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I Respect Your Opinion!

Listen, Learn, Respect

‘Karen and Jay share thoughts on the value of respecting the opinions of others!’

Let’s treat each other with respect. And what better way to start than to respect each other’s opinions. There is a certain magic in the air when we take the time to truly understand the other person. To listen carefully to their ideas, delve into their thought process, their rationale, ask questions and take a genuine interest. Sometimes we may discover areas of common ground, perhaps even become aware of some new facts. Or, in the end, we may find that we disagree. Nonetheless, by respecting another’s opinion, we show respect for them as an individual and as such, we establish good will and build an important human bond of mutual respect. In short, we make the world a better place!

Finding common ground. It’s a topic I bring up often, in conversation and here in the Sunshine Report. If you’ve wondered why, it’s because more often than not, we have more in common with those we may feel distant from than what appears on the surface. Whether it’s a family member, a friend, or even a complete stranger, when we search for what brings us together rather what divides us, you’ll probably find we accomplish more and we’re generally happier and more fulfilled. So, this week I want to suggest some actions you can take to empathize with others, find common ground, and hopefully, bring people together.

As you move through your day, see similarities between yourself and others. For example, when you see a stranger walking down the street, take 20 seconds to really look at them and get a sense of “Wow, they’re like me. Their back hurts like mine, they love their kids like I do, they too have felt joy and sorrow.” Try this in particular with people who seem very different from you, and with people who belong to groups you may mistrust or fear or dislike. Notice what this practice feels like for you—probably heart-opening, calming, and actually strengthening..

Also imagine a kind of circle that includes you and others you like…and then gradually widen that circle in ways that feel genuine to you…gradually including people you know but feel neutrally about…including people you don’t know but who are like you in some ways…then including people who are unlike you…eventually including people you don’t like, perhaps who have harmed you or others, knowing you don’t have to approve of them to recognize our common humanity.

Take your time with this, drawing on compassion for yourself and others, and expanding the circle only as it feels true and right for you. Be aware of how you feel as you do this, a releasing of defensiveness and righteousness, a widening of your perspective. Rest in how this feels, and enjoy it.

Fallen Patriots Reception – Reaching New Height

Last week friends and supporters gathered together to support Children of Fallen Patriots.

The night was filled with fun, joy, and opportunity to do some amazing good and accomplish things we have never done before. Thanks to the generosity of Tim Madden, Owner of the SoHo Bistro in Manchester, every dollar we raised went directly to the cause.

The evening featured speakers from the National Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation as well as Bailey, a student who lost her father while he was on deployment fighting in Afghanistan. She spoke from the heart and how it was the Fallen Patriots organization who helped her achieve her dream, graduate from college debt-free and today is giving back by doing exactly what is needed, finding and working with surviving children of our fallen military personnel to help them secure the resources and support that will help them succeed.

As you may know, Children of Fallen Patriots is an organization that Karen and I have led here in New Hampshire for the past several years. It’s such a terrific mission – dedicated to making sure that every child who loses a parent in active military service can have their education paid for all the way through college or vocational school or whatever will make that child successful. Fallen Patriots has now helped more than 1400 students across America graduate from college, and remarkably approximately 98 cents of every dollar donated to Fallen Patriots makes its way all the way to the children’s education.

As mentioned above, this year we have done things we have never done before. We set a fundraising record this year – thanks to our small but mighty group. Special thanks to many new and returning sponsors, patrons and attendance, and our auctioneer, we outpaced our goals and left with our heads held high. In fact, special thanks to Tim and Linda Madden of Soho Bistro, and Charlie Wagner and Greg Marvinsmith of C3i who made generous contributions during our auction – in fact, in total enough to more than pay for an entire year of college for a deserving student. And, thanks to our keynote speaker, former United States Senator Scott Brown.

The evening concluded with the presentation of the 2021 Joseph and Augusta Petrone Awards. We present these awards to honor the legacy of the late Ambassador Joseph Petrone and his wonderful wife Augusta, who together have exemplified all that is good about America, and with an optimism and unparalleled dedication to supporting our country and our veterans. This year we presented the award to two outstanding people due to their passion for veterans and selfless work in support of our military. Our recipients this year are New Hampshire’s own Rep. Jess Edwards and well-known media personality, Jack Heath.

And, very exciting, we announced the expanded leadership of Children of Fallen Patriots – New Hampshire team with the selection of two outstanding Co-Chairs to help take the organization forward and reach even greater heights. Two distinguished veterans – Eddie Edwards, currently New Hampshire’s Deputy Commissioner of Safety and recently a nominee for Congress; and David Tille, who is currently in charge of Veterans Affairs at Harbor Care and recently the New England Regional Administrator for Housing and Urban Development, where he led a mission to end veterans’ homelessness.

This is an organization that is on the move and poised for great things going forward. Thanks to all who are supportive. To learn more about this fantastic organization, please visit:

William Whipple – Always Putting His State and Country First

William Whipple is one of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence from New Hampshire. Though not well-known, Whipple played an interesting role in US history as he was never at the forefront and often shunned the limelight and disliked being the center of attention. Instead Whipple always prioritized service and duty over glory.

Whipple was born in Kittery, New Hampshire (which is now in Maine) and had a rather normal upbringing. He gravitated towards the sea and at the age of 21, he became the captain of his own trade vessel – where he prospered as he participated in the Triangle Trade in the West Indies. It would be this seemingly common endeavor that would turn Whipple into an ardent Patriot. As a marine merchant he was one of the first people who was affected by the British’ trade embargos and taxes. Whipple would return to Portsmouth from his sailing trips and help sow the seeds of rebellion.

When in 1775, New Hampshire dissolved the British Royal Government, Whipple was elected to represent Portsmouth in the Provincial Congress of New Hampshire. In addition, he was a member of the Committee of Safety. At the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, Whipple was also elected to the Continental Congress where he would serve from 1776 to 1779. Importantly, he was given a command in the Continental Army and led his troops to victory in the pivotal Battle of Saratoga – actually being signatory for the Americans in General Burgoyne’s surrender agreement.

But, perhaps most notable is Whipple’s signing of the Declaration of Independence and two events that are closely related to the signing. First, immediately after the signing he released his servant slave, believing that no man could fight for freedom and hold another in bondage - saying that if America was truly to be free, that all men must be free. This was a stark departure from his past as he used to transport slaves into America.

Second, and this is really cool. When Whipple returned from Philadelphia after signing the Declaration, he brought with him seeds for a Horse Chestnut Tree. He planted the tree that summer in 1776 at his home in Portsmouth, known as the Moffat-Ladd House. Located on Market Street as you drive into town, today you can still see this most magnificent tree – planted contemporaneous with the signing of one of our most sacred documents. Yes, right here in Portsmouth! And, yes, truly a magnificent tree. You really do have to see it!

After the war was over, Whipple returned to New Hampshire where he became a Justice in the Court system and most notably a tax collector. It was not a glamorous job and Whipple detested it, but someone had to do it and Whipple always put service first. He did attempt to resign but his resignation was not accepted.

William Whipple is not someone you will see many statues made to honor him. His house in Portsmouth is one of the few remnants of his life. But it is so important that we highlight the selfless contributors like William Whipple. We should honor people like Whipple. Not everyone will be at the front, but leaders must have good people behind them, and Whipple exemplified this by never putting himself first.

Positive Profile of the Week: Daryl Abbas

This week we are delighted to highlight a dedicated public servant and great friend, Daryl Abbas of Salem. Daryl is currently a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives where he has become a true leader in a very short period of time. In addition, he is a full-time attorney and partner in a law firm helping numerous clients navigate the legal system. Not to mention, he and his wife Jessica are raising a young family – and balancing all of the many competing demands of these varied activities. And, doing it all with superb grace.

Daryl grew up in Salem and graduated from Salem High in 2002, where he was a star athlete in both wrestling and football. Graduating from Suffolk University and subsequently near the top of his class at Suffolk Law School, Daryl has become a well-known attorney and has built a thriving law practice. Daryl’s day to day job is as an attorney and fighting for those in need. Shortly after graduating law school Daryl became an active member of the Education Advocacy Clinic, an organization aiding students who were wrongfully being denied an education.

Meanwhile, he has dedicated himself to his role in the Legislature on behalf of the people of New Hampshire as well as his hometown of Salem, serving as their Representative since 2018. His dedication to do good and admiration from his peers is why in just a few years he has risen to his current role of chairman of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.

It’s so inspiring to see Daryl’s commitment to public service, his dedication to his profession and most of all his love of family. At a relatively young age, Daryl’s accomplishments are remarkable. I am sure there are many more bright achievements ahead for Daryl, Jessica and their wonderful family!

Positive Quotes of the Week: Respect for Other’s Opinions

“We don't need to share the same opinions as others, but we need to be respectful.”

Taylor Swift

“I'm not concerned with your liking or disliking me... All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.”

Jackie Robinson

“We should all consider each other as human beings, and we should respect each other.”

Malala Yousafzai

“Respect is what we owe; love, what we give.”

Philip James Bailey

“Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized.”

Albert Einstein


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