Small Changes, Big Outcomes
Jay shares thoughts on how your actions – even small ones – can have a positive effect on the lives of so many others.
Ever wonder if all your efforts are having an impact? Whether all your hard work and well-meaning deeds are creating a positive effect? Well, the concept posed, as portrayed in the iconic movie, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ simply addresses these questions from the opposite direction. In other words, ask yourself – what would the world look like if you had never been born? If you had never existed? And the answer may surprise you. As it turns out, undoubtedly your life has touched the lives of so many others – and in so doing, you have had positive effects far beyond anything you consciously realize.
I wonder - have you heard of something called ‘The Butterfly Effect?’ It’s a term used to describe the idea that small changes can have big impacts. It was originally coined by meteorologists to describe the idea that the smallest change, even the flutter of a butterfly’s wings, can have a bigger impact on weather patterns. It’s since been utilized in everything from mathematics to social behaviors to describe instances where small actions have the ability to create substantial change. And when it comes to our communities, sometimes it’s the smallest actions that can lead to positive impact as well. It’s a fascinating concept especially in regards to how it applies to interactions between people. How do we positively impact each other with our words, our actions, or any other form of interaction? Can small changes in our behavior result in greater impacts beyond our usual sphere of influence?
It reminds me of the story of a wounded US Marine veteran by the name of John Melia. While serving in Somalia in 1992, John was involved in a helicopter crash that left him with severe spinal injuries. The road to rehabilitation was a long one for John but eventually he would go on to make a full recovery. A few years later, he was watching an interview with a young helicopter pilot who was also involved in a helicopter crash, this one in Afghanistan. The story the young pilot shared reminded John how important it was that our wounded veterans get the support they need when they return home - and not simply medical support, but community support. Much of the healing and recovery process is as mental as it is physical, so that’s when John gathered some resources from friends and family and put together backpacks with special treats for the wounded veterans at Walter Reed Hospital in Maryland. These were small tokens of appreciation and support. but they went a long way for those that received them. Little did John know, what started as a few monthly visits sharing words and goodies with veterans would eventually turn into the largest veterans’ based charity in the US, the Wounded Warrior Project. To date, the organization has worked with over 70,000 veterans, from those who have lost limbs to others struggling with PTSD.
This is just one example of how our actions, even the simplest ones, can have a big impact on the lives of others and in our communities. There are countless others. Things like the impact a teacher can have on the lives of his or her students, or a coach in the life of an athlete. Perhaps there’s been a moment in your life where you didn’t think you had that much of an impact on someone's life, only to find out later you had helped them get through a tough moment or gave them an important perspective on something they were struggling with. Generally, when we choose to act with positivity to help others it reverberates outwardly. Like the butterfly effect suggests, the choices and decisions we make can lead to incredibly significant things down the road, it’s simply how we choose to carry them out that can make all the difference.
The Great Keene Resurgence
Community revitalization is a passion of mine; it is one of the reasons we founded the Sunshine Initiative, to have communities see and experience the positive potential in their own neighborhoods. And which is why we are so excited to highlight a New Hampshire community doing just that.
Keene’s downtown area has had a sweep of new revitalization projects that have made it an exciting place to explore. Having one of the widest Main Streets in the United States, Keene has created the rebirth of a vibrant downtown - with restaurants and stores that surround the tree-lined square. In particular, the newly renovated historical Colonial Theater has become the catalyst for the creation of a new and exciting arts section of the city.
Meanwhile, a few years ago, with great creativity and the leadership by Mayor George Hansel, the city of Keene partnered with Southwestern Community Services to create the ‘21 in 21 Project.’ The initiative aimed to restore 21 building units in 2021 to help ease the shortage of housing for students and the local population.
Beginning in East Keene, the project focused on several buildings that had fallen into disrepair and were within walking distance from the downtown district so that people could enjoy the short commute to the heart of the city. With the owners’ permission, the buildings were upgraded with necessary repairs, such as a new roof or insulation along with heating and lighting replacements in order to become energy efficient.
While there are large scale projects like the ‘21 in 21’ initiative, smaller ones are also making a difference in the resurgence of Keene. Take for instance the Magical History Walking Tour, which was created after the Walldog Murals festival in 2019. The tour provides insight into the city’s history through the depiction of murals now painted on the previously blank walls of downtown buildings.
And here’s the best part. Efforts like these are representative of a positive energy. A validation of a core of community spirit and commitment. And, in so doing, we can be confident that Keene’s revitalization will enjoy great success – as it aims to honor the past while making sure that bright days of economic development are creating a bright future.
The Blue Bear Inn of Francestown - Keeping the Dream Alive!
There is a unique character intrinsic to our wonderful New Hampshire communities and the historic preservation of the infrastructure in these communities is key to holding on to that certain small-town community look and feel. As one of the oldest populated areas in the United States, New Hampshire is filled with truly remarkable architecture and our historically significant buildings serve great purpose. For instance, over in Francestown, which is home to Crotched Mountain (well, half of Crotched, as Bennington has the other half) resides an inn whose roots date back to 1822.
The Blue Bear Inn, formally known as the Crotched Mountain Inn turned 200 years old in 2021, the same year Lorrie Deyelle purchased it. Lorrie’s life dream was to run an inn here in New Hampshire. When she saw it, she fell in love with the inn, bought it, and has invested time, money, and passion into restoring and showing the true beauty of this ‘one of a kind’ treasure. This past week, Lorrie officially opened the doors of the inn’s tavern, the Winslow Tavern. This unique experience combines a true world-renowned culinary experience paired with authentic New Hampshire local spirits.
Today, the 13-room inn has gone through a massive reconstruction, rebranding, and rebirth. The inn will without a doubt bring visitors from near and far so they can truly enjoy all the splendors that the Monadnock Region has to offer.
In fact, friends of mine recently visited the Blue Bear Inn and there was Lorrie, greeting them, making them feel at home, and truly showcasing the defining passion of making a dream become a reality, while also showing her love for her patrons.
Lorrie and her Blue Bear Inn are the quintessential definition of small-town community and New England Yankee spirit. She knew the risk, has defied the odds, and has succeeded with determination, conviction, and positive spirit. The Blue Bear Inn is the new ‘must visit’ inn in the Monadnock Region, and I know you won’t be disappointed when you visit this true New Hampshire treasure!
Please visit to learn more: https://www.bluebearinn.com/dining-francestown-new-hampshire/tavern-blue-bear-inn-francestown-new-hampshire.html or use this one www.bluebearinn.com
Positive Profile of the Week: Sheriff Walt Morse
We are delighted this week to highlight a wonderful friend and spirit of the community, Walt Morse, the former sheriff of Hillsborough County.
Walt is 603 through and through and embodies the traits that make Walt such a special member and leader of the community. Through a distinguished career, Walt has truly had a lifetime of service in law enforcement with over 50 years in the field. He served in the New Hampshire State Police before leaving the force in 1989, having risen to the rank of captain. Subsequently, he served with distinction as the Sheriff of Hillsborough County, the state’s largest county for ten years from 1993 to 2003.
Walt is perhaps best known for his ability to bring people together which is a skillset that has served him well in law enforcement. With a keen sense of community in mind, he formed the ‘Breakfast Club’ in the 90’s which was one of New Hampshire’s first regular political gatherings not sponsored by a political party. And the club continues to be absolute ‘must attend’ – if you want to keep a close read on the political pulse of the Granite State.
The club meets regularly met every Friday morning at 7:30am and has done so for years to discuss the latest happenings in the community nearby and abroad. It has allowed people to share ideas and most importantly, get things done. It has drawn in political figures from across the state, as well as national candidates from time to time.
In addition, when it came time for Walt to retire, he handpicked his successor, Jim Hardy, who would go on to become one of the State’s most respected sheriffs, something that makes Walt proud to this day. Walt continues his work but has moved to business instead of politics as he now runs a sporting goods store with his wife Bonnie.
We thank Sheriff Morse for his many years of dedicated service and even more so for his deep devotion to community and the needs and advancement of all those he encounters! Hats off to Walt Morse!
Quotes of the Week: Wonderful Life
“To me, everything is wonderful. Life is wonderful.”
“What a wonderful life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner.”
Sidonie Gabrielle Colette
“I can only say that I have had a wonderful life.”
“I'm an eternal optimist. I've no regrets. I've people who love me. I've a wonderful life. I'm grateful for what I have.”
“I've had a wonderful life. The reason it's been a wonderful life is I've made conscious choices to get up, to basically love life.”