Leo Anglo doesn’t like talking about himself, but he has something to say.
A 1983 Vianney graduate, Anglo is the general manager and buyer at Vincent’s Jewelers in Creve Coeur. When he’s not working, you can probably find him helping out any of the number of organizations he volunteers for, including but certainly not limited to, Vianney, Cor Jesu, Sacred Heart in Valley Park and the LaSalle Retreat Center in Wildwood.
Anglo estimates that he has logged more than 500 service hours every year for the past 10 years. What’s the driving force behind his generous volunteer work? It’s pretty simple.
“I give a presentation and part of the presentation I talk about the ‘Amoeba Rule.’ I don’t think the higher being — when I do this talk I don’t know who I’m talking to so I keep it generic — whatever higher being you believe in, they didn’t put us on this Earth to be like amoebas and bounce around aimlessly,” Anglo says. “We obviously were put on this Earth to make an impact in each other’s lives. Our impact is to be positive — positive impacts in peoples’ lives.” “When I give do this talk I always explain, it may not be donating tons of money or time. It could just be a friend who is just a lost soul and needs somebody to talk to. In this being day and age, everybody is go go go. Oftentimes we miss the opportunity to make simple touches.”
Anglo doesn’t miss opportunities to make a positive impact, even if it means stopping to help a stranger change a flat tire. He keeps tools in his car so he’s able to stop and help anyone at anytime. “I probably change five tires per year,” Anglo says. “No exaggeration.”
Anglo has the ability to help. So he does. Whenever and wherever he can.
He cites the “Parable of Talents” in Matthew 25:14-30 as setting an example and, he admits, he has some weird talents — like being able to build cabinets with trim work, doing electrical work, plumbing, being able to fix appliances and small engines. Among others. He acknowledges that he was given these talents and must put them to use.
“It’s the old parable about the talents,” Anglo says. “Jesus gave three talents to one person, two for another. Then he comes back and says ‘what did you do with the talents?’ The one guy buried his talents, meaning he didn’t share his talents. If you have multitude of talents you are supposed to share it.”
Anglo, who attended St. Matthias the Apostle grade school and received his B.S. in Finance and his M.B.A. from St. Louis University, has volunteered at Vianney whenever he has been asked over the years, including 25 or so years as part of the Night of the Griffin Auction.
He admits that while he was a loner in high school his experience at Vianney made a huge impact on him. He recalled a specific interaction with Brother Victor Winkler as making a difference. Anglo was doing pretty badly in Brother Winkler’s 1818 chemistry class and was asked to see Brother Winkler after school.
“He sat me down at a desk and said, ‘Let me see your notebook.’ So I get my notebook out and he just rips me apart,” Anglo recalls. “He says, ‘This is a waste of time. I’ll tell you what to do. From now on you sit in this desk’ — and he’s pounding on the desk — ‘and every class I’m going to ask you these three questions so you better be paying attention.’ (Later on) he calls me again and says you have to see me. He says, ‘You’re doing better. You’re paying attention and you’re participating. You don’t need to write all those dang notes.’"
That episode, Anglo says, is what got him through college. He graduated from Vianney in 1983 and had his M.B.A. in 1987. “I sat in front of the class and participated,” he says.
That sounds a lot like his perspective on life and his volunteer work, which he hopes can make a difference and also inspire others. Anglo said he doesn’t like to talk about himself, but hopes his story can be an example.
“I usually shy away from these things but the reason, it’s not to brag and it’s not for Vianney to brag, it’s for us all to be an example to maybe open peoples’ eyes,” he says. “It doesn’t have to be like we’re moving mountains. It could just be listening to that person that maybe is a lost soul and needs somebody to talk to. … Every day we get the opportunity to touch peoples’ lives and we do that in high school, at Vianney, and we do that everywhere in life.”
“We were put on this Earth to make a difference,” Anglo says. “That’s it. Simple.”