We are just now learning about David Roux and Jon Jennings and their gifts to our community, Mr. Roux with a large donation to create a campus of Northeastern University here and Mr. Jennings, the Portland city manager, bringing to South Portland High School his experience as a professional basketball coach, inspiring the kids with his knowledge and mentoring skills.   

These two stories about giving back are welcome right now, as we continue to and learn about bad behavior of just about every kind from some of our national leaders. When we look south toward Washington, we see tribalism, sharp elbows, “me first,” personal attacks, accusations and cynicism. But here in Portland we have the counter-example of Mr. Roux and Mr. Jennings and their generosity.   

But wait a moment. This spirit of community and giving back goes deeper.  There are thousands of people here doing what they can to make things better for others: library volunteers, teachers’ aides, nonprofit boards, crossing guards, hospice volunteers, tutors and many, many others.   

This is what Maine people expect of each other. It is what we expect of ourselves. So let’s thank Mr. Roux and Mr. Jennings and all of the others, taking heart during this dark moment, believing in ourselves and in the values that Maine people share.   

Tom Valleau 


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