By WAYNE D. KING, NH Secrets, Legends and Lore
From going undercover as a dishwasher to confirm allegations of abuse in a group home in northern New Hampshire, to teaching his clients and constituents how to navigate the bureaucracy, Tom Salatiello has lived a life of service to his fellow men and women.
In his first year in Seminary, in Worchester Massachusetts, Tom discovered that the life of a priest was not his calling but he knew right then that helping people would determine the course of his life. He chose social work and within a few years landed in New Hampshire at the Department of Health and Human Services.
This fall, he will begin his 49th year at HHS. At 75 years old he could have retired ten years ago. Today in the midst of a global pandemic he could be social isolating but to Tom that would mean he could not serve the people he loves and someone else with a young family, or older parents, would need to be doing what he is doing. So he persists. Nothing seems to stop Tom Salatiello, not even the pancreatic cancer that struck him nearly a decade ago and that he battles to this day.
That’s why this episode of New Hampshire Secrets, Legends and Lore brings you the first in what I hope will be an ongoing series of stories called “unsung heroes” and why I begin this series with one of New Hampshire’s greatest unsung heroes, Tom Salatiello of Sanbornton.
Sometimes I think Tom Salatiello is fueled by nothing more than pure love. In a world filled with partisanship, tribalism, bickering and anger he reminds us all that we humans have so much more that unites us than divides us. Every day for Tom Salatiello is another day when he draws the circle of humanity and love wider and wider to help unite us – in spite of our differences.
The Honorable Wayne D. King
22 Orris Rd #F1 – Thornton, NH 03285
PO Box1208 Campton, NH 03223
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