Mary and Roy Pearson came into our scientific lives as philanthropists and benefactors but became our inspiration and guiding elders. Roy had macular degeneration and was seen by our friend Dr. Dave Chacko. Several coincidences, help from the NU Foundation, and our op-ed column in the Omaha World Herald on embryonic stem cells brought us together and Roy and Mary decided to support our stem cell research for AMD. Roy was a hands-on philanthropist. When he came to know about the cost of running a lab like ours and how far his early donation would go he got worried about how much we would be able to accomplish. When the funding from Lincy Foundation was affected because of a downturn in the stock market, they advised us to recalibrate to make most of the fund while adding their own. More than anything, which cannot be measured in dollars, we learnt about life from these two wonderful persons of the greatest generation. The foundation of American uniqueness was not laid in big cities but in small towns like Holdrege and by people like Mary and Roy. Early on, they could see through the debates that stem cell research was important and might one-day lead to the treatment of blindness and rallied for it with their resources, time and passion.