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There But for the Grace of God…..

I heard a story today that broke my heart but also reaffirmed my faith in mankind. I was at New Horizons for New Hampshire in Manchester and Executive Director Charlie Sherman was sharing with me all of the blessings associated with working at a homeless shelter.

(L. to R.) NH Division of Economic Development Communications & Legislative Director Steve Boucher, joins New Horizons for New Hampshire Executive Director Charlie Sherman, EARTHTEC Founder Dennis Randall, NH Fisher Cats Mascot Fungo and NH Fisher Cats Vice President of Sales Mike Ramshaw celebrate the presentation of 75 blankets to the New Horizons shelter.

He told me the story of a man who walked into the shelter a few months ago wearing a polo shirt and dress slacks. The man shared that he had been unemployed for six months and had come to the shelter after debating whether or not to sleep in his car or swallow his pride and seek assistance. The man’s wife and children were staying with relatives in Massachusetts while he continued to look for work after being laid off from a well paying job. He was in the final stages of interviews with a company but still with no place to lay his head after losing his home.

Fast forward a few months later. Charlie was sitting at his desk when he received a letter from the man thanking him for his humanity and sharing his new reality – he was now employed, his family had rejoined him and he had a home to return to every evening. Tucked neatly into that envelope was a $50 check for New Horizons – a gift from a man who had experienced life on the other side and wanted to help others who were struggling. Charlie said that he had a difficult time maintaining his composure when he received that letter and by the welling up in my eyes, I could certainly understand why he felt so moved and gratified.

This story was a meaningful reminder of not only how fortunate many of us are to have jobs but also how important it is to have organizations like New Horizons for New Hampshire in our great state. Each day, New Horizons serves 200 meals, provides access to case management services, prepares pre-packed food packages for impoverished families and assists those struggling with addictions.

That’s why the Division of Economic Development was so happy to partner with New Horizons, EARTHTEC, WTPL, Public Service of New Hampshire, the Student Conservation Association and the New Hampshire Fisher Cats to develop an initiative that would provide warm blankets to those staying at the shelter. On August 11th, we held “Green Scene Night” at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester where we collected bottles during a New Hampshire Fisher Cats game and EARTHTEC later turned them into beautiful blankets that will now adorn each of the 75 beds at the shelter.

Dennis Randall, founder of EARTHTEC, is a business executive who “gets it.” Not only did he assist with this particular project, he also dedicated his staff time and resources to collect recyclables at concerts throughout the Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion season including our successful Greenerpalooza event.

Similarly, all of our other private sector partners “get it.” They understand that our economy, our community and the fabric of our state relies on partnership, on service to others and sharing resources with the expectation that a more vibrant, charitable state improves life for all.  

New Hampshire is a wonderful place with caring neighbors, a charitable and responsible business community and a collection of some of the finest social service agencies imaginable. I hope that in the days and weeks ahead, everyone has a chance to learn more about New Horizons (www.newhorizonsfornh.org) and the incredible work they’re performing each and every day. I’m thrilled that we were able to do our small part for the organization, but there’s so much more work to be done.

Perhaps English historian and novelist Charles Kingsley said it best when he said, “Make it a rule…never to lie down at night without being able to say, “I have made one human being at least a little wiser, a little happier or a little better this day.” There can be no doubt that we owe that to ourselves and we owe it to others.

– Steve Boucher, Communications & Legislative Director

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