Charitable Gift Annuity

A Champion of the Faith

Gil “The Tornado” Landau discovered his talent for wrestling during his junior high gym in Delaware—and his Catholic faith as an adult, while working a carnival in Puerto Rico.

Small and agile enough to wriggle out of holds and outmaneuver his opponents, Gil grew up to become a “show wrestler,” also taking on opponents in what he calls “real wrestling” matches.

He enlisted in the Army at age 18, as soon as he was eligible, and served for 2 years before continuing his wrestling career as a civilian. Along the way, he met wrestling greats like Ralph “Ruffy” Silverstein, the Great Gama, Mike Mazurki and the Zbyszko Brothers.

Eventually, a friend invited Gil to live in Puerto Rico and wrestle as part of a carnival outside of San Juan. He jumped at the chance to earn some money and enjoy a change of scenery. But the move led to much more than that—it changed his life. He met and formed a friendship with a Roman Catholic priest who gave Gil a catechism book, and later baptized him at age 33.

When he returned to the United States, Gil headed to California to reunite with his mother and sister. He later moved back to the East Coast, where he met his future wife. They had five children, and Gil supported his family by working as a prison guard, a security guard and in a detective agency.

Throughout his life, Gil’s faith continued to grow. Guided by his belief in Catholic principles, including the sacredness and dignity of human life, he began supporting CRS through church collections. Now that his wife is deceased, Gil lives in a Veterans Administration home. Because his expenses are minimal—he tells us he just needs to pay for his haircut each month—he lives by the saying, “you can’t take it with you.”

So instead of spending his money on himself, Gil chooses to donate most of it to CRS through our charitable gift annuity program. When donors like Gil establish a charitable gift annuity, they receive guaranteed income—part of it tax-free—for the rest of their lifetime. Gil chooses to receive monthly payments, but charitable gift annuities offer many flexible payment options, including deferred payments.

Just as important, after his lifetime, the remaining assets from Gil’s generous gift will be used to support CRS’ work serving those most in need around the world: providing shelter and food to families uprooted by natural disasters and conflict; helping farmers expand their harvests; keeping children healthy and strong; and helping communities build a more promising future.

Gil’s life is a testament to the power of one person’s faith, generosity and abundant spirit. And his charitable gift annuities will create a legacy beyond his lifetime: the opportunity for those in need to lead lives as full and blessed as his own.