“because I said I would.” Alex Sheen’s message was as simple as that. The founder of the social movement and nonprofit because I said I would
shared his story of what it was like after his message of promises made and kept went viral following the death of his father, Al Sheen.
Alex shared his story at Fort Worth Country Day in two separate events on Monday, September 14. He addressed Middle School students during their advisory period and spoke with the FWCD and broader communities on Monday evening at the Captain David R. “Chip” Herr, Jr. ’80 Memorial Lecture.
“My father was average,” Alex said. “He was a pharmacist for 25 years. He wasn’t the type of person people would talk about around the dinner table.” But Al Sheen was extraordinary to his son. “My father was a man of his word,” he continued. “Al Sheen showed up.”
When Al was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, he chose the most aggressive treatment because he was a “go-down-swinging type of guy,” Alex said. While the tumor did shrink, he later relapsed and died on September 4, 2012.
Alex talked about being with his dad during his last hours and his final breaths. As he dealt with his father’s death, he struggled to make sense of things. Why him? Why now? In his grieving, Alex always came back to the importance of a promise kept. “One day there is no more next time,” he said.
He gave his father’s eulogy
and focused on the theme of promises kept in honor of his father, who always kept promises to his family. Alex created “promise cards,” simple cards with the phrase “because I said I would” printed across the bottom. And he asked those family and friends in attendance to make a promise to themselves or others to do something they had been putting off.
He shared the video of his eulogy on YouTube and offered to send 10 promise cards to anyone, free of charge. He received five requests to start—and then more … and more. To date, he has sent out more than 3.15 million promise cards to people in 153 countries.
What started off as a way for Alex to honor his father has turned into a way of life for him. “You can learn the importance of a promise from so many,” he shared. Sometimes a promise is much deeper; sometimes a promise is all you have.”
He shared stories of many promises he’s been privileged to learn about through his organization, which is dedicated to the betterment of humanity through promises made and kept that establish peace and build happiness. He encouraged those in attendance at FWCD’s programs to be people who believe they can better humanity through their promises.
“Do what you said were going to do,” he said. “Sometimes a hero is you.”
At the end of the program, Alex distributed 10 promise cards to each person in the room and encouraged them to share their promises and stories with the because I said I would foundation on social media. “We were born with the ability to make and keep a promise,” he said. “It’s time to take part in what the world will be.”
The Chip Herr Memorial Lecture series, now in its sixth year, celebrates the life and extraordinary military service, leadership and heroism of one of FWCD’s very own, Chip Herr, Class of 1980. Herr’s helicopter malfunctioned and crashed in eastern Saudi Arabia during a noncombat mission on February 3, 1991. He is the only FWCD graduate who has died in service to his country.
Herr entered FWCD as a fourth-grader, where his mother, Connie, taught middle school math. He excelled as a student and earned 11 varsity letters in cross country, soccer and baseball. He attended Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, where he earned a degree in geology and was commissioned as a second lieutenant of Marines with orders to the Basic School at Quantico, Virginia. After the Basic Officer Course, Herr was ordered to flight school at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, where he earned designation as a naval aviator and pilot of UH-1 helicopters.
Herr’s first tour of duty was with Marine Light Air Attack Squadron 369, Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 39, of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing stationed at Camp Pendleton, California. It was from MAG 39 that Herr’s squadron was ordered to the Persian Gulf in August 1990, the first Marine squadron ordered into theater after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. Herr’s helicopter malfunctioned and crashed in eastern Saudi Arabia during a noncombat mission on February 3, 1991. He was buried with full military honors at Greenwood Cemetery in Dallas.
The lecture was cosponsored by FWCD and The Calyx & Beau Schenecker Memorial Fund, established in memory of the children of Colonel Parker Schenecker ’80 after they were murdered while he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011. Colonel Schenecker’s promise is to remember how his children lived. The fund’s efforts focus on youth development, the arts and scholarship programs. Colonel Schenecker made a public promise when his children were killed to forever honor Calyx and Beau and the extraordinary lives they lived.