Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Use Your Yardstick

The measure of a person is set by their actions, words, and ultimately, their legacy. Of course, their legacy is formed by those actions and words they did and spoke during their lifetime. The legacy thing is something we strive for, but would like to wait on a just a bit. A long wait would be best.

It's all fairly simple, really. Nothing complicated here.

Danny Thomas, the late actor, has a wonderful legacy. He built the St. Judes Hospital for Children, and worked to support it all his life. His story is worth reading. Tom Yawkey is another person whose legacy includes the continual work he did for the Jimmy Fund in Boston. These men gave of themselves to a charity that was far greater than themselves.

Today, other well know people are involved in all manner of foundations and charities around the world, lending their name, time, and reputation to something bigger than they are.

The Lance Armstrong Foundation, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, The Larry King Cardiac Foundation, Joe Kennedy's Citizen Energy, Mary Tyler Moore's support for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, Paul Newman and Julia Roberts support the Hole in the Wall Gang Fund are just a few of the examples of people with excellent reputations founding, supporting, and being spokespeople for charities and foundations that benefit all of us.

The character and integrity of the people involved with a particular organization speaks so much about that organization. Positive, and decent people inflict a positive reflection on the people and things they are associated with.

Another no brainer, and this why organizations, and charities seek out those among us, that are an example to others, to represent their organization.

And, then there are those organizations that were started with an excellent idea, and purpose, but their founders, and/or public spokespeople have absolutely no credibility in the community. It'll be tough going for them. People associate personalities with organizations they are linked to. If the spokesperson is a bit of a dweeb it will not help the organization one iota in raising funds. In fact, it will most likely hurt the good intentions of the organization a great deal.

One can overlook the spokesperson of an organization, and donate to their cause on its shear merit alone, but that will work for only some. We can hope that the others in the organization will see things as they are, and make changes if they want to succeed, and distance themselves from the distraction. If they don't, then it is only common sense that they really don't have their heart in what they are doing, and success is not that important to them. Or, they really have no say. I tend to believe the latter is true in most cases, and that will ultimately come back to haunt them.

Sadly, that is not a good thing.

It has been three days since this article was posted and comments are now closed.


  1. We can feel this locally, and only time will tell if your accurate in your thinking. Human nature of giving to a very good cause can be hampered by one’s perception of the players involved in the cause. Yes, their cause is a good one, but their political motivation makes it hard to cut a check. To read and listen to the rants of their ring leader, with his hateful tone, and then read on to see the softer, kinder side as he asks for everyone to anti-up 10 bucks puts a pit in my stomach. While this is a great cause, I can’t help but to shutter at the idea of my hard earned money going by the hands of hateful, vindictive, politically motivated people. While not all those involved are angry and mean spirited, enough of them are, for it to have an effect on the charity.

    Thinking Out Loud needs to tread cautiously. They’ll twist his “Use Your Yardstick” message up to imply that he has casted doubt on a very good cause. As I read this post, I realize that the message is one that tries to send a wake up call, which in the end could help the charity.

  2. I agree with Good Point, but I don't think that Thinking Outloud is aiming at anyone in particular. I think that we can apply what is this to what comes to mind for as readers. What came to my mind imeediatley was what Good Point said. If it happend with the two of us then I think others may feel it too. I like this blog becaue it puts the responsibility on the reader to apply what is said in their own way. Someone else might think of something different. Good Points , Good point.

  3. I agree also with “good point”. There is now a push in Sturbridge to donate for a good cause helping seniors with their energy bills this winter. I am all for that but when I saw that the chief executive director of this organization is the same person who has that insulting blog that bashes Sturbridge all the time and uses such horrible, disgusting language towards people and posted that bloody courtroom cartoon when the magistrate ruled against him I was in shock. I checked that blog again and sure enough along with this new energy program was all this hate filled language. This throws a dark cloud on this program, makes you think twice about contributing. There is also no criterion for the program. What is the age requirement, is there an income requirement, is there an application process, who decides who is eligible for the help? The programs web site has no information about this. Another red flag in my mind. Hopefully this group will get their act together and use the yardstick.

  4. I have to agree that there is no cause good enough to contribute to when it is run by a remarkably repulsive individual. Whoever he might be, of course.

  5. Sorry you feel this way, one person an organization does not make. Take a good look at ALL who are invovled, also the one who you are bashing is not the one who will be making the decisions as to who will or will not get the monetary assistance.
    Please don't cut off the nose to spite the face.

  6. A LOT can be said about cutting off the nose to spite the face if you're talking about one person and how that person has an agenda to continuously cut off the nose to spite the face: the nose being certain Selectmen and the face being the town of Sturbridge. Funny (I don't mean..humorous funny) how when it's your bag baby, the same rules don't apply.

    To switch topics for a moment: did anyone else read the well written article in the Tantasqua Town Common by Matt Bernat about the fireworks tragedy at Walker Pond? Now there is an honest, well written article about actual events (Craig Semon of the Enquirer T&G, you should be ASHAMED of yourself for writing such a piece of crap article!) which states the Walker Pond Association has had family events every year for over 20 years. The Association does not include fireworks in their events. Two Walker Pond RESIDENTS who were close enough to SEE what happened through the dark, clouds and smoke had the wits to call 911. But most people were pretty far back from it in a safer zone (common sense?). The victim was close to the launch site. People further away couldn't see what happened because it was dark, cloudy and smoky. It was a pretty large crowd who were not looking at the BEACH. They were looking up in the sky - duh.

    All the hype surrounding the fireworks event is an attack on certain people who are disliked by certain other people. It's a disgrace and disgusting, to use such an tragedy to promote negative political agendas.

  7. Anonymous
    The REAS web site says nothing about “the one” who decides who gets the money or what the criterion is. You just said “one person” will decide who gets the money so there is no committee to decide another red flag. Why are there like 20 people on the board? I am not so sure just cutting off the nose will do. Obviously all Officers and Board members approve of the Chief Executive Director and his activities and blog including but not limited to a Planning board member, Planning Board Chair, 2 selectmen, The Town Administrator and his wife, and The ZBA Chair, they do not condemn these activates so it is considered an approval. I could never donate to a group who approves the Chief Executive Directors Sturbridge bashing. He puts Sturbridge in a bad light with his disgusting language and bloody cartoons. Again I hope the REAS reconsiders their officers and their conduct.

  8. I never said that "ONE" person was going to decide you was going to get energy assistance, what I said was the person who you were bashing wasn't going to decide. There is a committee who will decide.
    Think about it, the only ones you will be hurting by not donating are the Seniors who need help.
    No one can force you to donate anymore than anyone can force anyone to stop a blog...
    Please think of the Seniors, and thank you for your consideration. I'm not here to defend nor bash only asking for consideration of Seniors.
    If I offended anyone with the "cut of the nose" remark, I am sorry

  9. Quite simple - if the spokesperson or director of an organization is NOT an honorable person they will not receive a dime from me. There are many local organizations that can accomplish the same mission but at least they are honorable and their intent is pure.

    One cannot bite the hand that feeds you.

  10. Use the yardsick,
    Thank you bringing that fact to light - those members must condone the cowardly actions of the Executive Director since they haven't publicly stated they are against it. The concept is admirable but the leader of the pack casts all doubt on its authenticity of motive. If they wish for a successful organization perhaps a relook at their image and reorg is in order.

  11. I agree they all likely condone that type of behavior because many have acted badly on camera and in the press. Its the same names you see on all those town boards, plus the Sturbridge town administrator. Patrick Babcock is a board member too. He operates the Newsotronic blog which mimics the other one in bashing some residents of Sturbridge.

    Then of course, all the board members who own businesses will get their names in the limelight. Is it really about our senior citizens?

    I just read an article about the foundation in the Sturbridge Times Magazine. 50% of the article is about one of that foundations board members and her business.

    Watch 'em line up for the free publicity. I could predict who will be the next business owner in the paper!

  12. I hope you are wrong. I hate to think anyone would use seniors to give themselves a boost - whether it be political or financial. I would rather give directly to the senior center - THEY I can trust!!!

  13. Just to point out, there are 12 people in the REAS organization that have never been on any Town committees or Boards. I feel quite confident in saying that no matter how good a point of view, nothing will change your minds, you paint with a very broad brush. Must be nice to sit in your ivory tower and feel you're the only ones who can see clearly.