Unsung Heroes #52

In 2012, Sam and Sharon Carpenter helped supervise a Builders Beyond Borders trip to Nagarote, Nicaragua.

The longtime Westporters fell in love with the community of Sonrisa de Dios (“Smile of God”), and vowed to continue serving it.

They’ve returned every year since. Each year, they bring at least 20 family members and friends to share the experience.

Sam and Sharon Carpenter

Working with NicaPhoto — a support agency whose board Sam joined in 2013, and now serves as chair — and with special help from Westport Rotary, the Carpenters have helped build 4 classrooms, 3 latrines, a playground, sidewalks and garden at an elementary school; rebuild homes after an earthquake; and construct walls, classrooms and more at another site.

Beyond building, Sam and Sharon join others on the trip as they play and dance with the children.

Sharon Carpenter and her friends.

It’s one thing to spend a week on a service trip. It’s another to return to the same community, year after year. That shows special care and commitment. It also builds lifelong solidarity and friendship.

A longtime fellow volunteer cites the Carpenters’ “incredibly big hearts, generosity, love for their fellow man, enthusiasm in the face of challenge, and always their love.”

In 2013, Ronnie Maher — another volunteer — had dinner with Sam, Sharon and the mayor of Nagarote. The mayor asked Sam why he was there.

“I’ve been very fortunate in my life,” he replied simply. “I can give back, so I do.”

Sam Carpenter, hard at work.

Nagarote knows and loves Sam and Sharon Carpenter. Many Westporters know and love them too — but may be unaware of their long and strong commitment to this Nicaraguan community.

That’s why they’re this week’s Unsung, but very worthy, Heroes.

(To nominate an Unsung Hero, email dwoog@optonline.net)

10 responses to “Unsung Heroes #52

  1. That’s just great!…any boccie courts in the plan?

  2. Well deserved!! The work they do wth NicaPhoto is fantastic!!

  3. Sam and Sharon are amazing
    in so many ways. There is a town in Nicaragua where lives are changed forever because of their commitment.

    All the best to Sam and Sharon!

  4. Phyllis Kurzer

    What a well deserved acknowledgement of Sam and Sharon’s selfless commitment to this cause. They are very special people. Bravo!!

  5. Sharon & Sam Carpenter

    Thank you to whoever nominated us and to Dan. But it must be noted that none of what has been accomplished would have been possible without the support of many people & organizations including B3, Westport Rotary and countless individual donors & volunteers. This is a great example of “It takes a village” and, in this case, the 06880 Community is the true unsung hero. Thanks again, Sharon & Sam

  6. Diane Johnson

    Lives have indeed been changed by the ongoing commitment and support of Sharon and Sam – both the lives of the children being served by NicaPhoto’s programs, and the lives of the participants lucky enough to visit Nagarote and experience it for ourselves! Thank you, Dan, for shining a spotlight on deserving and humble people like Sharon & Sam.

  7. Brie Garrison

    Very honored to call them friends! Thank you for shining a light on these to wonderful people!

  8. Bonnie Bradley

    What a wonderful and inspiring story!

  9. Anne Rutherford

    So proud to call them friends! They talk the talk and walk the walk and make this world a better place.

  10. Jeffrey Wieser

    Nobody better…..