Common Ground |

Common Ground

Shakespeare in “Othello” is quoted thus: “Fear not the loss of thy reputation for a reputation is often gained without merit and lost without reason.”

A reputation is not gained without merit in a small town. It is gained by hard work.

Good reputations mean years of blood, sweat and tears through difficult times. But those years of trust and good will can be destroyed in a heartbeat.

If the accusations make the headlines of the front page I guarantee any attempt at rebuttal or defense will be anywhere but the front page.

Such was the case a few days ago when a few good people I know well were punitively accused of being pirating and pilfering outlaws . made out to be a bunch of crooks.

It’s easy to take pot-shots at people who make their careers in business. The name Enron has forever changed the way we view the business world.

Though I don’t know Daniel “Marc” Gilkerson or Scott Nelson – two of the seven accused “wrongdoers” – I do know Sumner Schachter, Mike McCallum, Kim Richardson, Darcy Croissant and Elicia Bellmire.

What I know about Sumner, Mike, Kim, Darcy and Elicia is they love this community. Even more important to me they have poured their heart and soul into helping local young people.

They put their money, time and sweat equity into helping build character into kids who will soon be tomorrow’s leaders.

Before believing the out-of-town hired gunslingers shooting at people smart enough to leave a sinking ship, I would first look at the record of these friends of our community.

In my book actions still speak louder than words.

This week I put together a special thank you to Sumner for a $500 personal gift to local kids – none of which were his own – earning money for a good cause.

When was the last time you or I gave such a gift?

Not long ago I asked Sumner if he would consider serving with me on a nonprofit board of directors involved in strengthening regional community leaders.

That offer is still on the table, Sumner. We would be proud to have you join us.

Mike McCallum and Darcy Croissant have worked together with me and others as a fund-raising team in our community. I know the values they stand for and their business practices. I don’t work with people who are not trustworthy.

Kim Richardson, along with two other women I respect, coaches my oldest daughter. Has for the past three years. I respect the values and discipline all three have instilled in Shandra.

The big broad heart-felt smile of Elicia won the heart of my youngest daughter Amber when she was under her care last year.

I trusted her then and would do so again.

Trust is what this is all about.

Sumner said it best last Thursday with “We cherish our reputation in the community, and we’re really upset that they want to taint that.”

So am I.

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