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Our generous spirit: A long weekend of giving

This past weekend was a three-day vacation for many. For some Granite Staters, it was a chance to give of themselves.

In just four days, the New Hampshire Police Secretaries Association collected several truckloads of donations for Hurricane Sandy victims on Staten Island, N.Y. Fremont police Sgt. Jason Larochelle, who helped deliver the toys, diapers and other supplies summed it up nicely.

"Was it convenient to take a whole day and drive to New York? No. But when the opportunity arose and a need was there, I jumped on it," he said. "Would I do it again? Absolutely."

That also represents the attitude of so many members of the military - and of the people who tirelessly support them.

MooreMart, the Nashua non-profit organization founded seven years ago to send care packages to our service personnel overseas, sent its 50,000th package on Saturday. "As long as there are men and women in harm's way, we'll be keeping those care packages coming," said founder Paul Moore.

Throughout New Hampshire this past weekend, people gave thanks to those who took up arms to serve our country. Among the more memorable events was the dinner at the New Horizons shelter in Manchester. It is a dinner for the homeless, but this year it was held in honor of veterans, who comprise a disturbingly high percentage of homeless Americans.

"On an average night, 12 percent of the people that stay in the shelter are veterans," director Charlie Sherman said. "Last year, the dinner was a week earlier, but by moving it up to today it really gives us a chance to say thank you and help them out."

Meanwhile, over at the YMCA Allard Center in Goffstown, the Leaders Club is collecting donations for U.S. Marines serving in a remote base in Afghanistan.

New Hampshire has a deeply generous spirit that is evident all year 'round, but which bursts forth with activity in November as Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and preparations for the long winter stimulate higher levels of giving. It is remarkable how many people in this small state give so generously with no expectation of anything in return.

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