Larry Delp, left, with Diakon President/CEO Mark Pile. Delp retires from the Diakon Lutheran Fund Board of Directors the end of 2013, but will continue as a member of two other Diakon boards.

Board member serves organization he visited as a child

Allentown, Pa.    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Long before Larry Delp walked into his first meeting as a member of the Diakon Lutheran Fund Board of Directors, he walked the campus of The Lutheran Home at Topton. As a boy, he often tagged along while his father, a Lutheran minister, visited members of his congregation there.

It’s therefore a special pleasure for him to serve the organization of which The Lutheran Home at Topton is a part as a member of various organizational boards of directors.

As he completes his membership on the Diakon Lutheran Fund board, Delp reflects on his service and what draws people to Diakon. The Diakon Lutheran Fund is the oldest of Diakon’s boards, carrying a direct lineage to one of the orphanages on which Diakon was founded.

“It’s important for me as a board member to work with an organization that has a positive image and reputation,” he says. “Diakon has the benefit of nearly a century-and-a-half of a fine reputation. It’s also important for me to be committed to the mission of the organization, as I am with Diakon.”

He praises Diakon for the diversity of membership on its various boards, with people coming from all walks of life and backgrounds. The effort to include that diversity brings varying perspectives together, often making for lively discussions, he says. He further values the regular interaction the board has with Diakon’s senior management.

“It’s exciting that, after all these years, Diakon is still growing and thriving.”

“There is a cross-pollination of skill-sets that is a real advantage,” says Delp, who has 40 years of experience in the banking industry. “I like—and think other board members like—the idea that we have influence and are helping the organization move forward.”

His time on the Diakon Lutheran Fund board spanned some rough years economically. The organization weathered the challenges, he notes, and stayed true to its mission to maintain a financially sound foundation.

“We operate Diakon very conservatively,” he explains. “But there were impacts: We had to change some strategies, re-evaluate some missions. At the end of the day, a business needs to be looked at from an economic view. We want to be there to serve as many people as we can for many years to come.”

Diakon’s nearly 150-year mission of care and concern for the neighbor invites people to join with the organization, Delp believes. He has met the most dedicated individuals, he adds, both among Diakon employees and volunteers. He believes Diakon donors are impressed by the breadth of services and the integrity of the organization. Many have personal connections, such as a loved one having received care, or they like the organization’s affiliation with the Lutheran church.

“We touch many people living in our communities and we serve a broad geographic area,” he says. “It’s exciting that, after all these years, Diakon is still growing and thriving.”

Delp’s commitment to Diakon is not ending with his current role on the Diakon Lutheran Fund board. He remains a member of the Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries board, where he just completed a multi-year role as board chair. In 2014, he also begins a first three-year term on the overarching Diakon board. In addition, his father, now a senior living resident at Topton, has remained a consistant, important, and valued supporter of the organization.

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