The value of showing genuine appreciation

Editor May 8, 2017 Comments Off on The value of showing genuine appreciation
The value of showing genuine appreciation

A key mission for the two newspapers my family operates in St. Tammany Parish is to support our volunteer, non-profit and civic organizations.
I have felt incredibly thankful that the good Lord somehow opened a door for me over eight years ago to start my own newspaper in Slidell—the Slidell Independent—and then allow me to be a part of bringing a paper back to the west side of the parish with the publication you are now reading—Tammany West.
From the beginning of heading the news in the paper I received many press releases and notices from volunteer groups. It didn’t take long for me to realize how many of these groups there are. I made it a point to feature some of the key people in these groups as I promoted their fundraisers, all of which are bringing great value and assistance to those in need across our parish.
Now, into our ninth year with these papers, I have connected with dozens of these groups across the parish and continue to marvel at the incredible volunteer spirit I have seen.
It makes me wonder sometimes about those who volunteer and those who don’t. I mean, why do we do that? Truth is, the Bible tells us that we were born with a selfish heart and most interested in ourselves.
But for many of us—I dare say a majority of people in our community—they are willing to help someone else if shown where and how they can do it. And it doesn’t always have to be in a volunteer group.
Additionally, you have those extra special people who saw a need and actually started an organization for a cause, to help a group of people, or to thank those who deserve it.
One of my best friends in the local business community is a man named Chuck Sabadie whom many of you know. I have grown to have great admiration and respect for Chuck, and it’s not just because we have had some fun partying it up with the wives together!
Seriously, Chuck is not only a very successful businessman, but I noticed from our early friendship that he was doing many incredible things to help some of his own special interest groups—veterans, nurses and teachers being at the top of the list. (His wife is a nurse.)
For the years I have known Chuck I never knew what motivated him to do so much, but last week he told me his story about it all.
Chuck and his wife Kay had their first child, a son named Rhett, and were naturally the happy parents as Chuck was working hard to start his financial services career.
Rhett was 18-months-old and playing outside of their apartment complex when he apparently was poisoned by what they later found out was bug spray that a local exterminator had spilled. Kay rushed Rhett to the hospital when she saw he was getting very sick and their baby slipped into a coma. Chuck said he prayed by the hospital bed and begged God to save his son.
“I promised God I would spend my life in service to others if he would spare our son,” he recalled.
Thankfully the story had a happy ending as Rhett came out of the coma and recovered. Rhett is now a business partner with his dad at Premier Tax of Slidell and never had any long term effects of being poisoned by what they later determined was an entire canister of bug poison spilled in the grass.
Chuck went on to become the successful businessman that he is, but also as a Christian man, said he has sought great advice and wisdom about life as so many others do. He said he never forgot the comment from Mother Teresa—“We shall never know the good that a simple smile can do.”
Chuck said he also learned a lifelong lesson in a Dale Carnegie course about the immense good that comes from genuine praise and sincere appreciation of others.
Those are the qualities you also see in volunteers—thinking about others more than themselves. Too often we are self-focused and caught up in our own worries and life problems. And I get it—they are real and hard to take your mind off.
But the more we turn that around and concentrate on others, and give of our time in situations where you can help someone else, it honestly makes you forget about all your own problems.
As many of us know, the basis for that kind of spirit for others is straight out of the Bible—the greatest commandment as Jesus called it—to love your neighbor.
With that said, not everyone is made to run out and join a group—it can be accomplished just as easily by putting your family and friends above yourself.
It truly does start with a smile, genuine praise and sincere appreciation.
Kevin Chiri can be reached by e-mail at

Kevin Chiri can be reached by e-mail at

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