Robert M. Sligar, 29: Carthage Federal Savings & Loan Association

 

If there was a “Who’s Who” for service with Carthage-area organizations and civic groups, you would undoubtedly see the name Robert M. Sligar.

The Carthage native was taught at a young age by his parents, Michael and Joanne Sligar, the importance of community service.

He sees his parents as his mentors.

“My mom was very involved in the community and giving back to those in need and my father is an extremely dedicated and ethical person. They worked very hard to provide for our family,” the 29-year-old Mr. Sligar said.

His sense for community keeps him going.

“In a time when [the media often] show more negatives than positives, it’s that one person who is willing to step out of their way to help another that puts a smile on my face and gets me out of bed,” he said.

After living in Boston for three years, he learned “there’s no place like home” and returned to the north country. While in Boston he sacrificed time with his family, working holidays and not being able to visit home. He said his family was a driving force in his decision to return as well as the community, which he sees as “one big family with so many great organizations and people. I want to do my part to help continue that legacy in the north country.”

“The people in the north country are just great people,” Mr. Sligar said. “Countless times during benefit drives for someone in need, communities have stepped to the plate to support.”

Fitting in to his sense of community, the Carthage Federal Savings & Loan Association loan officer is encouraged to serve the community, as are all of the bank’s employees.

Mr. Sligar feels if young people care about the north country, they will stay here. The way to inspire this sense of community is to get them involved early in their careers.

“I believe we can do so the same way my mother did with my brothers and sisters. Get children involved at a young age. Open their eyes to all the good in our area and inspire them to give back. We have great jobs in the area,” he said. “We have great organizations that do wonderful things. If our children and young adults worked with these people or organizations at one point in their life, it may allow them to feel about the north country the way so many of us do that stay.”

He said his father, Michael, gives him the best advice. He said he has heard countless stories about his father.

“Stories of decisions he had to make that impacted others positively even if the impact was negative on himself. My dad always has the best intentions of others at heart and that’s what I learned from my father. I hope one day to be able to live up to the bar that he has set,” Mr. Sligar said.

His best advice came from his father, who told him to do his homework before making a decision.

“Before you make a decision, read about the topic at discussion length. Not just one article or book, but many. Then read about the people who wrote those articles or books and judge their credibility. Once you have multiple, credible perspectives you should make a decision,” Mr. Sligar said his father advised him.

He said his co-workers would be surprised to learn that he is an Eagle Scout, the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America.

They also would be surprised to learn that Mr. Sligar would have loved to have traded places with Derek Jeter in his prime — just for a day — to fulfill a childhood dream of playing professional baseball.

Mr. Jeter always presented a positive image; good news followed him. And always looking for the good in others, Mr. Sligar said he would like to see a 24-hour news channel that displays the good in our country and highlights organizations and people who make our world a better place.

— by Elaine Avallone

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The Robert M. Sligar File

Hometown: Carthage

Professional position: Loan officer, Carthage Federal Savings & Loan Association

Family: Parents, Michael and Joanne Sligar; brothers, Jonathan, Christopher (deceased), Anthony; sisters, Catherine and Elizabeth

Education: Jefferson Community College; Buffalo State. Pursuing a master of business administration, SUNY Oswego

Community involvement: Founder, “Bow Tie Tuesday for a Cause” benefiting Carthage Free Library; volunteer, Brookhaven House; volunteer, Village Ecumenical Ministries Food Pantry and Hubbard House; treasurer, Carthage Area Chamber of Commerce; House Committee member and esquire, Carthage Elks Lodge 1762; commissioner, West Carthage Housing Authority; charter member, Northern New York Community Foundation LEAD Council; director, Carthage Free Library board; member, Carthage Augustinian Academy board of education; Carthage Augustinian Academy finance committee; Third Degree member, Knights of Columbus Council 291; member, Lions Club.

Last book read: “The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life” by Alice Schroeder