerated.

He believes programs like Boys & Girls Club steer children in the right direction. They hold the key to stopping generational poverty.

“I am so proud of the work that is being done and the lives that are going to be changed,” he said, turning to the leaders of the club. “I’m telling you when there’s hope in the future there is power in the present.”