Recently, Gus Noble was interviewed by Ben Ari from Authority Magazine, as part of a series called ‘Five Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became A CEO. Below is the full interview.

Gus is President of the Chicago Scots, the oldest 501c3 non-profit in Illinois, whose principal charity is Caledonia Senior Living & Memory Care.

Gus was born in Dundee and grew up in the Scottish Borders. In 1992, after graduating from the University of Stirling, Gus moved to Chicago where he worked for the British Consulate General for seven years and in 1999, established and operated the Welsh Assembly Government’s office in Chicago. Gus took up his current position in August 2004.

In 2018 Gus became an American citizen.

In 2021 Gus was named on Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Birthday Honours List to receive the OBE for Services to Scottish Culture in the USA.

Gus is a GlobalScot. He serves on the Board of the Admiral at the Lake and the Rosehill Cemetery Reserve Fund. Gus supports Newcastle United Football Club and plays electric bass guitar in a Scottish-American honky-tonk band. Gus is married to Aisha. They have two sons, Bobby and Langston. The Nobles live in Chicago.

Established in 1845 when Chicago was still a small frontier town, population just 12,000, Chicago Scots is the oldest 501c3 not-for-profit in Illinois. Chicago Scots missi0n is to nourish Scottish identity through service, fellowship and celebration of Scottish culture. Chicago Scots welcome everyone who is Scottish by birth, by heritage or simply by inclination.

Today, Chicago Scots has grown into one of the world’s largest and most vital Scottish cultural organizations. The Chicago Scots organize events and initiatives that educate, entertain and promote Scottish culture — including the annual Scottish Festival & Highland Games which features the largest bagpiping championship in North America.

Around the world, there are many Scottish Societies that celebrate Scotland’s culture, but there is only one that owns, operates and supports a senior care community. Nestled peacefully on five acres in the heart of the forest preserve just a few miles due west of downtown Chicago, Chicago Scots’ campus features the Scottish Home (1917) and an innovative model of specialized memory care, MacLean House (2016), collectively known as Caledonia Senior Living & Memory Care. For more than a century generations of families have turned to and trusted Caledonia to care for their loved ones.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

Igrew up in the rural Borders of Scotland. When I was about 14, my Uncle Graham gave me his record collection. The needle hit the vinyl and I heard Chicago’s greatest: Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Little Walter. It blew my mind. Immediately I learned to play guitar and formed a blues band. And I resolved that one day I would come to Chicago. That day came in the middle of November 1992. I’ve been here ever since. Initially I worked as a cook at the Kokomo Cafe on Belmont Avenue, serving, and I quote a customer’s review “the world’s worst lasagna.” One day I went into the British Consulate General to ask if there was a pub in Chicago that showed UK soccer matches. From behind the bullet proof glass, Vice Consul, John Smith, looked at me and said “you look familiar.”

“I don’t think so,” I replied, “I’ve just arrived in Chicago.”

“You’re from Scotland!” he noticed, “Have you ever spend any time in St Andrews?”

“I have.” said I, “I was in a blues band that played the Victoria Cafe.”

“I was a student at St Andrew’s University and I was a regular at the Vic,” says he. “And I saw your band play there.”

He asked me to go for lunch, bought me a beer and a roast beef sandwich at the Berghoff, offered me a job, took me back to the office, past the bulletproof glass, pointed to a pile of passports and said “welcome aboard, start stamping them.”

3 decades later, I’m proud to be President of the Chicago Scots, the oldest not-for-profit 501c3 in Illinois. We were established in 1845 when Chicago was a wee town on the frontier, population just 12,000. Our principal charity is a small elder care community located peacefully in the forest preserves, just a few miles west of downtown Chicago in North Riverside. It’s called Caledonia Senior Living & Memory Care.

The moment I walked into the nursing home, a passion I didn’t know I had was lit. I had no idea that I would feel such passion for elder care. It exploded in me, right in my heart and my gut, just like those blues records did years ago.

So here’s what I’ve learned — follow your heart and your gut. Your head will make sense of where your heart and your gut have led you.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

Running a senior living home has been quite a trip these last three years. But here’s the headline: Caledonia has not lost a single resident to COVID-19. Our record of safety is impeccable. Second to none. I believe this is because, at the very moment COVID-19 began to target seniors with relentless, unprecedented cruelty, and long-term care communities like Caledonia became the front lines of a hard fight, my team and I made a series of commitments. We committed to protect one another. We committed to certainty over speculation. And we committed to honest, open communication.

With staff unified by this purpose, on March 10 2020, we took our century old campus, for the first time ever, into an advanced state of lockdown.

When this happened, I gathered our leadership team to plan for the unknown. For a few anxious moments we sat together in silence, contemplating what was to come. Then in a calm voice, one of our team broke the silence, speaking into existence our North Star, the guiding philosophy that would, from then on, inform our every decision — “if we over react to this crisis, we will probably never know. But if we under react, we will know immediately.”

I asked every single one of our staff for 2 minutes of their time. I made a personal commitment to each of them — I committed to be COVID-careful wherever I was. I committed to protect myself, because that’s the best way I could protect them. And, in return I asked for them to make the same personal commitment to me.

Together, we recognized that our community’s greatest vulnerability is not on our campus at all, not inside, but outside our doors. So, to one another, we committed to be COVID-careful wherever we were. We accepted a collective responsibility to protect one another. And, months later, when we safely reopened our doors to welcome families and friends back into the community, we asked for their commitment to this collective responsibility by signing a Protect Caledonia Pledge.

I believe these personal commitments are the foundations upon which Caledonia’s impeccable record of safety and success is built.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

A couple of funny stories…both involving the Scottish kilt. The first was at our Kilted Classic Golf Tournament in September 2004, less than one month after I joined the organization. As the golfers (most wearing their kilts) lined up in their golf carts, the event Chairman, Ed Rorison introduced me and asked me to lead the golfers out onto the golf course for the shotgun start as our bagpiper played. It was my first time playing golf in a kilt. I opted not to wear my sporran (fyi: a sporran is a traditional part of male Scottish Highland Dress; a pouch that is worn on the front of the kilt, performing the same function as pockets on the pocketless kilt). So, as the piper struck up his tune, I pressed “go” on my golf cart. And immediately I discovered the sporran had one other function — to keep the kilt from flying up around the ears of the driver of a golf cart. My first official act as president was flashing 144 golfers.

The second was at the Chicago Scots Scottish Festival & Highland Games in June 2007 — the year the 17 year cicadas emerged in their millions in the Chicago area. I was being interviewed live on TV by Anna Belaval, one of Chicago’s best loved TV reporters, host of WGN Channel 9’s “Around Town.” We had cued up highland dance demonstrations, bagpipers, Scottish dogs, athletes to throw heavy objects including tossing the caber, even some haggis to try on camera (Anna wasn’t a fan). While all this was going on cicadas were flying everywhere. At the end of the segment, Anna built up to the important point that all this fun was actually for a very good cause — it supported the senior living community of the oldest charity in the state. So she asked me to say a couple of words about Caledonia. As she moved the microphone over to me, I shuddered and winced a bit. She asked me if I was OK? And immediately in my head I heard my Grandmother’s voice. She used to tell me if I tell the truth always, it’ll keep me out of trouble. I did as my Grandma told me. I said “Anna, a cicada has just flown up my kilt.” It was going out to millions, live. For the rest of the weekend I was teased mercilessly by people who’d tuned in. I don’t think I’ve ever lived it down. People still giggle about it.

I’m not sorry these two mishaps happened. Experiences like these can stop you from taking yourself too seriously.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

There are lists of people to whom I owe my place in this world. Lists as long as my arm. Of people who believed in me, often when I didn’t believe in myself. Of course: parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, sister, wife and kids. But I find myself thinking gratefully about two people in particular. My primary school teacher, Miss Black, who encouraged me to be comfortable and confident in my skin no matter what others say or do. And I owe a huge debt to the current Chair of the Chicago Scots Board, Paul Melville. In the earliest, scariest days of COVID, Paul and our Board were steadfast in support and bold in leadership, making decisions that may have been seen as ill-advised in pre-COVID times, but were absolutely the right things to do during lockdown. Paul knew we had moved into a new field of business: of saving lives. Paul asks the hardest questions and demands the highest standards. As we deliberated how best to respond to COVID, Paul would ask “what’s the right thing to do?” I saw him check in with his own values and consider the values of the Chicago Scots.

  • We create home
  • We extend family
  • We relieve stress
  • We reimagine tradition

Our reliance on these values was especially telling when COVID-19 took aim at our seniors. Along with the leadership of the Board, the support of the Chicago Scots community, the resilience of Caledonia’s residents and the vigilance of Caledonia’s staff, our values gave this community the confidence, clarity and courage to stare COVID-19 in the eye and say “not here.”

As you know, the United States is currently facing a very important self-reckoning about race, diversity, equality and inclusion. This may be obvious to you, but it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you articulate to our readers a few reasons why it is so important for a business or organization to have a diverse executive team?

I have learned that more diversity leads to better decision making because different ideas, different lived experiences, lead to better understanding and ultimately this becomes shared values and common purpose.

Throughout the pandemic, we have hosted twice weekly all-staff meetings at Caledonia. Initially these meetings addressed COVID related matters, but pretty quickly they became essential opportunities to discuss anything and everything that impacted — for better or for worse — life at Caledonia Senior Living.

The day after George Floyd was murdered, I addressed a subject that was, indeed is, very difficult for me to talk about — racism. I wanted to acknowledge that just as COVID-19 attacks our seniors, systemic racism attacks our people and our principles. The roots and the name of Caledonia Senior Living are proudly Scottish in origin, but as a team we are incredibly diverse in age, identity, sex, creed and color. I wanted to recognize that the world outside the doors of Caledonia may be cruel and unjust but within our locked doors there is a safe space for everyone. I told my colleagues that, as President, I have jurisdiction over what happens within our doors. Within our doors we will not tolerate anything that violates our belief in equality. Within our doors there is a century of caring. To truly dignify the time we share, we must care for everyone who lives and works in our community.

At first I thought it wasn’t appropriate for me, as a white man, to say anything. Then, as I began to speak, I thought the discomfort I felt indicated that I needed to stop talking. Ultimately I realized I cannot not be silent. I must speak the words that call out and endeavor to heal the wounds caused by unjust discrimination. I owe it to my colleagues, especially my Black and Brown colleagues. They care deeply, despite the challenges they face. Speaking up is part of the work I need to do.

Ever since I became President & CEO of the Chicago Scots in 2004, I have proudly served as the voice of our Scottish community. I must also be our ears. We must listen.

If we are to sing in the choir called America, yes, we must raise our voices. But if we are to sing in harmony, we must listen to the voices of others. Right now, we must listen to and truly hear Black and Brown voices.

Listening to the voices of others and learning about their lived experiences does not make our voices quieter or weaker. We become stronger and better by knowing. When we know better, we do better. And the best way we can know and do better is to have diversity in the leadership team.

As a business leader, can you please share a few steps we must take to truly create an inclusive, representative, and equitable society?

During lockdown the entire world seemed to exist in a perpetual state of today. When vaccines became available, we were all able to conceive again of tomorrow. So I’d like to tell a story about vaccines — or, rather vaccine hesitancy — that speaks to something we did in order to be more inclusive, representative and equitable.

It is well documented and unsurprising that vaccine hesitancy is most prevalent in Black and Brown communities. And, when we hosted our vaccination clinics, this was the case at Caledonia Senior Living.

As I mentioned, the roots of Caledonia may be very Scottish in origin, but we are an incredibly diverse team. However, let’s recognize the elephant in our living room. And I suspect this elephant may be in many of your living rooms too. Our CEO is white. I am a white man from Scotland.

When we learned vaccines were on their way, clear communication and personal outreach were crucial. I spent time talking one-on-one with every team member to ask what was in their hearts and heads. I asked if they would take the vaccine. I asked them to be unafraid to voice their concerns. And I asked them to send me to school, to do the research to answer their questions or concerns about the vaccines.

Here’s what I know based on meeting with colleagues: while I can intellectually conceive of the medical profession’s history of cruelty to Black and Brown people, I do not have the lived experience or ancestral memory to know how this feels to my colleagues.

Therefore it was and is my duty to find someone who does know how it feels so my colleagues, someone who can speak with experience, expertise and empathy to support them.

We arranged for two experts, both Black, one a family practice doctor and the other, a leading figure in the field of aging services, to speak directly to our team on a Zoom call (which was also recorded for additional audiences). They delivered the finest and clearest case I have seen to explain the absolutely essential role of vaccination. They said it plain, that the best way to protect the people who live in long-term care is to protect the people who work in long-term care.

By committing time, energy and attention to real, hard-talk about vaccines, 99% of the people of Caledonia vaccinated.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. Most of our readers — in fact, most people — think they have a pretty good idea of what a CEO or executive does. But in just a few words can you explain what an executive does that is different from the responsibilities of the other leaders?

By and large, other leaders tend to represent specific teams and priorities, whereas the CEO represents the entire organization. And if it is to work optimally, everything the organization is, does and aspires to be is embodied in the CEO.

As its CEO I want, must and need to embody every single aspect of the Chicago Scots: the comfort and care of every resident at Caledonia, every employee’s motivation, the warmth of every visitor’s welcome, every report to our Board, every donor’s gift, every beer that’s sold at our Scottish Festival & Highland Games, every pot of tea and every scone our kitchen prepares. I am in it. Chicago Scots is me and I am Chicago Scots.

Just as Cheryl Lynn sings in the 1978 disco classic, It’s Got To Be Real, a CEO has to be authentic. It’s absolutely essential that the CEO’s values are aligned with the organizations. If they aren’t, that spells trouble for everyone. But if they are, powerful stuff can happen.

What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a CEO or executive. Can you explain what you mean?

I’m not the expert. And I don’t have all the answers. In fact most of the time I don’t have any.

Back in 2015, before we broke ground to build MacLean House, our new, innovative model of memory care for people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, we took our whole leadership team and one frontline member of each departmental team offline for one day a month to design the homes that we would go on to create. We did this for 18 months.

They thoughtfully designed the MacLean House to feel and function as a true family home. It is designed with heart to be architecturally, operationally and philosophically innovative, embracing the concept of “smaller by design.” Home to just 10 people in each of the two households — all with private suites and full bathrooms — the small model allows us to tailor our care to each individual’s schedule and interests. The MacLean House provides a calm, nurturing environment where residents are supported and assisted by a staff of Care Partners who receive specialized training to learn our core values and culture as well as the latest best-practice strategies in caring for, communicating with and supporting people living with memory loss.

In order to accomplish this we knew we needed to purpose-build around the views of the people who know best — the cooks and the kitchen staff, the activities staff, the nurses and CNA’s, housekeepers and the maintenance teams. Not “the guy in the tie.”

What is the most striking difference between your actual job and how you thought the job would be?

The role of a CEO has layers that only become apparent when you’re in it.

I have a different appreciation for the concept of time. Being a CEO is not just about dealing with drama and pressure of today or thinking about the next couple of weeks or months. It’s about what’s going to happen in 10, 20, 100 years. It’s about staying in tune with the values of an organization. It’s about appreciating an organization’s history and being grateful for what we inherit from our predecessors. But it’s also about being unafraid to question whether the ways, systems and principles that we inherit from yesterday are right for tomorrow.

The Chicago Scots has roots that run 177 years deep. We are sure of our history, but we’ve never been afraid to reimagine tradition. Here’s what this means to me: the strongest tree weathers the fiercest storm because it relies on its roots to bend and sway in the wind. The tree abides because it adapts. It remains true to its roots, but it’s also resilient and relevant to any circumstance. Every day, the strongest tree reimagines itself.

In my office I have files containing the Society’s oldest, most important archives. In times of trouble, I find inspiration and assurance in these files. How did this organization prevail through the Civil War, the Great Chicago Fire, the Great Depression, two World Wars and the 1918 pandemic? In these files I hear the voices of the early Scots. And I’m reminded that we prevail because, like the tree that reimagines itself, we have relied on our roots and stayed true to our values. For 177 years this Scottish Society has always delivered life’s most important things: home, family and love.

Do you think everyone is cut out to be an executive? In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful executive and what type of person should avoid aspiring to be an executive? Can you explain what you mean?

I think everyone has the potential to be an executive if they can find and bring their true self to the place where their talent, passion, and purpose come together.

Being an executive is not for the faint of heart. You need to be self-reliant. Yes, you need to know your strengths. But you must also know and be able to accept your weaknesses and vulnerabilities. In fact, your vulnerabilities are opportunities to seek support and solutions; to connect with others. So don’t be afraid to talk about them.

What advice would you give to other business leaders to help create a fantastic work culture?

Authentic, genuine connection between people is critical to success.

Just after we took Caledonia Senior Living into lockdown, we limited all ingress and egress to a single point — our front door. Before anyone could enter the building, they had to be screened by the person at our reception desk. We realized we needed additional reception desk presence to screen people who were coming in for the very early morning shift and the very late night shift. Rather than hire additional staff, we decided to assign members of our leadership team to work at the front desk to support the early and late shift changes, complete questionnaires, take temperatures, etc. Managers were seen in different positions of service. This helped bond staff who don’t usually get to meet one another very often. We got to know one another better. In turn, this helped us to make our collective commitment to protect one another.

I told my staff recently, only half joking, that the best thing I did in summer 2020, was whack my thumb with a hammer while I was fixing our back deck at home. My left thumb, especially the nail was black, blue and purple. And I say it was the best thing I did because a purple thumbnail is an instant conversation starter. As I worked the front desk, staff would ask “how did that happen?” So I told them about fixing my deck and asked them what they did with their weekend. We talked about our lives, families, friends….something other than the pandemic. We took the opportunity to connect in a way that wasn’t about COVID. But our connection helped us respond much more powerfully to COVID.

How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

Of course, Caledonia Senior Living & Memory Care’s success is ultimately measured in dollars and cents, pounds shillings and pence. But there’s a more human way I measure and define success. It’s the look in the eyes of the adult child of residents. If I look into the eyes of Dorothy’s daughter and can see that she’s well rested, I will know she isn’t worrying about Mom. She has peace of mind. The greatest, best words we can hear from a family member are “I don’t worry.” And here’s why this is important — if Dorothy’s daughter knows her mother is cared for, honored and loved, she will be less stressed, better able to be present in her personal life and more productive in her professional life. The care my incredible colleagues offer resonates beyond the walls of our buildings and into the broader community in a very beautiful way. And this doesn’t just happen at Caledonia, of course. It happens in all communities that care with authentic, genuine love.

Fantastic. Here is the primary question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

  1. It’s important be yourself. As Busta Rhymes says “When I step into the place, you know I step correct.” Being authentic, totally honest with and true to yourself is absolutely essential. You can’t phone it in. People will see right through this. You will too. The deep, dark truthful mirror does not lie.
  2. It’s lonely. Find others who walk a similar path. People who get it. I’ve spent hours bending my bestie, Niamh’s ear about struggles and challenges at work. She’s so generous and thoughtful. We can communicate in 2 seconds what might take 20 minutes with another person. She has saved my sanity and helped me immeasurably. I’ll never be able to tell her how much I appreciate her.
  3. It’s scary. You need to be able to switch off, empty your head of all the stresses of the job, rest, relax, recharge. It’s then that inspiration, determination and energy will be the wind in your sails. Some people visit therapists and coaches. Some people practice yoga or play golf. I play bass guitar in a honky-tonk band. When I’m swinging with my drummer, my mind is quiet.
  4. It’s impossible to make everyone happy. I struggle with this most. As I reflect on the first days of the pandemic, I recall thinking that locking down would be the easy part. Reopening, much more challenging. That’s because everyone — residents, families, staff, board, volunteers, visitors, local, state and federal governments — everyone has different motivations, desires, abilities to cope and handle COVID fatigue and frustration. Committing to, sticking to and talking with all constituencies about our plan to Safely Reopen Caledonia Senior Living was key. This plan called “Home, Family and Love” laid out clear metrics for the clip of our reopening.
  5. It’s a privilege. If you’re the CEO of an organization that matches your values, if you have passion for its purpose and if you have colleagues with whom you share a meaningful connection, you have a shot at making something extraordinary happen. You need to work hard, just as Tom Waits says “You gotta get behind the mule in the morning and plough.” If everything comes together the work won’t be a chore, it’ll be a joy. And, at the end of the day, remember, you work for the people of your organization, they don’t work for you.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I believe that caring for others is the most dignified thing anyone can do. And I believe that the most valuable, powerful thing that any of us has is our time. Throughout this pandemic, behind the locked doors of Caledonia, I have seen far more people being kind and caring than I have people putting themselves before others. I have seen moments of profound beauty that reaffirm my faith in the goodness of human beings. So, the movement I would love to inspire is a true appreciation for those who care, those who dignify time.

I want to say a word directly to our team at Caledonia and to all the people who work in this important field of caring. It is said that in crisis, comes character. In the most intense moments on the front line of the fight with Covid 19, the true character of the people who work in senior care shone through adversity. Your commitment to caring is instinctive, intentional and inspirational. This Scotsman appreciates you very, VERY much. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

A couple of weeks ago, as I was getting ready to drive to work, my 7-year old son asked me about the people I work with. I told him “I work with Superheroes and rock stars” He smiled. Later on that day, as I tucked my lad into bed he asked me “How are Spiderman and Wonder Woman?”

The following poem was sent to me by my good friend, former Board Chair, Bob Graham. Bob clipped the poem from a newspaper in Wick, Scotland. This is for the Superheroes and rockstars of Caledonia. They step correct and care, every single day.

Another Beatitude by Elizabeth Clark

Blessed are they who understand

My faltering step and shaking hand,

Blessed, who know my ears today

Must strain to catch the things they say,

Blessed are they who seem to know

My eyes are dim and my mind is slow,

Blessed are they who look away,

I spilled my tea on the cloth that day!

Blessed are they who, with cheery smile,

Stopped to chat for a little while,

Blessed are they who know the way

To bring back memories of yesterday,

Blessed are they who never say

“You’ve told that story twice today!”

Blessed are they who make it known

That I’m loved, respected and not alone.

And blessed are they who will ease the days

Of my journey home, in loving ways.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Can I give you two? I hope it’s not cheating….actually it’s not really cheating because most often, they both happen together, one leads to the other and in a way, they’re saying the same thing.

The first is from my 7-year old son, Bobby, who, whenever he senses stress or tension, raises a pointed index finger under his nose, closes his eyes breathes deeply in through his nose and slowly out through his mouth, telling me (and others who need it) to “smell the flower and blow out the candle.” It works. Stress and tension lift and the world can be seen through clearer eyes.

And, usually when this happens, I hear my Grandma Isabel’s voice, saying my second “Life Lesson Quote.” Her favorite word was “serendipity.” The night before I left Scotland for Chicago, she said to me “Gus, serendipity is always around, the trick is to recognize it and welcome it.” My Grandma was right. A calm mind can see and do incredible things.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

I’d love to meet MacKenzie Scott (a name could not be more Scottish!). I loved reading her article on “Philanthropy” and its literal definition “love of humankind; the desire to promote the welfare of others; work of practical beneficence.” I was incredibly moved by her contemplation that “philanthropy” is so much more than writing a check. MacKenzie reminded me of the things I saw when, in April 2020, I moved into the Scottish Home at Caledonia Senior Living and I lived there for about a week. During the COVID lockdown I wanted to see the world through the eyes of the people who live and work at Caledonia. What I saw assured and inspired me. I saw people who care deeply for one another.

I also looked out, beyond the walls of our campus. I saw people who believe in the purpose and the promise of our 177-year-old mission — Home, Family and Love.

I saw people give so kindly of their time, talent, money, energy and/or ideas.

In the eyes of the people of Caledonia, I saw reasons to be hopeful. All around me I saw people with beauty in their hearts and strength in their backbones. People who will not quit because they know right from wrong. People who will not be stopped by the pain of today, for they know that beyond it lies a better tomorrow. I saw the people of Caledonia dignify time. I’d love to tell MacKenzie all about this.

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