On the eve of the Aug. 5 primary elections, Grand Rapids Business Journal is earnestly urging participation in voter turnout for the many candidates and issues to be determined by an involved electorate next week, not the least of which is the Michigan property tax proposal. A community of involved participants must make the time to honor such a privilege with action.
The Business Journal shares here some heartfelt contemplation from former ambassador to Italy Peter Secchia, especially in regard to the involvement of “young West Michiganians” and young business community members:
“When reading your July 14 editorial, ‘Who will stand as the next philanthropic pillars?’ I am reminded of the young West Michiganians I have seen at various meetings and civic discussions to ‘learn about our community’s success.’
“They come for learning sessions, they choose to fill their passion, they write modest checks to help, and they have learned that a community that thinks about others surely doesn’t really need to (be understood). They learn to ‘love it.’ If you have the treasury, Rich DeVos has taught us all ‘to share it.’
“It is taught in this community that if you don’t have your treasury yet built to where you can share its largess … you can give your time. If you don’t have time, you can’t go to meetings to learn about what is happening, and if you cannot participate, then you send love to all of those that are doing the work and let them know that you support them with a ‘Thank you!’
“I don’t think there is any doubt that we have a generation of young people coming up and thinking this way. Many before me have created a culture in this community that makes it almost obligatory. It is like being an entrepreneur with goals to succeed.
“In West Michigan, you are taught: 1. Find a product or niche you can serve, and then start your business. 2. Build your shekel pile, always doing it with honor and respect. 3. Take care of your family, and then share what they don’t need with others in your community.
“In West Michigan, this is a ‘community obligatory’ and when I noticed the omission of the DeVos family in the July 14 editorial, that was wrong. Having watched the DeVos family help others, the omission of their name was wrong. Those of us who know how generous Rich and Helen and their family have been … we feel that our community always needs to remember to say: ‘thank you.’
“Personally, I see Rich DeVos as the guru of our West Michigan culture. ‘Share your shekels with those who could use that help.’ There are plenty of young people whose names I mentioned when I called. … Those who I am talking about know who they are.
“So, I say, ‘Thanks to you all for following the lessons taught by Richard Marvin DeVos and his family.’ We are all better for that.”
The Business Journal finds itself in agreement with Secchia’s observations in regard to young participants. We see it many ways, especially this week in the more than 100 final nominations for the 40 Under Forty class of 2014.
Voting and being part of the uniquely American process of community decision-making is fundamental to the rest. Thank you.