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Be A Good Neighbor

The Virtues of Being a Good Neighbor

Karen and Jay share thoughts on the virtues of being a good neighbor

Last week, when I was driving back home after a long day of meetings and get-togethers, I had the misfortune of getting a flat tire. It was late and I was certainly tired, but to my surprise out of nowhere, a good Samaritan came to my aid and helped me get back on the road. Without the great help, I may have been stranded for hours. Instead, it was only a matter of minutes. And it turns out the gentleman who helped me has roots in the Newport area. It was such a serendipitous moment that reminded me just how powerful being a good neighbor can be, even for those you may not know. 

There’s something to be said about moments between neighbors. Often times, we may think of a neighbor being someone who lives directly next door, or maybe down the street. Yet a good neighbor can also be someone from your town who you may not know, but with whom you share experiences in your community unknowingly. And in times of need, how we take care of those in our community, even those we may not know are such important opportunities for positively building trust, support, and a sense of camaraderie that helps our communities grow and prosper. 

That night, when I was stranded on the side of the road and found out that this good samaritan was connected to my hometown of Newport, it filled me with such a sense of pride. I was proud to be from the Sunshine Town and with it, I was reminded of the importance of small town values and the sense of community that can be achieved when neighbors go out of their way to help their neighbors

Sophie’s Scrunchies -  Truly ‘Good Neighbor’ at a Young Age!

Big ideas can come in small packages. This week we learned about 7-year-old Sophie Raho of Litchfield, New Hampshire who took the initiative to begin sewing masks that matched the scrunchies she had already been making. Sophie learned to sew from her grandmother who was making blankets for the homeless.

Well, Sophie’s Scrunchies ending up taking off! She sold 110 scrunchies with masks to match - raising over $750.00. She sold her scrunchies and masks all across the country and the news story of her undertaking has certainly made waves in her small New Hampshire town.

What did this industrious 7-year-old do with the money? Well she donated it to the Boys and Girls clubs of Manchester to help underprivileged children. Talk about a kid with the ‘can-do’ spirit and a strong sense of community. 

Joe Bator - What A Way To Celebrate A 50th Birthday!

As mentioned in last week’s Sunshine Report, people are taking great personal initiative, being innovative, and defying the odds to do great things during these uneasy times. One person doing just that is Joe Bator, Executive Vice President at Primary Bank, a fantastic community leader, supporting an incredible cause.

Last weekend, Joe did something amazing. For his 50th birthday instead of a party or virtual parade, Joe had a mission. He was going to run ten 5Ks in one day and raise $50,000 for the Friends of Aine organization. In case you’re not familiar with Friends of Aine, they’re a volunteer run non-profit that provides much needed support for grieving children though training, education, and research, of which Joe is on the board. 

It was a hot day last Sunday – 90 plus degrees - but nothing was going to stop Joe. He ran hard, raised his goal of $50,000, and did something incredible thanks to the support of fellow community leaders from around the state. 

Kudos to Joe, the community members who supported him, and to the Friends of Aine organization! Learn more about this amazing organizations and Joe's run at -

Positive Profile of the Week – Mark Pitkin and Sugar River Bank

Mark Pitkin and the Sugar River Bank truly demonstrate what it means to be a good neighbor!

In this edition of our Profile of the Week, I’m honored to tell the story of Mark Pitkin, a Newport native who has gone on to great things. Through Mark’s leadership in Newport and in the banking industry, he has impacted the lives of many. His talents were evident at an early age as he earned the honor of being named class valedictorian not only at Newport High School, but also later being named valedictorian of his graduating class at the University of New Hampshire. From there, he has gone on to a long and successful career in banking, now at Sugar River Bank, Newport’s hometown bank. His 24 years of service have seen him rise through the ranks, finally earning the top job of President and CEO in 2009.

Mark’s influence on banking isn’t limited to Newport. He has been a longtime knowledgeable source on banking matters at local, state and national levels. Mark has served as Chairman of the New Hampshire Bankers Association, Director of Washington, DC based BancAlliance, and on the Board of the Community Bankers Association of NH. He finds time to volunteer in his community as well by serving on multiple local boards including New London Hospital and as Vice President of the Economic Corporation of Newport. Mark’s efforts led to him being named by MyTechMag as one of its "Top 20 Pioneering CEOs of 2019", a recognition given to the CEO’s of PepsiCo, Spotify, and Costco the year before.

Sugar River Bank has been growing and expanding during Mark’s leadership. The Newport, New Hampshire-based bank first opened its doors in May, 1895. The $320 million mutual bank now employs 85 people and operates five branches located in Concord, Warner, New London, Sunapee and Grantham. The bank exemplifies the values of ‘being a good neighbor’ in so very many ways.  Just last year, Sugar River Bank dedicated over $53,500 to local organizations in the communities it serves, supporting more than 160 non-profit organizations. Taking service a step further during the 2018-2019 government shutdown, the Bank helped those in need by deferring loan payments, waiving certain fees, and offering loan assistance with no processing fees. Sugar River Bank stepped up once again during the COVID-19 pandemic by helping small businesses acquire PPP loans. Their efforts led to hundreds of workers throughout New Hampshire keeping their jobs during the pandemic.

Sugar River Bank is a wonderful partner in the community and truly a “hometown bank”. Make sure to check them out -

Quotes of the Week:  Be A Good Neighbor!

When we look for what's best in the person we happen to be with at the moment, we're doing what God does, so in appreciating our neighbor, we're participating in something truly sacred.

The impersonal hand of government can never replace the helping hand of a neighbor.

Empathy is born out of the old biblical injunction 'Love the neighbor as thyself.'

We're trying to infuse a little good into the American culture. Love God, love your neighbor, hunt ducks. Raise your kids, make them behave, love them. I don't see the down side to that.

A bad neighbor is as great a calamity as a good one is a great advantage.


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