Rich Harwood in Everett Herald about Speech in Snohomish County

A United Way to cure pessimism
October 6, 2014

In the midst of continued gridlock and doubts that anyone in Washington, D.C., or Olympia knows what the word compromise means, the United Way was serving up optimism and hope at its Spirit of Snohomish County breakfast on Wednesday, where it presented several awards to volunteers and others in the community.

The breakfast's keynote speaker, Rich Harwood, a newspaper, TV and radio commentator, has counseled communities previously as they rebuild after tragedy, most recently working with Newtown, Connecticut, as the community debated what to do with the Sandy Hook Elementary School building, following the shooting that claimed the lives of 20 children and six teachers in 2012. As with Newtown, Harwood said he was impressed with the community response that followed the landslide in Oso this March that killed 43 people.

What typified the response following the shooting and the slide was each community's ability to focus on the needs of others.

“We need to make a fundamental choice to turn outward toward our communities,” Harwood said, to focus on shared aspirations, the kind of community we want and the things everyone is willing to work for.