I began an early draft of this post discussing the merits of self-employment, and about small businesses finding a niche in which to grow more successful. Coming home from a meeting of a local Rotary Club today (a friend is a member), I found another “why” for growing our business which is also a tenet of our faith: being generous toward others. Organizations like the Rotary Club donate time and money to a variety of causes. This week, we heard from a local charity chair, about a national effort, sponsored by a celebrity benefactor (Dolly Parton), to encourage literacy among children and young adults. I had believed, that this was an issue for other parts of the work, yet a surprising percentage of the population in the United States does not meet the literacy standards predicted by completion of Grade 12. This charity seeks to reverse the limitations that illiteracy holds over people. Another community program, funded by donations and community grants, helps feed and connect with isolated seniors and disabled adults. And lastly, we heard from a Rotarian who has spent a lifetime supporting an organization that, in one of the world’s poorest countries. directly educates life skills and provides training in a trade and material support to engage in self-employment.
I wonder what good news I will learn about the next time the Rotarians meet.
In middle school, the subject of history was neither dry nor boring as I spent a few years living in New England and for a time in a pre-French & Indian Wars-era colonial home. Browsing through antique shops and flea markets in the 1970s, my family had a penchant for collecting random things that were interesting. Whether it was sifting through dirt to recover old medicine bottles and inkwells, engaging with an old Scout master (one of the founders of Scouting in New England) who started me collecting postage stamps, or discussing for hours, gems and minerals an older lady had retrieved on her travels (she started my interest in rocks and minerals), each had engaged me with stories. Years listening to my grandmother and great aunts family history, seeing some of their heirlooms, and then having the opportunity to see actual records, that matched their stories, and visit the places they described added context. In the Navy, I deployed all over the world. But as the years pass turn into decades, from time to time it is valuable (to aid my recollection) to look at them again.
A painting my late mother had hanging in our home for fifty years is signed by a Parisian artist
A lithograph signed by (living) artist my wife and I visited on a date to Laguna Beach – we do not go on more dates to his studio as a result
An early Twentieth Century Bentwood rocker from the New England studio home (it had briefly been my childhood home) of a Nineteeth Century muralist
A vase that belonged to my maternal grandmother’s grandmother has been carefully stored for forty years
A button from a Naples maritime officer I chatted with during a port visit 30 years ago
Bulgarian currency from our visit on the Black Sea- a first US vessel to visit since before the Cold War
uncirculated postage stamps representing the chaplains who sacrificed themselves for others to survive during WWII
original Navy ballcap issued to me in 1991. My first ship, I deployed to Central, South America and Canada. it was decommissioned two years later
One of the tenets of military service is from the battlefield. “Leave no one behind”. As a veteran, I believe that extends to those who have come home with physical and emotional wounds. Statistics from the VA, state that up to 30 per cent of Vietnam Veterans have experienced Post Traumatic Stress (PTSD) in their lifetime, and from 11 to 20 percent of Gulf War and Iraq-Afghanistan veterans have PTSD in any given year. More than 400,000 veterans have had at least one Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). For the last few decades transformative support has grown through individuals and groups who help veterans adjust to life with these cognitive conditions, trauma from sexual violence and harassment, loss of limbs or other injuries suffered in the line of duty.