Sunday, December 5, 2010

Horatio Alger

The Horatio Association of Distinguished Americans was founded in 1947 and strives to encourage the young to pursue economic opportunity afforded them through the American free enterprise system. The Association presents awards to create Horatio Alger 'heroes' by awarding need-based scholarships.

One of these Distinguished Americans is Dennis Franklin Holt, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the US International Media, California.

He says "never let the good people out of your life because they will forever turn on that next light for you."

This made me think of the character in my presentation, Henry Fosdick. If Dick attained success later in life, he would have surely cited Henry as one of the people who helped him along the way.

The son of a Swedish immigrant, Holt was born at the end of the depression in rural Minnesota. The family moved to Los Angeles in 1939 where his father worked as a labourer in the shipyard. His father suffered a heart attack which meant he couldn't work again. The family lived in a boarding house. Their diet consisted of milk, toast and canned spaghetti most of the week. The low motivation and low self esteem his father suffered from led Dennis to pin motivational sayings on his bedroom wall. He taught himself three new words a day to expand his vocabulary.

He was helped by a actor friend into a job on a film set and later landed bit acting parts and so eventually he was able to get his family out of the boarding house. After graduating from high school, his father told him he should move out and become independent. Through hard work he eventually got a job with RKO in San Francisco and later New York. He went from strength to strength and became very successful.

He states his philosophy as hard work making you luckier, and that it is important to always do the right thing and never lie.

Certainly Horatio Alger and his Ragged Dick would have agreed with the working hard and never lying.

Jill Glazier

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