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The Journal Gazette

  • Blanford

Friday, November 10, 2017 1:00 am

Words worth living by

'Do the hard right, not the easy wrong'

Theodore J.D. Blanford

Theodore J.D. Blanford, a retired U.S. Army master sergeant, is CEO of Summit Hearing Solutions, Inc. In April he was awarded the Entrepreneur of Integrity award by 

Better Business Bureau serving Northern Indiana. You can watch a video profile at

It is this time of year, every year, that I think of those who chose to serve our great nation to give me the freedom to write this short, grateful editorial. It is also the time of year that I feel that we all should evaluate how we have earned that freedom and sacrifice. This is a call to service and a call to stand for the values and memories of those who have gone before us; to compel us to be servant leaders in our communities. Thank you to all of our veterans for your example of servant leadership.

In my 22 years of military service in the United States Army, one phrase would become a mantra and foundational standard for me and my soldiers: “Do the hard right, not the easy wrong.” This is a simple and powerful way to lead and to follow.

This simple phrase empowers us all to be more. It gives us the fortitude to be courageous in a world where courage is needed more than ever. It brings out our selfless understanding of serving those whom we only know as fellow human beings.

This simple phrase instills integrity and humility. And it brings us closer to the person we are all meant to be. To do the hard right not the easy wrong can be part of our everyday life – in the simple things we do and say. It can manifest as a conviction just to be kind to those around us or in a project to help those who can't help themselves. I feel we are all called to serve in these easy and powerful ways.

Service has been a way for me to show how much I care for others. It has given me the opportunity to strive for my dreams while helping others achieve theirs along the way. I continued my service in the private sector as a small business owner, helping people reconnect with those they love through better hearing and clarity. As CEO of Summit Hearing Solutions, I continue to instill the philosophy of doing the hard right, not the easy wrong in my company. This culminated in the 2017 Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Entrepreneur of Integrity, something in which I take great pride.

So I call on all of us to serve our community and each other. Even if it is just with a smile or kind word for someone, we will all be wealthier for it. And as you do, think of your heart as a guide:

Hunger for wisdom; learn something new today.

Expect the best of yourself and of the day ahead of you.

Accept responsibility; you can make a difference – always.

Respond with courage; sometimes that is all it takes.

Think of others first; it will bring richness in your life and the lives of those you touch.

Let us all pass the torch  to light the way for the next generation of servant leaders.

I am humbled and honored to pass it on to you.