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Top Reasons - Blessed to be an American

The Reasons Why...

“Blessed to be an American.” I ask - what does that mean to you? Is it our freedom of speech, or religion?  Our freedom to assemble or even to protest?  Or perhaps the just live in a country founded upon an idea – a nation that aspires to afford every individual the opportunity to pursue his or her own dream?  To fulfill their potential?  This simple yet powerful phrase can be defined in so many ways. But it most excites me when we have the opportunity to put our aspirations and beliefs into action – as we have been able to do over the course of the past year and especially this past week.

For instance, last week - we held our 3rd annual New Hampshire Children of Fallen Patriots event where we honored some amazing people for the work they do in the veterans’ community.  In addition, we raised local dollars to support the initiative and provide scholarships to children who lost a parent in military service. So powerful.  Earlier that same day, we also kicked off our program to get millennials involved in civic affairs and public service, supporting an effort to have them run for office in the 2020 elections.  And even earlier that day, I had the opportunity speak to an engaged group of seacoast community members at a rotary meeting and share the mission of Fallen Patriots.

So how does all this relate to the phrase – ‘Blessed to be an American?’ The fact is that it is about ‘believing, achieving – and most importantly, giving.’  A couple examples…

‘The ability to help thy neighbor.’ The programs we are doing in Newport and kicking off around the country very soon, allow us to help our fellow citizens and grow a community with positive spirit and sense of coming together.

‘Supporting a cause’ - Karen and I are so blessed to be able to work with so many friends on growing the awareness of Children of Fallen Patriots so that more children can be helped. Supporting other vital organizations as well - like CHaD and Veterans Count, where we understand the purpose and appreciate what they do.

These are just 2 of the 10 reasons of why we are blessed to be Americans, that I cited in my book, American Sunshine.  But they are special to me and align pretty closely with our activities of the past week and remain high on our list of our blessings. (Click here to learn about all 10, actually 11, of Top Reasons we are blessed to be Americans: )

How bout for you?  It would be wonderful if you might just take a moment to share your thought with us – what makes you feel blessed to be an American?  What does this simple phrase mean to you? 

Thanks so very much for reading and as always, please feel free to share this Report with a friend.

Newport – Youth Making A Difference

At our last Newport Sunshine Initiative meeting, we had the honor of listening to Newport’s own ‘Future Farmers of America’ chapter speak about their upcoming trip to Indianapolis for the FFA National Conference where they will be representing the Granite State. I learned so much about this great organization that evening, what it’s doing for our youth and what our youth are in turn doing for our communities. While the basis of the organization is an education in agriculture, the experiences and curriculum teach so much more. Members of the FFA learn important leadership qualities, interpersonal skills, and excel at community service. They enter the real world with a knowledge base that prepares them for careers in business, medicine, education, and much more. And of course, they develop lifelong skills and relationships centered on agriculture, which is so vitally important to the US economy and way of life. In Newport, FFA students are constantly involved with the community and dedicated to its success. They even participated in our Sunflower Festival this past September, with some of the best floral bouquets of the day, may I add!

One of the young men at our Sunshine Initiative meeting shared with the group his path through the FFA. The whole room was captivated listening to how he started off shy and disinterested but through his teachers and the other students in the program, along with the in-depth curriculum, he is now committed to improving himself, his community, and the world. He is even up for a national office, awarded to only 6 students across the country. National officers dedicate one year to public service, during which time they travel the world to advocate for the Future Farmers of America and everything the organization stands for, especially ‘service above self.’  We wish our local chapter of FFA all the best as they prepare for their big trip. Newport is so proud of you all!

Children of Fallen Patriots Week in NH – Huge Success!

Last week was really "Children of Fallen Patriots Week" here in New Hampshire! It seemed like every day we were doing something in the community to spread the message and work to help the kids. Thursday the 10th was the big day, however, as we kicked off our morning in Portsmouth and spoke to the Seacoast Rotary about Children of Fallen Patriots. With a crowd of 50 people, only two knew about Fallen Patriots, so it was fantastic to make 48 people newly aware of our cause. Thursday evening was our huge annual event - our annual Gala, hosted by LaBelle Winery. Wow, what a night. More than a hundred supporters of our mission turned out to help us raise money for these scholarships. It was touching to see that our community truly opened their wallets that evening and raised thousands of dollars for the kids in need. One great highlight was a highly impactful speech by Tom Gibbons from the national organization – who spoke with great passion describing the challenges of growing up without a father – as is the case for so many of the young people in the program. And of course, how Fallen Patriots steps in to help.

Our schedule didn't end Thursday, however, as we were full speed ahead at the Milford Pumpkin Festival over the weekend! We had the fantastic opportunity to speak to so many in the Milford community about Fallen Patriots, as people came amass to our booth. That kind of exposure is always great, as we hope that a family in need will stumble upon us so we can lend a hand.

Highlight Topic: TLN – Tomorrow’s Leaders Now - ‘New Hampshire’s Young Leaders Begin to Mobilize’

Last week, along with my son Gates, we announced the formation of a new group called ‘Tomorrow’s Leaders Now’ PAC. One of the areas that we are both extremely passionate about is helping to give young people a voice and seat at the table. While this group is still in its infancy, I know we will see big things out of it in the long run. You can learn more about them here:

One of the reasons Gates and I are so passionate about young people holding elected office is because each of us have had this experience ourselves.  I served two terms in the Legislature when I was in college.  And, Gates is there now – doing a great job representing the towns of Sunapee and Croydon. We both know first-hand the positive impact that young voices can have in our state government.

We also know the challenges and commitment involved in deciding to serve in public office.  It’s a big step. And, this is where Tomorrow’s Leaders Now can help. By focusing on recruiting, encouraging, and supporting young candidates for office we can help them take that first step towards statesmanship.

Our goals are simple, we want to support 40 candidates under 40 years old and get 20 of them elected in 2020! It’s a big goal, but I know when we work together, we can accomplish great things.

Profile of the Week: John Smith

The profile of the week goes to a very special person and someone I am many are extremely fond of, businessman John Smith.

John truly is the story of the American dream. John successfully grew a business in the janitorial and commercial cleaning business from a one man operation to multi state organization and John knew the needs of both his customers and employees and always took care of both. But it’s the “tool care of” part of John that defines him.

John is without a doubt one of the most giving people I know. If a cause touches his heart be sure to hear from John how he plans to help and be apart of it. John and his wife have hosted dozens of causes at their home over the years and have attended hundreds of events across the region. From world affair causes to combating the opioid crisis, John is on the frontline of caring and on the ground floor ready to help.

I believe when you google the word “compassionate” a picture of John Smith should pop up.

I mentioned in the beginning of the sunshine report a couple reasons that define “blessed to be an American.” John Smith are all of these are so much more. Everyday our country is a little better because of John Smith.  

Quotes of the Week:  “Blessed to be an American”

“The essence of America - that which really unites us - is not ethnicity, or nationality or religion - it is an idea - and what an idea it is: That you can come from humble circumstances and do great things.”

“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.”

“Only in America can someone start with nothing and achieve the American Dream. That's the greatness of this country.”

“America is known as a country that welcomes people to its shores. All kinds of people. The image of the Statue of Liberty with Emma Lazarus' famous poem. She lifts her lamp and welcomes people to the golden shore, where they will not experience prejudice because of the color of their skin, the religious faith that they follow.”

“There is nothing wrong with America that faith, love of freedom, intelligence, and energy of her citizens cannot cure.”


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